BRYAN WILSON – 04.03.2023
When points are at a premium late in the season, it’s vital to lean on your leaders.
The Wranglers are currently locked in a battle for first place in the AHL and when they’ve needed a clutch performance or a timely tally, Matthew Phillips has been ‘the guy’ consistently – especially in the last 10 games.
He recently scored his 100th career AHL goal on March 29, and has set a new career high in points this season with 70 in 60 games. (His previous high: 68 in 65 GP last season).
Phillips has 11 points (6g, 5a) during the Wranglers current six-game point streak.
“I’m a leader on this team,” said Phillips. “I try to help the guys get going, if maybe we need a little bit of jump here and there, but it’s a group effort.”
The ‘Calgary Kid’ can score goals in a variety of ways, but his weapon of choice is a lethal wrist shot that he uses to devastating effect, especially when deployed from the high slot.
“For me, personally, I think it’s just always finding time and space, putting myself in spots on the ice that I can have maybe an extra second or two with the puck,” explained Phillips. “I work on my shot a lot in the summer and I think consistency is big for me, too.”
Phillips has picked up two points in each of his last five games and has recorded an astounding 23 multi-point games this season. He leads the AHL in goals with 34 and sits fourth in points.
One of the most telling stats when it comes to quantifying his contributions: Phillips has 13 game-winners this season, which is tops in the league, and has three GWG’s in his last five outings.
Head coach Mitch Love describes Phillips as dependable, says he works extremely hard and combines his commendable work ethic with an innate natural ability.
“He’s been a steady player for us offensively all year long and he seems to sense moments where we need a goal or a bump offensively,” Love explained.
“He’s a good pro. He puts a lot into his craft.”