The Stampede are 18-3-1 in their past 22 games, and the return of Ethan Phillips has been a key ingredient in the team’s ongoing success.
Ethan Phillips started his Stampede career with six points in his first four games, but opted to return to school in Connecticut as part of a plan to play a split season.
“Felt that I was ready for junior hockey, but I also kind of wanted to stay at school and graduate with a bunch of my buddies that I had been with for two, three years,” Stampede Forward Ethan Phillips said.
Nearly a month later, the future Boston Terrier decided to return to Sioux Falls full time.
“In the end, kind of felt that coming here would be best for my development,” Phillips said.
Phillips didn’t miss a beat, earning a point in each of his first seven games back with the Herd, and has produced over a point-per-game through 28 contests.
“Since he’s gotten here he’s been consistent, both power play and five-on-five, so I think, I’m as impressed with the consistency as I am with the actual production,” Stampede Head Coach Scott Owens said.
His stellar play continued in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, where Phillips earned MVP honors.
“That was pretty special. It’s always nice to to go to a place like that and have a good performance in front of those scouts, but I think I can’t let that go to my head. I’ve got to bring it every night,” Phillips said.
While Ethan’s offensive prowess is easy to see, it’s been his attention to detail on the other end of the ice that’s impressed his head coach.
“You’ve got to be able to play on the defensive side of the puck too as you move up in the levels, and I think he’s made very conscientious efforts there,” Owens said.
Phillips hopes to keep his, and his team’s, outstanding season on a roll.
“I didn’t expect this kind of success right away but it’s come, so hopefully it just keeps going for the rest of the season and we can take it far,” Phillips said.
Phillips and the Herd will look to extend their five-game win streak this weekend when they play Team USA and Muskegon.