Even on an “off night” by his standards, Andrew Leitch is something special.
The Mount Greylock Regional High School senior gave up four goals for St. Joseph’s cooperative hockey team last week against Wahconah. But he stopped 45 other shots and kept the Warriors off the scoreboard for more than two periods in a 4-4 tie.
Nick Montferret scored three of those Wahconah goals, and he knew just how hard each of them were to come by.
“Everytime we play (Leitch), he's great," Montferret said. "He's the best goalie in the league, the best goalie in Western Mass, probably. You've got to do a lot to get it past him, and sometimes even that doesn't work."
Leitch has been making Berkshire County shooters work a little harder since his freshman season, when he earned league MVP honors as a starting goaltender.
Since then, he has only gotten better.
“I guess he’s definitely become faster, become more agile,” St. Joe coach Tim Kelly said this week. “He’s worked at it in the offseason, getting ready for the season. Plus he plays baseball anyway, so one sport follows another.”
Although Kelly said baseball is Leitch’s first love, the standout netminder did take time off from the diamond last summer to lead the West team at the Bay State Games.
If Leitch decided he wanted to keep the pads on a little longer at the end of his senior season with the Crusaders, his coach has little doubt there would be opportunities to do so.
“I know that if he did try to play hockey at the next level, he probably would be successful,” Kelly said. “He’s that good. He’s dedicated to the position. He takes his job pretty seriously.”
Leitch’s hard work pays off to the tune of a save percentage in the low 90s, and the four goals he allowed against Wahconah was the most St. Joe has surrendered this season, Kelly said.
You would expect a four-year starter in goal to be a leader on his team, and you’d be right.
“He’s a little vocal when he’s on the ice,” Kelly said. “There are a lot of times we’ll leave the team after the coaching staff talks, and I’m sure there are some conversations going on that he’s starting.
“He makes sure everyone does the best they can, and they know he’ll do the best he can.”