The current Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season has mirrored that of defenceman James Philpott and his Melville Millionaires as the 19-year-old was hot out of the gate, but has cooled off somewhat recently.
The Calgary product had six points in his first three games, a stretch in which the Millionaires picked up five of a possible six points, but since then he has managed just seven points in the last 14 games when Melville added just seven more points to their overall total.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Philpott did, however, score his first goal of the season in Melville’s last outing giving him nearly twice as many points as he recorded all of last year when he put up 1-6-7 totals in 23 games with the Millionaires.
Philpott got a good taste of junior hockey in Western Canada last year as he also played in half a dozen games with both the British Columbia Hockey League’s West Kelowna Warriors and Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Drumheller Dragons before finding a home in Melville.
Philpott also had a five-game tour with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles during his final season of midget hockey so finding a permanent home has benefitted his overall play as prior to joining the Millionaires he had just a pair of assists at the junior level.
Being a steady and durable player has been consistent throughout Philpott’s early career as he had 12 points in 37 games at the minor midget level as a 15-year-old and followed that up with 17 points in 24 games in Midget AA as a 16-year-old and 13 points in 34 games with the Calgary Midget AAA Buffaloes in his final year of midget eligibility.
Philpott was part of a Hockey Calgary Midget AA championship squad when he was 16 so having that experience will only help him in the future. Right now his main goal is to help the Millionaires turn things around and get back in the battle for a playoff spot. His continued improvement will certainly go a long way in helping them achieve that goal.