Coach of record Jim Cooper knew what Austin brought to the table. Current Head Coach Mike Jones saw it as well.
Sylvania Northview Wildcats 4 year letter winner and 2011-2012 Ohio State High School Champion goalie is building a reputation. That reputation is as the goalie you don't want to face. A reputation he established in Ohio, and is earning again as a rookie in the Jr hockey ranks, with the MJHL Laconia Leafs.
The 5'9" 160lb Gryca falls in solidly into the athletic goalie category. Explosive, Quick, and flexible. Powerful, always squared up, good gaps, attacks the puck and playing bigger than 5'8" stature are all typical accolades.
So, how well has Austin been playing? In a recent start he faced 54 shots, stopping all but 4 for a .92 save %. The following night he entered the game after his counter part surrendered 3 goals in the first 5 min. Again going on and nearly repeating his previous nights performance, having a .91 save %. Over the course of his 23 games played (1121min) Austin has managed to maintain a 3.56 GAA, and .89 Save %, having turned away 610 shots. Austin is ranked 4th in the league.
Austin has said he couldn't have asked for a better experience to start his Jr career. He loves Laconia New Hampshire, and lake Winnipesaukee. He further says his teammates are his best friends, they have built their own brother hood, and he can count on them for anything, and they him. Laconia Leafs games can be viewed live or in the archive at www.fasthockey.com
What truely sets Austin apart and above as an eliet goalie is mental toughness that can not be taught. Every goalie has it to a degree. The ability to play the game with the weight of the world on your shoulders, as your team battles in front of you. Your doing all you can to keep pucks out of the net, and when that one does go in, you have to collect yourself and move on. Start all over again, as if it never happened. Austin Gryca has it, at the elite level. How do I know? Austin has been playing this season all the while having a deep concern for his hero. His father. Who only recently underwent open heart surgery, and is himself working hard in the recovery process. Austin was playing his season knowing and wondering about his father. Then at his bed side pre and post surgery the whole time. Enough to wear on any 18 year old.
Now back in Laconia, Austin was taking his turn as back up, when after falling behind 4-1 to the CT Wolfpack. Coach Fay turned to Gryca and he entered the game for the next 2 stanzas, facing 17 shots and surrendering but one goal in a 5-2 loss. This is why the former Ohio High School State Champion is garnering the interest of division three and one hockey programs. This is why he has captivated interests from jr programs in Western Canada to the Eastern United States. He is an elite goalie, offering the whole package from hockey to humanity and humility.
Stay tuned in the very near future Scouting Ohio High School Hockey will be bringing you an exclusive with Austin Gryca. Life of a Jr hockey goalie.
20406 Northern Cyclones Laconia Leafs Laconia Ice Arena League Game 02-23-2013 4:25 AM