Philipp Grubauer has been terrific in his first professional hockey season with the South Carolina Stingrays, and he’s already stacking up the accolades. Grubauer was named ECHL Goalie of the Week for the week of October 31 – November 6, a week in which he went 3-0-0 with one shutout and a .960 save percentage.
Last week, Grubauer added another award to his still-early professional career, being named ECHL Goalie of the Month for November. Grubauer went 6-1-1 in November with one shutout, a 1.73 goals against average, and .935 save percentage.
Backstopped by Grubauer, the Stingrays are second in their division and tied for second in the strong Eastern Conference.
Grubauer, a fourth-round pick of the Capitals in 2010, earned the starting spot in South Carolina for the season after the off-season signing of Tomas Vokoun in Washington confirmed that Braden Holtby and Dany Sabourin would be the goaltenders in Hershey.
Capitals associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig says Grubauer is better served playing the big minutes he does in South Carolina. “Once [the Caps] signed Tomas Vokoun, it was pretty obvious South Carolina would be the best place for Philipp to start and get consistent playing time,” Kolzig said.
So far with that playing time, Grubauer has made being his rookie professional season look easy, sitting near the top of the league leader board in several categories, including wins (third with 9), goals against average (second with 1.82), and save percentage (second with .935).
“It’s actually pretty hard, my first year pro,” Grubauer said during a recent Stingrays radio show. But luckily for the young goalie, he started in the right place to ease him into North American professional hockey – the Ontario Hockey League.
“I got used to playing in Canada, it helped me really a lot playing over in Canada. I got used to the system and the North American style,” Grubauer said.
But when Grubauer is asked what has made him so successful this season, he sticks to his guns. “I just try to play my game and keep it simple. That’s pretty much it,” Grubauer said. “Just try to be confident every night I walk out there, and leave my best out there.”
As the Stingrays continue to stack up the wins this season (they have a 12-8-0-1 record), Grubauer is reminded of the Windsor Spitfires team that he led to a Memorial Cup win in 2010. “Hopefully I can win another championship here in South Carolina,” Grubauer said.