Ford City's Cogley starts in net after 2 seasons as part-timer
After two years of reliance on out-of-district talents in net, Ford City's hockey team again features a homegrown standout as its primary starter.
Senior Adam Cogley is the top choice in the crease for the Sabers, who welcomed a netminder from Punxsutawney for the 2010-11 season and one from Slippery Rock last season — roster moves made under the PIHL Open Class's co-op policy.
Cogley transitioned from defense to goaltending after his freshman season and split time during the past two seasons. Now he's a mainstay between the pipes, and Ford City is a frontrunner in the Chiefs Cup division.
“I wouldn't trade him for anybody else I've seen so far this year,” coach Glen Kilgore said. “I think he's played above and beyond where we thought he'd be.”
Cogley has stopped 90.4 percent of the shots he's faced and allowed just 11 goals in six games; Chance McClaine started two other games and saw time in a third. He also has an unbeaten record (5-0-1) for the Sabers (7-1-1).
Those are impressive marks for a guy who picked up the position just a few months before the start of the 2010-11 season.
Cogley offered himself for the job after returning starter Aaron Altmeyer transferred to Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota for his junior year. He began to take lessons in August.
“I mostly wanted to help the team out in whatever way I could,” Cogley said. “They really needed a goalie, and I thought it'd be fun as well.
“My first time out with my goalie coach, Sean Moloney, he got me real into it, and I could tell it was going to work and be something that I was good at. That first year, I thought I had potential to be good.”
Just before the start of the 2010-11 PIHL season, Punxsutawney student Tyler Skerkavich joined the program.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior was polished. He stopped better than 90 percent of the shots he faced and finished the regular season with a goals-against average of 2.08 and a 9-0 record.
Cogley fared almost as well record-wise (8-1-2), but he had vulnerabilities as indicated by his save percentage (81.8).
The following season, Slippery Rock junior Zach Latorre replaced Skerkavich, and Cogley again found himself filling the net every other game.
When late-season injuries left Ford City's roster limited, the coaches asked Cogley to return to defense while Latorre occupied the goal for the playoffs. Cogley consented, though he considered himself more valuable to the team as a goaltender.
This offseason, aware that he might again have to share time with Latorre, Cogley committed to rigorous training.
He lifted every other day most weeks. And he improved his speed and endurance to the point that he began to rank in the top five when Kilgore held timed drills.
“I don't know if it was maturing or what, but at off-ice training, he pushed himself as much as anybody,” Kilgore said.
Cogley said of his increased intensity: “It was just the thought of having the team win and being looked to in a hard situation. ... I really wanted that first spot.”
The job became his without competition, as Latorre, without an explanation, decided not to play. But Cogley eased any concern about his abilities as a full-time starter during the Steve Bryan Memorial Belmont Cup preaseason tournament, and he sustained his success when the Open Class schedule started.
“I feel like a leader on the team,” Cogley said. “I feel like it's pushing me to do more for the team now that I am No. 1.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.