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Engineers' Murley Signs Pact with Penguins

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, August 3, 2002

Troy native Matt Murley fulfilled one dream by playing college hockey at Rensselaer. Now, the high-scoring forward is ready to fulfill his professional dream.

Murley has signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The deal, which will be announced today, is for two years. Although financial terms were not available, Murley has a two-way contract with the team. That means he gets paid one salary if he plays for the Penguins, and another salary if he plays for the team's AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The AHL salary will be lower than the NHL one.

He becomes the second Engineer to sign with an NHL team this year. Cohoes native Marc Cavosie signed with the Minnesota Wild on April 14, foregoing his senior year.

"It was a dream come true just to play at RPI," Murley said. "A far-off dream I never thought would be attainable is the NHL when I was a young kid. It's definitely beyond a dream come true because I have a chance to play in the NHL."

Murley was a second-round pick of the Penguins in the 1999 NHL draft after scoring 17 goals and 32 assists his freshman year. That is the highest spot an RPI players has ever been drafted. He completed his career with 74 goals and 101 assists. His 175 points in 11th most in school history. The 101 assists rank him 12th all-time on the school list.

Murley finished second on the team in scoring last season with 24 goals and 22 assists. He was an all-ECAC first-team selection, and was named an All-America.

The Penguins, who will play the New Jersey Devils in a preseason game Sept. 20 at Pepsi Arena, haven't told Murley whether he will begin the season in Wilkes-Barre. Murley figures that he will be starting his pro career in the AHL.

"I know most college guys end up starting off in the AHL, so I won't be disappointed at all if I do start off there," Murley said. "But I'm going into camp planning on trying to make the [NHL] team."

Murley finished his college career in grand fashion at the ECAC tournament in Lake Placid.

He scored the game-tying goal with 2:36 left in regulation in the final five play-in game against Dartmouth. Scott Basiuk scored the go-ahead goal 1:28 later, giving RPI a 2-1 victory and a berth in the semifinals against Cornell. The Engineers lost that game, 3-0.

In the consolation game against Clarkson, Murley scored twice, including the game-winner with 31.6 seconds left, and had an assist in RPI's 4-3 triumph.