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Broad, Engineers Look to Snap Slide

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, January 11, 2007

TROY - Few Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey players feel as honored to wear the RPI sweater as does Kevin Broad.

The pride he takes in the team's uniform, as well as its traditions, is obvious.

"I can't speak for other guys but from the start, it was a big honor to earn a scholarship, anywhere, but especially a school like RPI," the senior winger said. "The rich traditions, the pride behind this program, I take seriously."

Broad, RPI's assistant captain, also takes losing seriously. The Engineers' current 12-game slide (1-8-3 after a 4-1-3 start) eats away at him.

"Losing's never fun and as a leader on this team, I take responsibility for losses," he said. "I want to turn this around as much as anybody else."

"It's tough. You can't let it eat at you but at the same time, feeling sorry for yourself isn't going to get you anywhere," he added. "You've got to figure out the solutions, take control and get things turned around that way."

A healthy Kevin Broad certainly would help but that's not likely to happen. The Humboldt, Sask. native, who's never really recovered from an abdominal injury that sidelined him for eight games late last season, is also nursing several other aches and pains. He missed one game with a foot injury but won't leave the lineup again unless, as he says, "I start hurting the team out there."

"Obviously, I'm not there 100 percent physically," he said, "and that's something I have to deal with. When the body's not going, you have to have the brain going, the hockey sense, even more."

All hockey players are heavily padded, of course, but Broad almost looks like a goaltender with all his extra pads.

"That's the style of hockey I play," he said.

He's a warrior, albeit a wounded warrior.

"I'm not going to proclaim myself as a warrior," he said with a laugh. "But I'll do whatever it takes out there and hopefully the boys in the locker room know that as well."

Why does he continually play in pain, far above what the average player does?

"This is my senior year and I want to do whatever I can to win," he said. "Obviously, if it gets to the point where I'm hurting the team, then I'll take myself out."

Not a great goal-scorer, Broad has just one goal and five points in 19 games this season and 35 points (19-16-5) in 113 career games. What he does, though, is create goals and scoring chances for others by delivering puck-separating body checks, winning puck battles along the boards and drawing penalties with his perpetual hard work.

Being at far less than 100 percent physically, he's able to do less of that lately, but his tenacity and work ethic are still a value to the team.

"I may not be able to hunt down as many pucks or draw as many penalties as I used to but positionally, at the end of the game, if I can be even, I'm pretty satisfied with that; not giving up goals and being a liability out there."

"Injuries can take a toll on you mentally as well as physically, though," said Broad, who takes 10 minutes to pull his gear off his sore body for the postgame shower.

Broad spoke of the team's confidence, which he admits, has taken a nosedive and is probably the Engineers' biggest hurdle to ending their 1-8-3 slide and putting some victories together.

"Any time you find yourself as a team, in an extended slump, I think confidence is (naturally) going to go down," he said. "But the mistakes that we're making are mental mistakes that can be fixed. So, in that case, it doesn't wear on you as much."

"And the coaches are doing a great job of keeping things positive," Broad added.

Right now, Broad tries not to dwell on the very real possibility that his career - and those of other seniors, Kirk MacDonald, Oren Eizenman, Jake Luthi, Ryan Swanson and Tommy Green - may end without the Engineers gaining a berth in the ECAC Hockey League semifinals.

"You can't think like that, or you'll start focusing on the wrong things," he said.

Broad was asked what he'd give to get the game's first goal against Union on Friday night - and have it hold up for a win.

"That would be a great feeling," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing Union."

After that game, sadly, just four regular-season home games remain in his RPI career.

"It's been a great honor for me to be a part of this program," he said.