The Topeka RoadRunners have announced that veteran goaltender Bryce Merriam has committed to Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute (ECAC) for next season.
Merriam, a 21-year-old from Bethel Park, Pa., holds an 18-3-3 record in 25 appearances this season to compliment a 1.94 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
With his collegiate future now in place, Merriam, who participated in last month’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, feels even more focused on his current goals.
“This eliminates the only distraction I was currently faced with in pursuit of winning the Robertson Cup,” said Merriam. “With this out of the way, I can put all of my focus into raising that cup and another banner in our rink.”
Merriam, who also considered offers from schools in the WCHA, CCHA and the Atlantic Hockey conference, said the decision to attend RPI, which is located in Troy, N.Y., was influenced during his recent visit.
“The players and coaching staff were tremendous and the educational opportunity they’ll provide me with for my future is outstanding,” he said.
The GDI Goaltender of the Month for December, Merriam, who began his NAHL career with the Mahoning Valley Phantoms in 2005 before being traded to the then-Santa Fe RoadRunners early in the 2006-07 season, attributes a great deal of his success to the help of his family.
“I’d like to thank my mom, dad and sister, Stephanie, for all of their support over the last 17 years.”
He went on to credit the RoadRunners organization.
“I wouldn’t currently be in this position if it weren’t for owner Mary Magdalene Lorang's passion and dedication for this organization,” he said. “Other than my family, Mary has been the most supportive person, both on and off the ice, during my junior career.
“Also, (RoadRunners head) Coach Scott Langer has invested a lot of time in me, believed in my abilities, and has given me the opportunity to develop my talents to play at the next level. Coach Langer has developed this franchise into one of the premier junior hockey programs and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Always one to share the credit, Merriam is also cognizant of the contributions from his teammates.
“Over the last several years, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to be on quality teams and that has given me the chance to get to this position, he said.
Langer was pleased with the news regarding Merriam’s college plans.
“Bryce has always been the type of person who is very thorough, and I knew he would ultimately make the best decision for his situation and his goals,” said the coach. “Bryce is a winner on the ice and a quality person off the ice. He’ll do well with RPI.”
Merriam is the fourth player who competed in last month’s Top Prospects Tournament to commit to a school after the event, joining Springfield Jr. Blues forward Trent Frey (Mercyhurst) and St. Louis Bandits defenseman Tyler Elbrecht (Minnesota State-Mankato) and goaltender Keith Kinkaid (Union).