Being 21 years old and in his final season of junior hockey, Matt Grogan knows how he wants this season to end.
“I want to go out a champion,” Grogan said. “For sure. No doubt.”
Grogan, a goaltender with the Bismarck Bobcats, has bounced around the junior ranks over the past five seasons, but has found a home in Bismarck, where he’s now on a championship-caliber team.
“To be honest, the NAHL isn’t exactly where I thought I’d end up, but it’s definitely worked out well for me here,” said Grogan, an Arizona native. “Years ago, I went to a tryout for the Central Texas Blackhawks, and that was interesting, but then I wound up in Indianapolis (playing Midget AAA) and in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, too.”
Grogan, who said his biggest asset is that he’s “a little goalie (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) that plays big and aggressive,” played for the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL, but, after being traded, his hockey career was pretty much at a standstill until an old friend from Indianapolis gave him a call.
“My goalie coach in Indy (Jamie Morris) knew the coach in Bismarck (then Dane Litke) and [Morris] called me and told me to go check it out up in Bismarck,” remembered Grogan. “So I did, and like I said, it’s worked out well.”
Grogan and Air Force recruit David Bosner form a stellar 1-2 punch in the Bobcats’ net. Working alongside a future Division I college player has Grogan aspiring to get to that same level.
“I’ve talked to a few schools, even a couple at the Top Prospects Tournament (last month in Ann Arbor, Mich.),” Grogan admitted. “I think I put on a good show (in Ann Arbor) for the coaches and scouts that were there.
“In (the Central team’s) first game, we played the U.S. Under-18 Team and I let in six goals, but a couple college coaches said they still liked the way I played and so did I.
“Maybe I stopped some shots I shouldn’t have, but all those games were high intensity. We got better period-by-period and game-by-game and I think I played my best and couldn’t have stopped any more shots than I did.
“It was good that we were in first place when the teams were picked and our team got to send six guys, too.”
Also a good thing to see is the Bobcats and Grogan perched in the top spot in the Central Division.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time, but we think we’re the best team in that division and we want to be the team to go to the national tournament,” Grogan said. “It’s a tight division and it’s been up and down all year.”