A recommendation from well-known goalie coach Mike Buckley was enough to put Mike Robinson in a good position going into tryouts for his first season with the Boston Junior Rangers organization.
The 16-year-old from Bedford, N.H. did more to boost his status this July at the Eastern Junior Summer Showcase.
Playing with a mix of Metropolitan Junior Hockey League players and more-experienced Eastern Hockey League players at the Summer Showcase, Robinson gave an indication of what he could do as a starting goalie in the Metropolitan League.
And when the season started, Robinson backed it up. He was the Metro League First Star of the Week for Nov. 5 and has helped the Rangers remain unbeaten in regulation through 14 games.
Behind the 6-foot-4 goalie, the Junior Rangers have started 13-0-1.
The Rangers staff has found success in both goalie coaching and recruiting by relying on Buckley’s input. Buckley is the new goaltending development coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and the president/head instructor at Goaltending Development Services.
“The first time I saw [Robinson] play was in the summer when he played for me when I put teams together for the Chowder Cup and the Showcase,” Rich DeCaprio, the Rangers’ Metropolitan League coach, said. “We played in the upper division and he’s young, but he was unbelievable and took us to the quarterfinals in the Showcase.”
Robinson made his Metro League debut with 36 saves while holding the Walpole Express scoreless until the final five minutes of a 4-1 win. He was named the Third Star of the Week afterward.
“Mike is a young goalie with big-time potential,” DeCaprio said at the time. “It is hard to find a ’97 birth-year with his size and athleticism. He played very well for us against Walpole, making the big saves when we needed him to. I expect him to really develop this year in the MJHL.”
DeCaprio is still raving about Robinson after his second shutout, a 1-0 win over the Northern Cyclones on Nov. 3 to keep the Rangers in the Francis Division lead. Robinson is among the league leaders in both goals-against average (1.66) and save percentage (.942).
Tight defense meant Robinson faced 16 and 19 shots in his two shutouts. He has also held up well in more hectic games. Robinson has held three opponents to a single goal. In two of those games, he made at least 36 saves.
“He is very athletic,” DeCaprio said. “He moves well laterally. He stays up. He flashes his pads and makes some saves where it looks like the puck is going in, then his pads kick out.
“He’s real tough to beat on the initial shot, and he’s doing a better job of controlling his rebounds, which is one of the things he has had to work on throughout the early season.”
Robinson continues to work at adding to his game.
“If there is one thing he needs to continue to work on, it’s coming out and challenging shooters a little bit more, rather than sitting in the net,” DeCaprio said. “If he does get beat, it’s because he stayed in the net and a shot got over his shoulder.
“But his numbers are pretty accurate. If you look at his goals against and his saves, you can see, he’s a tough goalie to beat. And I expect him to continue to get better.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.