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Western Capitals acquire veteran goalie Nathan Torchia

Chris McQuaid breaks in on the goal during a recent Summerside Western Capitals’ practice at Eastlink Arena. The Caps open the regular season at home against the Valley Wildcats on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Summerside Western Capitals announced the acquisition of 20-year-old goaltender Nathan Torchia. - Contributed
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals have added a veteran presence at one of hockey’s most important positions.

The Capitals announced the acquisition of 20-year-old goaltender Nathan Torchia from the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) on Wednesday night in exchange for a player development fee.

“He’s a guy we targeted back in May and stayed in contact with the team in Ontario all along,” Capitals general manager Pat McIver said in an interview with The Guardian. “He was voted the top goalie in the OJHL last year, and he finished runner-up in the MVP voting. “He’s a legitimate, bona fide junior A goaltender. We are ecstatic to land him.”

Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals general manager Pat McIver announced the acquisition of 20-year-old goaltender Nathan Torchia on Wednesday night. Torchia will join the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) team following his 14-day self-isolation. - Jason Simmonds
Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals general manager Pat McIver announced the acquisition of 20-year-old goaltender Nathan Torchia on Wednesday night. Torchia will join the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) team following his 14-day self-isolation. - Jason Simmonds

Torchia posted a 2.56 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 134 OJHL games over four seasons. He also recorded 10 shutouts.

The five-foot-10, 185-pound Torchia, who is from Waterloo, Ont., arrived in Summerside on Wednesday and will self-isolate in a hotel room for 14 days since he travelled from outside the Atlantic bubble. McIver said Torchia has been on the ice with the Raiders, so he will be able to join the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) team once his quarantine time is up.

Strong tradition

Torchia will look to carry on the Capitals' strong tradition of goaltending. Recent highlights include Kevin Bailie backstopping the team to the gold-medal game of the 2013 Canadian junior A hockey championship tournament and Dominic Tmej receiving the MHL's goaltender-of-the-year awards the last three seasons.

Maritime Junior Hockey League. - Contributed
Maritime Junior Hockey League. - Contributed

“With Dominic Tmej graduating, I wanted to make sure we had another bona fide No. 1 goaltender,” said McIver. “We targeted him and other guys, but we stayed with this one and were able to make it happen. We are pretty happy.”

Torchia will give the Capitals four goaltenders. Mavrick Goyer (2-0-0, 2.98 GAA, .895 save percentage), Stephan Giansante (0-1-0, 2.02, .938) and Stratford native Erik MacInnis, who is injured, started the season with the Capitals. McIver said the Caps feel all four are junior A-calibre goaltenders, and the organization will have some decisions to make in the next two weeks.

“We like our hockey club, and know there is some tweaking to do,” said McIver. “It wasn’t that we do not like our current goaltenders; we started this process a long time ago before we knew what we had. When the opportunity arose here in the last couple of weeks, we couldn’t turn it down.”

Father

Torchia’s father, Mike Torchia, who was also a goaltender, and Caps head coach Billy McGuigan are both alumni with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. Torchia, a member of the Memorial Cup all-star team in 1990, played with the Rangers from 1988 to 1992. 

Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals' head coach Billy McGuigan - SaltWire Network
Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals' head coach Billy McGuigan - SaltWire Network

McGuigan wore the Rangers’ blue, white and red colours during the 1994-95 season. That same year, Torchia would play six NHL games with the Dallas Stars.

“I heard lots of stories on Mike, and he had a great career,” said McGuigan. “Nathan’s dad is pretty much a legend in Kitchener. It’s great to have him, and we have a bit of a common interest in the Kitchener Rangers.”

McGuigan reached out to some friends in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for references on Nathan. He said everyone he talked to spoke “very highly” of him.

“Nathan’s skill set is excellent,” said McGuigan. “He was one of the top goalies in that league, if not the top.

 "It’s great when you have a stopper in your net who can steal hockey games. We have been fortunate enough here the last three years to have Dominic Tmej.”

The Capitals (2-1-0) travel to Berwick, N.S., to face the Valley Wildcats (3-3-1) on Friday night, and return home to entertain the Bridgewater, N.S.-based South Shore Lumberjacks (0-7-0) at Eastlink Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m.



Recent statistics for goalie Nathan Torchia:

2019-20

Ontario Junior Hockey League
Georgetown Raiders
GP W L OL GAA Sv.%
44 21 19 3 2.32 .933

Ontario Hockey League
Kitchener Rangers
GP W L OL GAA Sv.%
2 0 2 0 5.00 .796


2018-19

Georgetown Raiders
GP W L OL GAA Sv.%
21 9 12 0 2.43 .932


2017-18

Ontario Junior Hockey League
Stouffville Spirit
GP W L OL GAA Sv.%
22 7 14 0 4.01 .886

Georgetown Raiders
GP W L OL GAA Sv.%
14 10 4 0 1.46 .951

Ontario Hockey League
Oshawa Generals
GP W L OL GAA Sv.%
1 0 0 0 3.35 .818

Jason Simmonds is a sports reporter for The Guardian.

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

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