Connellsville grad Bogden finding his game with club team

| Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 12:51 a.m.

Like so many hockey players, Eric Bogden has the game in his blood.

Bogden, a 2009 Connellsville High School graduate, was a standout during his days with the Falcons, and now he is one of the top point-getters as a senior on Robert Morris University's Division III club hockey team.

Bogden loves the game, and his passion for the sport has shown in his play. Through 22 games, Bogden has compiled 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points. He is a plus-38. Bogden, a Dunbar resident, was chosen by the team as the player of the month for December. It was the first time the team had given the award and Bogden was honored to be the first recipient.

“It made me feel like I was being recognized for playing hard every night,” Bogden said.

In December, Bogden had five goals and three assists as well as a shootout game-winning goal as the Colonials finished 4-0 in the month. His play has remained at a high level in January as well. Last week, Bogden recorded a seven-point game in a win over Penn State Behrend.

Through 22 games, the Colonials are 17-5 and are in first place in College Hockey East (CHE) with 16 points. Bogden has been a main contributor to the team's success.

“Eric is a huge part of this team,” Robert Morris coach Craig Bioni said. “He works very hard in the classroom and on the ice. All the players look up to and respect him. I respect Eric as a player and a person and trust him with the positive image of our team. Good things happen when he is on the ice. Eric has been to three all-star games and selected as a player on two CHE Select Teams, which is the best players in the league competing for a spot to play overseas.”

Bogden has helped the Colonials advance to the American College Hockey Association's (ACHA) national tournament in each of the previous three seasons, and that is a goal again this campaign.

“We definitely want to make it to the national tournament again,” Bogden said. “We want to make some noise at the tournament and make it to the championship.”

Bogden is an assistant captain on the team, which is a far cry from when he began playing for Robert Morris University as a freshman.

“Coming in, I was at the bottom of the totem pole,” Bogden said. “Coming out of high school, I knew I could put points on the board. But in my freshman year, I think I put too much pressure on myself. Once I got comfortable, it helped me play better. Being named assistant captain this year makes me want to go out and play hard every night.”

Bogden, 22, has spent the season as the right-winger on the top line. He has been a steady contributor all season, and with the regular season wrapping up in one week, Bogden likes how his team's collective game is rounding into form.

“We take it one game at a time, and I think we're coming together at the right time,” Bogden said.

Bogden certainly hopes to end his senior year with a long playoff run. But no matter what, this season won't be the end of Bogden's hockey career. The game means too much to him.

“I definitely want to play hockey as long as possible,” Bogden said. “I'll probably play in adult leagues until I am 60 or 70 years old.”

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