For The Journal
Logan Phillips fulfilled a lifelong dream this week when he made his OHL debut with the Sarnia Sting.
“It was awesome,” the Corunna native said of Wednesday’s 5-1 exhibition win against the Windsor Spitfires. “Something I have always dreamed about, getting into an OHL game. Just for it to go that well and go 6 for 6 and have the boys play well in front of me, it was a great experience.”
The Sarnia Legionnaires goaltender marked his debut on home ice in front of a crowd of 1,215 — for a special game held at the Pat Stapleton Arena as part of the Sting’s year-long celebration to commemorative 30 years of hockey in Sarnia.
Phillips, who entered the game in the third period following Nicholas Surzycia, was solid in the third, turning away all six shots.
His Legionnaires coach Brian Irwin had high praise for the second-year goaltender.
“There’s nobody that works harder than him on his craft,” Irwin told The Journal. “He’s a battler and he can put a goal behind and then he’s onto the next save.
“We consider him part of the leadership group with the experience he’s got.”
Phillips was also fresh off a season-opening win with the Legionnaires last week.
“The icing on the cake for Logan is the opportunity he got with the Sting,” said Irwin. “This is a kid that continues to work hard, he’s been practicing with the Sting and supporting them with [Ben] Gaudreau away at camp.”
Phillips said he enjoyed the different play style at the OHL level.
“Play is more controlled, you have to be on your toes a bit more,” he said. “Passes and releases are quicker, and it’s a lot of fun to play at that speed.”
Irwin said Wednesday night’s Sting game was a proud moment not only for Phillips, but for the Legionnaires and Sarnia hockey in general.
“Real proud moment for myself and the rest of the club to have Logan play the third in his home barn and get six or seven shots and make good saves,” Irwin said, pointing out a number of other Sarnia connections in that game.
“Sean Doherty is out there with the Sting, Owen MacDonald playing with the Sting, Tanner Winegard playing D with Windsor,” he said. “These are all guys who played on this hockey team, so a real good night for Sarnia hockey, a real good night for our organization to be a fan of the game and enjoy a pretty cool atmosphere.”
Irwin also noted Sarnia native Jack Nesbitt, a Windsor Spitfires first-round pick who played with the Lambton Sting U16 AAA. He says it’s great for Sarnia hockey to have so many homegrown players on the ice in an OHL game.
The Sting will wrap up the home portion on Friday night at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena against the Flint Firebirds and finishing off the exhibition slate on the road Saturday night in Windsor VS the Spitfires.