Our final end of the season feature focuses on goalie Kade Phipps, who is finishing up his rookie season in the NAHL.
Starting off the year as a member of the Aberdeen Wings, he appeared in three games and posted a 1-1 record, a 2.03 goals against average, and a 0.937 save percentage.
Kade has only appeared in 17 games for the Tomahawks due to injury, but has still posted a 10-6 record, one shutout, a 2.51 goals against average, and a 0.920 save percentage.
“Being out was pretty frustrating,” he said. “It’s definitely a mental game you have to work through and learn to just be patient with yourself and not want to overdo things. You have to take it one day at a time and see how you’re feeling. You can’t kid yourself, you have to come back when you’re fully ready. I started practicing, and once I got my legs back under me I just started easing into getting back to 100% each day.”
Now that he’s back, Kade’s mindset remains the same.
“As a goalie, I think parts of it are definitely similar to a forward’s or a defenseman’s,” he said. “But there are also parts that are different. Obviously, it’s a different position and there are different responsibilities for each player, but my mindset is to just try and be dialed in. I like to go out and have fun with it though too. I don’t like being too focused, but I know my mind has to be focused on the game and I have to be aware of the circumstances. You can’t go out and overthink it, you just have to play the game and have fun out there. That’s why we do this, because we love the game.”
He’s enjoyed his time here in Johnstown so far, with his favorite memory being his first win as a Tomahawk. But he has some other good memories as well.
“That first win I got against New Jersey when I came here was a really great time. Getting ready before games is pretty fun too, calling out the starting line-up is always a good time! I also like the feeling of the boys coming together after a win, the demeanor of the team is great. It’s not necessarily cocky, but very confident in the way we played and how we played. It’s different things each day and you got to love it all!”
With the season coming to an end, Kade is beginning to figure out what he wants to do in the off-season.
“A lot of skating and working out, but I’m also going to take a little mental break,” he said. “I only played 20 games this season, but it was still a mental stressor going to a new team and being injured. I’m just going to take a break, and I feel like everyone on the team needs one because it’s a long grind of a season. Once that’s over, then I’m going to work on myself as much as I can over the summer.”
Looking ahead to next season, he believes it could be a really good year for the Tomahawks.
“Hopefully the team would want me back,” he said. “If so, I would love to come back! I would want to get going right where we left off. Even though we didn’t make the playoffs this year, I think we’re leaving this season on a pretty good note. I liked the way we played at the end here and would love to pick it up and keep it rolling next year.”