for the Johnstown Tomahawks
Vinnie Purpura is returning to Johnstown for his second season as a Tomahawk. Last year, he was a solid backup goalie for Johnstown, as Drew Hotte was the team’s go-to number one goalie.
After posting a record of 24-12-1 with a save percentage of .913% last season, Hotte committed to Boston University and will start his college career this season.
Now the team needs a new number one and Purpura is the team’s best bet. “That’s the role he’s put himself into this year, by his rookie year (performance) last year, and how he developed”, said Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.
In his rookie season, Purpura appeared in 21 games for the Tomahawks. He had a record of 12-4-2, a save percentage of .902%, and one shutout.
Purpura found Hotte to be a great mentor during his rookie season. “I learned a lot from him. Like how to prepare for games. Just how to be ready”, said Purpura.
During the offseason Purpura continued to work on the ice to improve his game and make sure he’s ready to be a number one goalie for the 2017-2018 season. “I trained four times a week. Skated. Worked out”, said Purpura.
“Vinnie has worked a lot this summer on his own. He’s (also) worked with our goalie coach, Frank Gribbin, at times” said Letizia.
All that work looks to be already paying off in the first day of camp for Purpura .
Vinnie looked very sharp in every drill he participated in and it didn’t go unnoticed. “I think he really set the bar high for himself and (I) look forward to see how he does this year”, Letizia said.
“He’s our guy we want to have in the net”, said Letizia.
Purpura is excited to take the net for Johnstown this season, but he knows he’s not just being given the net because he’s a familiar face.
“It’s pretty exciting, but it’s not just going to be handed to me. I have to work for it”, said Purpura.
He’ll get his first chance to protect the net for the Tomahawks when the season starts on September 13th, away, vs the Northeast Generals.