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Bogacki Finding Comfort in Crease

Kenmore West senior Matt Bogacki summed it up in one key word: confidence.

With a perfect record in net Matt Bogacki’s confidence is definitely on the rise. Bogacki turned away 18 of the 19 shots as Kenmore West beat North Tonawanda, 6-1, in WNY Federation Hockey Division IV action that was played on the KeyBank Rink at HarborCenter, Sunday night.

Scoring a win over the defending Division IV champion Lumberjacks, the Blue Devils are now 3-0 and currently hold down first place in the division.

“It’s really a team game. We’re all coming together,” Bogacki said. “A little shaky in that first game, but we’re all really coming together.”

For Bogacki, who is now in his second season of varsity, it’s been anything but an easy journey to becoming the Blue Devils No.1 man between the pipes. Last season he shared the crease with two seniors, Ryan Mooney and Joe Carney. But even though he was the least experienced of the three, Bogacki made the most of his time on the ice.

Playing a total of 235 minutes, Bogacki went 2-2-1 in the six games he played in. But Bogacki did more than just play. He watched, learned and grew.

“That was definitely more of a learning experience for me, but it was a good year,” Bogacki said. “I learned a lot of things from coaches and teammates.”

Now at 3-0 with a 1.33 Goals Against Average, what makes Bogacki’s strong start so impressive is that he didn’t consider himself a goalie by trade.

“It’s amazing. When he started as a freshman with (assistant coaches) Corey (Lloyd) and Mike (Vogel) on JV he was super inexperienced,” said Ken-West coach Robert Roszak. “But he is a kid who has worked and worked and worked to become a good goalie. The steps he’s made from freshman to senior are quite amazing.”

Bogacki committed himself to do whatever it took to get better. He worked tirelessly with Blue Devils goalie coach Corey Lloyd, who was the starting goalie for the Blue Devils when they won the Federation title in 2006, to sharpen his game.

“When I started my first year on JV I was really inexperienced,” Bogacki explained. “I was basically never on a team. Just playing pick up at North Buffalo (Rink). I met coach Lloyd and he just boosted my confidence in practice. He just motivated me to be the best I can.”

Bogacki said that he and Lloyd started with the basics and went from there. As time went on, from learning how to cut down angles to butterfly slides, Bogacki slowly but surely learned how to become a goalie, as oppose to someone who just played net.

The Blue Devils, though they were playing their third game in four days, still seemed to have more zip in their step than NT, who was playing the second game of a back-to-back weekend. The Blue Devils moved the puck with quick well timed passes as they peppered NT goalie Jacob Riley with a total of 37 shots on the day.

Alex Militello opened the scoring for Ken-West when he beat Riley at the 2:41 mark of the first period. Patrick Reddon’s game winner and the first of two goals from sophomore Ethan Yotter gave Ken-West a 3-0 lead after one period.

Jackson Burns scored the Jacks’ (1-2) lone goal of the night when he poked the puck past Bogacki at the 8:55 mark of the second period, making it a 4-1 lead for Ken-West. Though no one on NT was happy with the final score Burns said the team has to look upon it as a growing experience and come back stronger.

“All of our captains help us out with that,” Burns said. “They really help us out with that. They tell us to keep on working.”

Sean Degnan made it 4-0 in the second, while Michael Baker and Yotter (four goals on season) capped off the Blue Devils scoring in the third.

“Hard work pays off in the end,” Bogacki said.

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