|Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis - Twitter/Facebook
ALLENTOWN - It has been anything but a perfect season for Tyrell Goulbourne in his second full season of hockey at the professional level. In fact, it wasn't even a good start to the 2016-17 season for the Philadelphia Flyers' 3rd round draft pick in 2012.
"It was a tough start to my season," Goulbourne said after the Lehigh Valley Phantoms' 3-0 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Wednesday night - Goulbourne's third game back with the AHL club. "I don't enjoy being in Reading, I want to be up here."
Goulbourne was lost in the shuffle at the start of the season with Lehigh Valley, going pointless in six games and not being noticeable on the ice with the energy fans and the coaching staff alike had gotten used to seeing from him last year.
"I've said it a hundred times, that's what got me drafted. That's what got me here," Goulbourne explained of his hard-nosed playing style. "I kind of got away from that."
He was reassigned to ECHL Reading on November 17th and it wasn't until several injuries to the Phantoms' forward group necessitated another call up from Reading that Goulbourne's name was called and he joined the team on the road last weekend.
"I'm trying to earn a spot again. It's the mentality I should have had at the start of the year, but I didn't," Goulbourne lamented at his rough start to the season. "I have it now, and no matter what happens I'm going to keep working."
It's Goulbourne's workmanlike attitude and determination that didn't go unnoticed while he was in the ECHL. With proper ice time to work on getting his confidence back and extra time to get his game back to where it needed, Goulbourne got back on track - tallying nine points (four goals, five assists) in his final 13 ECHL games before rejoining the Phantoms last weekend.
Now back with the Phantoms, Goulbourne will play in front of the home fans at the PPL Center Friday night against Hershey for the first time since October 22nd. He's excited to rejoin the AHL club in the heat of a playoff race down the stretch in the final five weeks of the regular season.
"You want to play hockey as long as you possibly can, right?" With the team that we have here this year, it's a special group and we can do some pretty good things."