When Thomas Manty arrived on the Phillips Andover campus a little over a year ago, after a couple of solid seasons playing for Massachusetts HS power Central Catholic, he knew he could ease his way into the lineup at the prep school level.
He also knew that this, his senior season, he would need to play a much bigger role in the fortunes of the Big Blue.
So far, that is how things are going. Despite a couple of recent losses, Andover has come out of the gates fast (12-5-1), and Manty has been a big reason why, scoring 29 points in the team’s first 18 games skating on the first line.
“Last year, I was a younger kid, and we had a lot of seniors,” Manty said. “I wasn’t looked upon to create offense and score goals at the beginning. This year, obviously, everyone looks to myself and my linemates to get everything going for us.”
Manty has been skating on coach Paul Tortorella’s top line, with fellow senior Christian Powers, and post-grad Mac Carso from Chicago. He is very familiar with Powers, another local product (Gloucester) who he has played with during youth hockey days with the Islanders HC.
“I didn’t know the third kid, Carso, but he has complimented us well,” he said. “He doesn’t mind doing the dirty work and is not afraid to go into the corners. We all need to play more physical.”
Living in Andover, a short distance from campus, Manty is able to commute to school, which he finds appealing.
“I like the flexibility of being at home,” he said. “It is convenient that one of the best prep schools in the country is right in my hometown. It’s a great help.”
A typical day sees the star forward taking classes from 9am -2:45pm or so, with a free period to do some schoolwork. Then, comes a stint at the gym, going to practice or a game, then home for dinner and homework.
“I do it all over again the next day,” Manty said. “I was told the school is really hard, and, I’m not going to lie, it is really hard. It has been good most of the time, but there have been some stressful times.”
Throw into the mix the thoughts about the future. Being the solid player that he is, there is the recruiting factor. Which schools should he look at? Which schools are interested in him? Where will he be playing next season?
“Schools are slowing coming around,” said Manty. “Division 3 schools have come and I have had multiple conversations with D1 schools. My goal is to play Division 1. If I have to do a year or two I’d like to. It is out of my control. I just have to keep working and be better. Ideally, I would like to have something by the end of the season, but I am not expecting it.”
One Division 1 school told Manty it would probably have six or seven spots open for the 2020-21 season, they liked his play and there was potential he could fit into one of those spots. But the program was focused first on filling the few spots it had for next season.
A big plus is that Thomas’ dad, Scott Manty, is a hockey guy and currently an assistant on the Phillips Andover staff.
“My dad does a lot of work,” he said. “He is occasionally talking to coaches. He is also a big help to all of us. His knowledge is incredible.”
“It actually is a difficult situation,” Scott Manty said. “I’ve been a coach for a long time and I know players’ capabilities. I can tell coaches to come look at Thomas, but sometimes I need to take a back seat. If Thomas does the work on the ice, hopefully the coaches will come.”
As far as the fortunes of Phillips Andover hockey for this season, Manty feels the Big Blue could be a factor in the playoff race.
“I think we have the potential to be an Elite 8 team,” he said. “We have the team to do it, especially when we get a couple of guys back (a few key players are out injured). That will definitely help. We will see whether we have a high seed in the Large School Tournament or a low seed in the Elite 8.”
Whichever tournament Phillips Andover ends up in, be sure that Thomas Manty will play a major role.