Wissahickon will face WC Henderson in Flyers Cup Class A action Thursday. Bryan Garry is spotlighted in Craig Ostroff’s preview feature.
By Craig Ostroff
You might not believe it by the way he lights up the scoreboard, but Bryan Garry’s approach to hockey has always been “less is more.”
As a result, the Wissahickon senior captain has sacrificed some game play, but he’s spent far more hours than most in honing and perfecting his fundamentals and skills.
“Ever since I was younger, my dad had the philosophy you play in fewer games and spend more time developing skills,” Garry said. “If you’re a baseball player, you play a game and let’s say you get three at-bats, and you strike out on three pitches each time. You get nine swings in a game. Or you go out in the backyard and get 100 pitches.
“I skipped a lot of playing time, but I’m developing skills that maybe other players haven’t. It’s all about fundamentals and basics and learning how to bring them into the game. And you can’t do it once or twice a week. You have to be consistent, you have to monitor yourself so if your stride is off, you know you have to focus on it. When I go out to practice, whether it’s me on my own or with a team, I always have a plan. I’m not going out to mess around, I always want to be out there with a purpose.”
The results of Garry’s dedication to improving his fundamentals are eye-poppingly apparent. Garry has a whopping 74 points across 13 games for Wissahickon (that’s an average of 5.69 points per game). As such, Garry rests comfortable atop the scoring charts with 43 goals (an average of more than a hat trick per game at 3.30) and perhaps most notably, atop the assist leaders with 31.
Placing second, behind Garry in all three categories, is linemate Nick Hussa (19G, 26A, 45P). That’s important because the Trojans wouldn’t have been nearly as successful with a one-man offense. Instead, Garry and his linemates form a cohesive unit and each member elevates the play of his linemates.
“After the first couple of games this season, I would have guys marking me, following me around,” Garry said. “I was playing with Nick and AJ (Pounds) or Daniel (Glazer), and having those three guys on offense, they’re all skilled players, they take pressure off me.”
And while Garry has often proven impossible to stop when he’s finishing a scoring opportunity, he relishes the opportunities to set up his teammates to light the lamp.
“On most of the teams I’ve played on, I’ve always been more of the playmaker,” Garry said. “I’m usually the guy who will bring in the puck and use my vision and try to feed a guy backdoor or something to set them up. Here, I’m taking on more the role of the goal scorer, but I’m trying to do both. I like getting other guys involved. It makes us that much harder to defend.”
Quite simply, Garry is the type of teammate who makes everyone around him better.
“Bryan is the kind of kid who does everything right,” said Wissahickon coach Ken Harrington. “He has leadership, and of course he’s got exceptional talent and hard work. Everybody looks up to him.
“As a leader, he can be vocal, but the scale is tipped more to action. They see what he does. He comes to every practice, he puts in the work, he’s smart on the ice, he rarely takes penalties. He wants excellence, from himself and from the team. If you watch him closely, he does so many things that are unbelievable, the way he uses his feet, he knocks down pucks out of the air, he’s quick. He’s just a very good player.”
With Garry powering the offense, the Trojans have already built a remarkable season. Wissahickon rolled to a 12-1 regular-season record, then defeated Abington 4-3 to win the SHSHL Class A championship. Three more wins will make this season historic.
Wissahickon begins Flyers Cup play on Thursday at 7:10 pm at Hatfield Ice. The third seed in the Class A tournament, the Trojans host sixth seed West Chester Henderson. The Trojans will be well-rested—when they step onto the ice, it will be only their second game in the past three weeks (Wissahickon’s final regular season game and their SHSHL semifinal game were cancelled due to COVID).
They don’t believe the extended downtime will be an issue at all.
“We’ve had practices, so it’s not like the kids didn’t have ice time, but I think we’ll be fine,” Harrington said. “The kids are good about keeping in shape.”
“Most of the guys are on the ice a lot practicing or with club teams,” Garry said. “I don’t think it will affect us too much.
“Plus, we’re all really ready to get started. We’re coming off a win that gives us a lot of momentum, and it seemed like we were playing our best games toward the end of the season. We’re ready to go.”
Past West Chester Henderson, the Class A semifinals will be held on April 13, and the finals on April 20.
“Everyone sees our offense, and we know we’ve got that, but when we beat Abington for the title, our defense was solid and our goalie (Michael Bonanni) played very well in that game,” Harrington said.
“We’re going to focus a lot on team defense. After all, if the other team doesn’t score, we don’t lose.”
#3 WISSAHICKON vs. #6 WEST CHESTER HENDERSON (at Hatfield Ice 7:10 p.m.)
- SHSHL American Conference & SHSHL Class A champions
- Scored 108 goals and allowed 43
- Led by Bryan Garry (43 goals, 31 assists, 74 points) & Nick Hussa (19 goals, 26 assists, 45 points)
- Daniel Glazer (14 goals, 13 assists, 27 points) and AJ Pounds (10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points) are also dangerous. Will Hussa (8 goals, 2 assists, 10 points) also contributes.
- Michael Bonnani boasts a 10-1 record in goal with a save percentage of .830 and a goals-against average of 3.52.
West Chester Henderson
- Ches-Mont National third place behind WC East & Downingtown West
- Scored 20 goals and allowed 37
- Led by P. Edward Jefferis III (11 goals, 11 points) and Alex Holloway (7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points)
- Goalie Dylan Krick is 2-5-2 with a .917 save percentage and a 3.22 goals-against average.