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RPI Pair Eager for Tourney

Murley Healthy Again; Marsters Seeks to Atone

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, December 28, 2001

TROY - Playing a couple of nonleague games in the middle of the holiday season may not jump the pulse of every player on the RPI hockey team, but it's a good bet that Matt Murley and Nathan Marsters won't have any trouble getting up for the 51st Holiday Tournament.

Murley will be playing his first game since Dec. 1 after a frustrating bout with mononucleosis sidelined him for the Engineers' past two ECAC games. Marsters is eager for a chance to erase the memory of last year's tournament, where the Engineers fell in the first round.

"It was tough, but I'm feeling a lot better," said Murley, the senior co-captain from Troy. "I couldn't really do anything for the last three weeks. I think I watched every TV show in the world during the three weeks. The first thing I did was practice yesterday, so it's good to be back."

Marsters was in his first season as an RPI goaltender when he was on the losing end of the longest game he's ever played. It finally ended at 17:20 of overtime (a winner had to be determined) when Northeastern's Scott Selig beat him for a 3-2 victory in the opening round of the 50th Holiday Tournament.

"We don't want that to happen this year," said the 6-foot-4 sophomore, who has started RPI's past five games and is 3-3-1 with a 3.08 goals-against average. "It's disappointing to go into the consolation round, but every game counts, so you've got to be up for them anyway."

Murley scored the go-ahead goal in last year's tournament opener against Northeastern, then added another when RPI salvaged the consolation with a 6-2 win over Notre Dame. The talented forward wants a chance to play in the 7:30 game Saturday night.

"I didn't do anything except sit home and drink Gatorade and water," said Murley, who was off to a great start with seven goals in eight games. "Your spleen blows up and it's real vulnerable to get ruptured. If you have the flu you can suck it up and play, but they wouldn't let me play with this (mono)."

This will be Murley's last chance to win the nation's oldest hockey tournament, whose championship he shared in as a freshman but not since.

"You want to win your own tournament, and we've got a good chance to win it this year," Murley said. "It's real important to win that first game. My freshman year we won that first game in overtime, and that seemed to propel us in the championship (game)."

Murley said the tournament also serves as a new beginning for the Engineers, who were upset by Princeton in their last game before the holiday break, on Dec. 8.

"We're starting like the second part of the season," he said. "It's definitely a chance for us to start getting on a roll. We want to start off on the right foot, so it's important for us to come out in these first couple of games and get some wins under our belt."

The Engineers (5-5-1) appear to be in a good position to win their 16th tournament title, taking on Quinnipiac (7-6-1) in the opener tonight after Massachusetts (6-10-0) and Niagara (12-7-0) tangle in the opener at 4:30 p.m.

"We want to win the tournament at home in front of our fans," Marsters said. "You don't want anyone coming in and winning your tournament."