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Murley Becomes Leader for RPI

Engineers Look for More Balance in ECAC Weekend

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, December 7, 2001

TROY - RPI has an excellent opportunity to move up from 10th in the ECAC hockey standings this weekend with home games against Yale and Princeton. But the Engineers have to begin getting a bit more balance in the offensive end.

Captain Matt Murley and junior forwards Marc Cavosie and Nolan Graham have carried the early-season load, accounting for 60 percent of the team's 30 goals through nine games.

Murley has seven goals, Cavosie six and Graham five.

"Some of the other guys are going to have to continue to pick it up," said Murley, who has 10 points in eight games. "Gradually I think everybody else is going to start contributing."

It was Murley to the rescue in RPI's most recent game, a 1-1 tie with rival Union. Cavosie got the assist, his team-leading 10th of the season. Murley and Cavosie have been held without a point only once this year.

Both have had exceptional careers at RPI, but for Murley, this is a final chance to win an ECAC title, something the Engineers have not accomplished since the 1994-95 season.

"Matt's gotten a little more vocal in the locker room from a leadership perspective," coach Dan Fridgen said. "He and co-captain Steve Munn are doing an outstanding job as far as leadership is concerned."

Murley certainly has been a leader on the ice, last year stepping up with a team-high 42 points (24 goals, 18 assists) in 34 games.

"He's just a player that is gifted offensively and likes to create things offensively," Fridgen said of Murley, who was a second-round NHL draft choice by Pittsburgh in 1999. "As his career has evolved here, he's become a better two-way player, which I think is very important in regard to his development as a player."

At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Murley has become a solid special-teams player for the Engineers.

He had nine power-play goals last year and has a team-leading four already this season to go with one shorthanded score.

"Whether it be in his zone or on the penalty kill, he's been doing a good job defensively," Fridgen said. "When he gets the opportunities, he's been able to finish and capitalize on them. The offensive part comes easy to any player; it's the defensive part that's difficult because it's not a fun part of the game."

RPI brings a 4-4-1 overall record (1-1-1 ECAC) into tonight's game with Yale (3-4-2, 3-3-2), then takes on Princeton (3-8-0, 3-5-0) Saturday night before going on its annual midseason holiday break.

Union (3-4-3, 0-2-1) plays Princeton tonight and Yale on Saturday at Achilles Rink.