"We are very excited about this recruiting class," Appert said. "They bring a lot of differ¬ent elements in a nice blend of skill, speed and grit and com¬petitiveness. I think they'll improve us in every area."
The biggest three additions among the eight newcomers are right winger Tyler Helfrich, defenseman Bryan Brutlag and center Joel Malchuk, the final recruit of former coach Dan Fridgen.
Each was previously reported by The Record to be among the 2007-08 freshman class, as were left winger Ben Contini and right winger Scott Halpern.
The newest three additions to the program are solid defense-minded defenseman John F. Kennedy, who's expected to step right in and help the Engineers still painfully young defen¬sive corps, and right wingers Chase Polacek and Kevin Beauregard.
Polacek was a teammate of Brutlag at Academy of the Holy Angels High in Richfield, Minn.
Helfrich, who can also play center, had 18 goals and 32 assists in 42 games in the Alberta Junior Hockey League,
Brutlag was a First Team member of the Minnesota All-State team and Malchuk had 22 goals, 39 assists and a whopping 190 penalty minutes in 53 games in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Appert praised assistant coaches Shawn Kurulak and Jim Montgomery for "the out¬standing job they did in putting this class together. The three of us covered a lot of miles and they did a real good job, especially in their first year together."
Here's Appert's brief description of each recruit, with each's position, height, weight and hometown:
Joel Malchuk, C, 5-foot-10, 170, Brandon, Man. - "We feel like he's our recruit. Joel is a very strong two-way center who plays with passion and an edge. We need more of that around here."
Bryan Brutlag, D, 5-11, 180, Lakeville, Minn. - "Bryan is a very dynamic offensive threat from the blue line. His skill level and competi¬tiveness have made him one of the top defen¬sive recruits in the nation. We've found our power-play point man defenseman."
Tyler Helfrich, RW-C, 5-10, 190, Calgary, Alb. - "Tyler is a gifted offensive player with excellent hands and vision to make his teammates better. He is a proven point producer at every level at which he's played and we expect the same from him at RPI."
John F. Kennedy, D, 6-0, 195, Saginaw, Mich. - "John is a very competitive young man who is a real shut-down defenseman. He's a battler, a tough, tough kid and he's a leader."
Ben Contini, LW, 6-0, 175, Toronto - "Ben is an explosive offensive player. He will be one of our fastest and most talented players upon arrival to campus."
Chase Polacek, RW, 5-8, 165, Edina, Minn. - "Chase is a goal-scorer with great quickness and speed. He has been a high-level point-pro¬ducer for one of the best high school programs in the country."
Scott Halpern, RW, 5-10, 170 - "Scott has the speed and intensity to become an effective two-way forward for us. He has the ability to excel in any role he's put in."
Kevin Beauregard, RW, 6-4, 215, South Windsor, Conn. - "Kevin is a raw talent who has the size and mind to develop into a strong power forward."
Appert says the recruiting class isn't com¬plete.
"There will be at least one more," he said. "Another defenseman at least and if we can a (forward) ...
"You're never done recruiting," Appert added. "If you see a player in July or August who can help your program, you have to go get him."
The 2007-08 RPI roster will have seven sen¬iors on it Appert and his assistants have already gotten a big jump on next year's recruiting.
With high-scoring left winger Patrick Cullen and center Christian Morissette (no relation to captain Jake Morissette) and solid two-way defenseman Mike Bergin, the nucleus of that class is almost set.
"Again, we're excited," Appert said. "We've still got a ways to go, but we're on the way."