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"He's been very good," RPI head coach Seth Appert said, "but I don't think he's been above his game. I think he's capable of being this good. That's why we recruited him.

In a recent four game stretch in which he beat American International, Brown, Yale and St. Lawrence, Merriam allowed a total of just two goals (0.50 goals against average) and stopped 115 of 117 shots he faced (98.3 saves percentage).

"A goalie's job is easy.

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"Nah, I don't even know what the situation is," he said. "Don't know, don't care. Me and Scotty are here, we're working hard . as hard as we can to get better and we're going to keep doing that."

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Merriam says he's gotten "a lot better" from last season or even a couple months ago but explained, "it's not so much, 'better' it's more of a comfort thing, more getting in that rhythm by playing all the time. Like last year, I might get nervous going in after I hadn't played in a while. Now, (it's) more comfortable, more relaxed when you're consistently playing."

Merriam was aware of that many questioned his ability to be the fulltime goaltender.

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Merriam hasn't concerned himself with fans' chatter, whether it's been during times when he's shared the goaltending duties with freshman Scott Diebold or when he's pretty much had the job to himself, as is the case now as the Engineers prepare for a big home weekend against Cornell a nationally televised game on Friday night and against Colgate on Saturday night, RPI's 35th Annual Big Red Freakout Under Armour Shoes Stephen Curry Gold Night!

junior Bryce Merriam could be a long term netminder.

TROY When goaltender Allan York left Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to turn professional after his junior season last March, many Engineers fans questioned whether or not Under Armour Shoes Gemini

Merriam said after Wednesday's practice.

"I like to give up zero," he said with a chuckle. "But no, you just have to take what the game gives you as a goalie. If I have to keep them in there as long as I have to, that's fine with me. Then if they (the Engineers) come out and score four goals in the second period like (the) St. Lawrence game, that makes it more comfortable for me.

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"Yeah, probably," he said, "just because my junior team (Topeka of the North American Hockey League), we were one of the best teams in the league and we played some bad teams. So, you can't really compare college to juniors in any sense because we were putting up 10 against some of the bad teams in the league."

That question, if it still remained two weeks ago, is now evaporated.

Merriam was asked if he feels as if he and the defense have to limit the opposition to two goals for RPI to have a real chance to win.

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"I think he had a great first month and one half," Appert said of Merriam. "He hit a rough patch where I think, maybe he started to let things that are out of his control affect mindset. Like our team, maybe he was letting some things seep into his head that you don't need to (allow). We talk about control about what you can control; and what can control is your daily approach, your work ethic and your focus on your job."

"But I'll do whatever," he added. "I just feed off the team. They're what makes it go."

"Goalies have the easiest job in hockey, if they allow themselves to make it that way," he said. "All they have to Under Armour Shoes White And Black

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Merriam and Diebold will be joined by Jason Kasdorf, an NHL draft choice (Winnipeg) next season. Merriam doesn't worry about the logjam come September.

Merriam did admit, that the high level of Division I hockey and the fact that ECAC Hockey is a defensive oriented league notwithstanding, this RPI team is the lowest scoring he's been on.

"Bryce has some special things," said Appert, a former college goaltender himself. "He's 6 foot 3, he's talented, he's athletic and he's ultra competitive. He's has an incredible work ethic, he takes great care of himself physically and those attributes allow him to have the chance to be a really good, to great, college athlete."

After turning aside 81 of 82 shots in victories at Brown (3 0) and Yale (2 1), Merriam was named the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week. He gave his teammates the credit for solid backchecking, keeping shots wide and "letting me see everything."

´╗┐RPI goalie Bryce Merriam stands tall between the pipes

"Bryce has really gotten his mindset back in the past couple weeks on just the being focused on what he can control and letting the rest take care of itself," Appert said. "And he has that great (aforementioned) work ethic."

"It doesn't matter to me," he repeated. "All I need is the confidence in my teammates. That's all that really matters. I don't really care what anyone (else) says, but hopefully, they've seen some improvement."

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The Bethel Park, Pa. native has always has confidence in himself. He admits it's waned a bit at times, though.

"It's the same as it was in the beginning of the season," Merriam said, "because even though we weren't winning games, I was playing well. And then I may have had a three or four game stretch there, around Christmastime where I may have been letting the team down a little bit, but it's gotten back up."

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Appert says sometimes goalies can make their job much tougher than it needs to be.

While the offensively thin Engineers have won just seven of 26 games (7 18 1) and Merriam's W L T record is an unimpressive 6 13 0, his goals against average (2.31) and saves percentage (91.6) are fairly strong.

Merriam is more concerned about "winning these remaining games and improving our playoffs position."

Even though Rensselaer's offensive production has picked up a bit over the past month, the Engineers still score just 1.69 goals per game (26 goals in 44 games).

do is stop the puck. All they have to do is worry about a little black thing. They don't need to worry about the forecheck, they don't need to worry about the PK (penalty killing), they don't need to worry about how many goals we score, they don't need to worry about (our) power play.

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