Kozma backstops Oil Caps to league best start

Ever since his second season of hockey, at about the age of eight, Virden Oil Capitals goaltender Kyle Kozma has defended the crease.

“I enjoy being able to play a key role in games and be the difference maker at times,” the 19-year-old Vaughn, Ont. product said. “There’s always an inherent pressure, but I enjoy it because then having success feels more rewarding.”

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The Oil Capitals are pleased to have Kozma in goal. The netminder has earned the win in six of the team’s league best eight victories. Kozma leads the MJHL in wins and ranks in the top seven in save percentage (.919) and goals against average (2.42). His sophomore success comes after a strong rookie campaign in which he posted a 13-6 record with a 2.96 GAA after joining the squad partway through the season.

“Kyle has played very well to this point,” Virden head coach Tyson Ramsey said. “He is more confident this year and our guys feel comfortable playing in front of him. … We are very pleased with Kyle and look forward to watching him develop over the course of the season.”

Ramsey said that the 6-foot-2, 193-pound Kozma is “a big body that moves well and also has the athleticism to make key saves at important times.” Oil Caps goaltending coach Ryan Potter said that Kozma’s ability to move well laterally “allows him to get square to shooters and take away opportunities.”

In addition to his size and athletic ability, Kozma has impressed the Oil Caps staff with his approach to the game.

“Kyle’s mindset allows him to ‘forget quickly,’ which is a huge asset for a goaltender,” Potter said. “He can reset after a goal and be ready to compete at a high level very quickly. Kyle consistently puts the work in to get better. His yearning to be the best the MJHL has to offer is something I love working with.”

Kozma is billeting with the Shelby and Robin Rampton family for the second straight season. He said he really enjoys living with the family and the backing his squad gets from Virden and the surrounding area.

“The main thing I like about playing for the Caps is the support we get from the community,” Kozma said. “We have a great group of guys that always enjoy interacting with the town and we are very thankful to have one of the league’s highest attendance.”

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