Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Byrce Merriam is ready to "be the man" in Rensselaer Polytechnic's nets this weekend.
“I'm trying to be," the freshman goaltender said after Wednesday's practice. "I just have to step in and take over for Allen (York) while he's out and just go out there and compete as hard as I can."
Sophomore York, RPI's regular goaltender, suffered an ankle injury late in the first period of last week's 4-3 loss at Dartmouth and will quite likely miss this weekend's crucial games with Quinnipiac and Princeton.
Rensselaer head coach Seth Appert, noting the Institute recruited Merriam with the idea he'd be "a No. 1 goaltender," had confidence in him.
"What I like about (Merriam) in practice the past couple months is the same thing we like about him in games,” Appert said. “Except for Michigan State, he’s played well every time we’ve put him in net. He played good this weekend … he’s given us a chance to win – outside of Michigan State – every time he’s been in the net for us.”
York has a 3-3-0 record, 2.88 goals against average and 88.7 saves percentage in 291:46 minutes. Allowing two goals on nine shots in 14 and one-half minutes against Michigan State worsened the latter two numbers
Lack of work is his biggest problem at this point but Merriam was asked what else he needs to improve.
“Patience at the net,” he said. “Staying on my feet, having my feet underneath me, not going down too early and side-to-side as fast as I can.”
As for York, Appert said, “he’s better than expected. He took a big step forward from (Tuesday) night to today,” Appert said Wednesday. “He was still on crutches (Tuesday) and had a big, dramatic change for the better (Wednesday). So, we just have to balance it. We need to make sure. These are important games but if he get to 85-90 percent and we try to play him and we try to practice it and he tweaks it, all of a sudden he goes back to 70 percent and then you have to take another week to get it back to 90 percent, and then (maybe) he tweaks it again and we’re dealing with it (the rest of the season).
“I guess I would take more of an approach of let’s getting him to … 95-100 percent and then get him in to practice and whenever he’s ready to play, he’s going to play.”
Having said all that, Appert added that York is still not definitely out for this weekend’s games.“If he makes a big step tomorrow (today) like he did today, who knows,” Appert said.


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