Stacking Up Against The Rest

By pbadmin

For Andrew Raycroft, this is a season to remember. Raycroft for the first time in his 3 year OHL career was the starting goaltender in the OHL all star game. In a game of the best of the best, Andrew lived up to his current outstanding level of play stealing every scoring chance but one in the first period. All season long for the Kingston Frontenacs, Raycroft is showing he was a sleeper draft pick in the 1998 entry draft. Selected by the Boston Bruins 135th overall, Raycroft currently has a won-lost-tied record of 26-12-5 and a 2.93 goals against average. In 45 appearances this season the native of Belleville, Ontario has faced a total of 1786 shots, putting him in the lead as the OHL’s busiest goaltender. Raycroft has only allowed 125 goals this season and has an OHL and CHL leading save percentage of .930. Raycroft was selected as the OHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. In 13 appearances in November Raycroft posted a 2.77 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. On December 9 Raycroft made 47 saves in a 4-1 win in Peterborough and on December 10 he turned aside 43 shots in a 4-1 win over the visiting Oshawa Generals. A highlight of Raycroft’s week was a 59 save performance in a 4-3 win in Oshawa on December 12. Raycroft’s play had helped the Frontenacs extend their undefeated streak to 11 games, and he received honors as the OHL player of the week for December 12.

The 19-year-old Raycroft suffered a tough season last year with the 19-30-7 Sudbury Wolves, but the Bruins still regarded him as a fine prospect. The slim 6-0, 150-pounder, whose style is often compared to former Bruin Bill Ranford, faced a bundle of shots but still managed a pretty good 4.11 goals-against average. “His team wasn’t very good, he’s really faced a lot of shots, and, to be honest, he had some games where he wasn’t that good,” said Bruins director of development Bob Tindall. “But I also saw him play some very good games. After a game where I saw him make like 46 saves, we went out to eat. I just wanted to let him know we hadn’t forgotten about him. And I wanted to see what his state of mind was. With the kind of year his team was having, it would have been easy to get down. But he was really upbeat. That tells you something. Gerry (Cheevers) really liked this kid in training camp. He’s good technically, and he has the good mental makeup.”

Raycroft has outstanding reflexes which he uses to make the big saves. A quick glove, excellent lateral movement and good puck-handling skills make Raycorft an attractive goaltending prospect. Raycroft seems to read the play well and puts himself in position to prevent scoring opportunities. Raycroft has really improved his consistency this season from his previous days in Sudbury. He wants to play in the NHL and has the abilities to do so by keeping his team in the game on most nights. The elite goaltenders are able to elevate their play and stop the shots that they must. So far this season, Raycroft is doing just that. With his 1998-99 OHL all Scholastic team career highlight, the talented Raycroft will test his skills next season playing for Providence of the American Hockey League.