CENTENNIAL - One doesn’t need a team roster to pick out Heritage’s Connor Crory on a hockey rink.
Crory is the player who seems to be everywhere on the ice during his shifts.
The junior center who attends Arapahoe High School is the state’s leading scorer heading into this week’s action.
He is first in goals with 27 and points with 48 among Colorado’s prep hockey players. He has already set Heritage single season scoring records for goals, assists (23) and points.
“I just came into the season ready to work hard,” Crory said. “I’ve got good linemates who play with me and they are really helping me. It’s a whole team effort right now that is helping me.”
Still, Crory is making a lot happen with his gritty individual play for the Eagles (13-2-0).
He goes hard into the corners, likes to set up scoring chances from behind the net, finds open teammates with accurate passes, is strong winning face offs, executes his defensive responsibilities, plays the point on the power play and kills penalties.
In other words, he’s an all-around player.
“He does everything for us,” said Heritage coach Jeremy Sims. “He’s so multi-dimensional that he can play on the penalty kill, the power play and he can play against finesse teams. He can also play a power game, get pounded on, beat up and battle in the corners. He can play all types of different games.”
Crory comes up big in games although he’s not the biggest guy on the ice. He is 5-foot-9 and weighs 160 pounds but has at least one goal in every game he’s played this season and eight games in which he’s collected four or more points.
“He’s not the biggest guy but he can play physical,” Sims said. “He uses his size and body positioning really well. He keeps himself between the puck and the player, his angles are very good keeping guys away from the puck.
“He’s extremely fast. His start is really quick and that’s where he beats a lot of guys to the puck. And he wins at least 60 or 70 percent of his face offs.”
Crory relishes his role as a complete player.
“As a center you really have to play strong on both ends of the ice,” he said. “You have to play strong defense and always be ready to backcheck. When the opportunity comes on offense you have to finish. They haven’t put me in goal yet but I might request that in a couple weeks.”
Don’t expect to see Crory in goal because Heritage needs his scoring. Crory has done an excellent job of replacing Kyle Mair, the team’s all-time leading scorer who graduated last spring.
“Going into this season, we were wondering who was going to take over,” said Sims. “Connor took that role and ran with it. This year he’s a lot more confident. Last year he just wanted to make the team. This year he really wanted to be a big part of the team.”
Crory had just three goals and eight assists last season but he’s turned into a goal scoring machine and many of his tallies have been of the highlight reel variety.
Against Pueblo County he scored a shorthanded goal with the Eagles down two players. He beat the goalie to the loose puck, fell down, but managed to direct the puck past the goalie and into the net while still on his back.
“He’s actually had a couple goals like that this season,” Sims said. “All of his goals start with him winning the battle to get the puck. Nine times out of 10 if there is a battle for the puck, he’s going to win it. All the teams we play know who he is and use different ways to try to stop him”
Pueblo County knew Crory.
The Hornets went to center ice to kneel for a prayer after their 8-0 loss to the Eagles last week at South Suburban Ice Arena.
Crory was the only Heritage player still on the ice and the Pueblo County players urged him to join them which he did.