Thursday, August 15, 2013

Joe Ironstone, Toronto's Perfect Goaltender

The headline in the Montreal Gazette said it all; "IRONSTONE HERO OF BRUINS-LEAFS GAME". The article begins;
"Playing with their backs to the wall and with Joe Ironstone, an unknown quantity in big league hockey, guarding their citadel, the Toronto Maple Leafs battled the sturdy Boston Bruins through 70 minutes of guerilla-like hockey to a scoreless draw."
The run-on sentences continued;
"The hero of the night, however, from a local standpoint, was Ironstone, leading net-guardian of the Canadian Professional Hockey League, who came to the aid of the Leafs when Roach (regular goaltender, John Ross Roach) was stricken with an attack of gall-stones which necessitated his removal to a hospital. Ironstone, who has a string of shutout records to his credit secured while guarding the Toronto Falcons net, gave an impressive display against the Bruins. He was a little unsteady on his feet, but his numerous, brilliant saves won plaudits of the fans."

This would prove to be the only game that Ironstone would ever play for Toronto. He had played 40 minutes of a game two seasons prior for the New York Americans, allowing three goals. For Toronto in the 1927/28 season, he had been a call-up from the Toronto Falcons for whom he would post seven shutouts and a 1.77 GAA. A teammate on this squad was future Maple Leaf star, Joe Primeau as well as past and future NHLers Bert Corbeau, George Patterson, Art Smith and Carl Voss.

Ironstone would play three more seasons in the minor-pros before returning home to Sudbury, Ontario. Here he played senior hockey, retiring after taking the Falconbridge Falcons to the Allan Cup in 1936. He remains the only goaltender in NHL history with a shutout in half of his career games and the only Maple Leaf with a shutout in his only game. The perfect goalie.

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