Men’s Hockey: Gabe Valenzuela & Liam Kerins

[ Music ]>>Here’s a two on one. Valenzuela, Kerins.
Kerins fires, scores!>>So how long have you guys actually known each other, would you say?>>Uh, probably 12 years. Probably, we started playing hockey when we were ten.>>We did not realize this when we recruited Gabe after Liam that they had been teammates, all through youth hockey, roller hockey, they were good friends. I just remember asking Liam what he thought of Gabe cause I knew they played together the year before, but we just thought it was a one-time thing, not a life-long thing where they played together.>>For the Tigers, on the prowl, Valenzuela, to Kerins, Kerins fires and scores!>>How soon did you realize that they needed to be on the same line together these two?>>They really complement each other very well, Gabe’s very dynamic on the puck, passes the puck really well, and Liam can really finish the plays-off extremely well. So Gabe tends to carry the puck up the ice, and then he gives it to Liam to finish off the play, and, they’ve been doing that for an awful long time.>>Why do you guys think your games complement each other?>>I think ’cause, to be honest, like Liam has one of the best shots I’ve seen from anybody, and one thing I’ve noticed about him growing up, is that he knows where to be. That’s a shooter’s mentality, he knows where to be on the ice so that he’ll be alone, and for me, I just want to get the puck in, try to move it so I can put it in the net.>>I know Gabe likes to skate with the puck to handle it and I just you know, find that hole for him, and you know, and get that quick shot away.>>Have you ever had any beefs on the ice?>>Of course everyone has their beefs.>>I think everyone.>>No one’s always best buddies.>>So you guys have had disagreements?>>Oh yeah.>>Yeah, Gabe has yelled at me to pass it to him, and I’ll yell at him to pass it to me.>>Sure.>>You know as long as the team wins that’s all we care about.>>Yeah.>>You had that, you know, that mgm line a few years ago, last year, you’re top line, that’s turned out to be that freshman line. Did that surprise you that two freshmen were, really leading your team last year?>>Well, two things that surprised me a lot was that they played as well offensively together, and that really, in that second half they came on strong, but bigger than that was defensively. So we started matching them up much like we did with Garbowsky against the other team’s top center, we’ve matched Gabe up in that way, Liam’s been very good along the boards with getting pucks out, and so we can rely on both of them defensively, as much as we can offensively.>>Did the success you two had in your lines surprise even you guys last year? The way you guys played, the way you guys gelled in that second half of the season?>>For me, yeah.>>For you?>>I came in last year thinking like this is going to be a whole different level for me. And I was just happy to be here. I was like, you know what, if I get my opportunity to play, I’ll get to play. I wasn’t even expecting to play every single game this season. I wasn’t expecting to put up points. I was literally, just saying, hoping I could get in line but just be positive and do something on the ice.>>To hoist that Atlantic Hockey championship, you guys have won it in a young age, to do that in your first year. What did that mean for both of you?>>For me, it was probably the best night in my life, for ice hockey, I never won something so big, in comparison to this it was just something that meant so much for me especially doing it my first year being here.>>I think that’s something that me and Gabe can go back on ten years from now and say hey, I mean, we made it into a major championship in ice hockey together and you know, we’ve been playing for so long. And it’s definitely some of our top moments in our friendship for sure.>>I think they came in and made a statement their first year and really, the tougher task is whether they can follow that up their sophomore year, the whole league knows about them now. There’s still a lot of it unwritten about them about what they’re going to do here at RIT, and I’m looking forward to watching them grow, as people and as hockey players and what their impact on league is going to be. [ Music ]

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