Brian Phipps Whipsnakes
Photo courtesy of Dylan Goodman.

Between the Pipes: Naming the Whipsnakes Starting Goalie

By Adam Lamberti

Jul 28, 2023

Whipsnakes Head Coach Jim Stagnitta has yet to name a starter in net for Sunday’s tilt against the Chaos.

Starter Kyle Bernlohr suffered a dislocated elbow on July 14 after landing awkwardly on his left arm, but there is hope he will return this season.

“It was kind of the best case scenario, there was nothing serious outside of the dislocation,” Stagnitta said. “So it’s kind of how quickly does he regain strength and motion and all that kind of stuff.”

Veteran Brian Phipps came into the game in relief of Bernlohr and recorded 9 saves in the loss, but isn’t the penciled in starter for this weekend’s matchup according to Stagnitta. He will compete with 24-year-old Brendan Krebs, who has been on the 25-man roster since the beginning of the season.

The Whipsnakes were the only team to keep three goalies on the 25-man roster heading into the season.

“Look, we kept Krebs around for a reason,” Stagnitta said. “[He’s] six foot four, he's really athletic, he throws a great outlet. He's played well for us... right now I think he has a great opportunity to help us.”

Keeping three goalies seems to be a brilliant move currently as Stagnitta has options in choosing his starting goalie.

Phipps has played in some big games for the Whipsnakes. He was inserted as the second-half starter of the 2021 Quarterfinals against the Redwoods, and after the Whipsnakes came from behind to win the game, Phipps went on to start the Semifinal and Championship game.

While Bernlohr has been the starter and played terrific the past two seasons, Phipps still brings value to the Whipsnakes as a backup.

“Brian brings some unbelievable leadership to our team, and he's amazing for me in particular as a great resource on the sideline and sees the games like having another coach on our staff.”

And then you have the younger Krebs, who defenseman Matt Dunn said impressed in training camp.

“In our scrimmages in training camp, I thought he played well and stopped the ball well and made some saves,” Dunn said. “I think he's confident and has good size and a good style of play.”

The decision will certainly be a tough one, but having two capable guys on the roster lessens the blow of losing Bernlohr and gives the Whipsnakes opportunities to win.

“[Krebs] is a little bit younger and more inexperienced guy and Phipps is more of the experienced guy…. I think they give you different things in that regard, but I think both of them have their own value they can bring to the table,” Dunn said.

The Whipsnakes look to win their second game of the year this Sunday against the Chaos in Dallas at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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