By Jamie Neugebauer
The North York Rangers have finalized their goaltending situation for the up-coming Ontario Junior Hockey League season by signing Andrew Cippolone, the club announced Tuesday.
Cippolone, 17, has been in the Rangers’ organization for a number of years, and posted a solid 2.00 goals-against average in 16 regular season GTHL contests for the North York ‘AAA’ Midgets last year.
He added a 2.71 GAA in seven post-season starts last season, helping to backstop the club to the league final.
North York’s Junior ‘A’ head coach, Mark Joslin, is thrilled with the signing.
“Chipper is exactly what we want in a North York Ranger,” Joslin said.
“He’s committed, dedicated, and has integrity, so it’s great to keep him in the organization. We had some great young goalies at our rookie camp, and a lot of them stepped up, but we felt that we knew Chipper and we felt that he deserved the chance. I know he’ll come in and work hard.”
Cippolone joins the returning Gianluca Baggetta, who won 13 of 21 regular-season appearances with the club last year, while sporting a save percentage of .912.
Baggetta, 18, appeared in two post-season games as well last season, starting one and posting an excellent .934 save percentage over those games.
Yet Joslin has made it clear that Baggetta won’t simply be handed the No. 1 spot.
“Baggetta stepped up last year for sure and showed that he’s ready to be a starter in this league,” Joslin said.
“But like everyone, he’ll have to earn it; nobody is handed anything freely at North York and we know Chipper will push him to the max and work to make them both better goaltenders in the end. We fully believe in both of them.”