Friday, January 15, 2010


TROY -- Rensselaer senior center Paul Kerins was asked if he'd ever had a defenseman on his right wing before, as this writer forgot that Garett Vassel began his RPI career as a defenseman and often skated on Kerins' line since moving to forward last season.
"No, I don't think I have, on my right side," Kerins said. "I had Garret Vassel on my left side but not on my right.
Kerins says Brutlag "is doing fine" in the two games he's moved up from the blue line.
"It was a good initial weekend for him. It was tough for him to come up but he's a smart enough hockey player, and good enough player that he put him in net and he'd do fine," Kerins said.
Union figures to focus on the top RPI lines centered by Chase Polacek (Patrick Cullen, Alex Angers-Goulet) and Brandon Pirri (Jerry D'Amigo, Marty O'Grady), so Kerins' line could be a key for the Engineers tomorrow night.
“Well, I think all four lines are a key to success,” Kerins said. “I’d like to be a mega-key for us but I think no matter what you do, who you put on those guys, they’re going to find ways to get involved in the play. I’m just going to try to do what I always do, try to contribute on the power play and 5-on-5.
"Hopefully, we’ll be able to take a little burden off their shoulders,” Kerins said of the Polacek and Pirri lines.”
Helfrich doesn't deny he'd love to return to leading scorer Polacek's 'A' line.
"Everyone wants to play with the top guys, right," he said with a slight smile.
However, Helfrich terms his current trio "a dynamic line.
"Playing with Kerins and Brugie is fun," he said. "Bryan works his butt off and opens up a lot of ice for us to use our vision. We just have to get the puck more often and control it down low. Hopefully, puck possession will get us a few more opportunities."
Shining knight Vassel: New Channel News 9 reporter Erin Connolly wanted to go out on the ice and take a shot Wednesday when the Engineers skated at Cohoes' Van Shiack pond.
She was wearing high heels, so two Engineers guided her out in front of one of the nets and Vassel lent her his stick and showed her the proper form to shoot.
Then, Vassel, originally from Oyster Bay, L.I. native, picked up the slender Connolly, from just a few miles away in Syosset, L.I., and gallantly skated her back to shore.


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