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Marsters' Junior Season Has Gotten Off to a Bumpy Start

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, November 27, 2002

It has been a strange season so far for Rensselaer goalie Nathan Marsters.

In the first two months, the junior was injured, benched and sick. And between those setbacks, he's played fairly well, with a 3.00 goals-against average.

Marsters improved his record to 3-2 after making 20 saves in the Engineers' 5-3 win over Mercyhurst at Houston Field House on Saturday.

He admitted that it wasn't one of his better efforts. Then again, he had missed three days of practice due to illness after contracting the flu and strep throat during the Yale/Princeton trip the previous weekend. That caused him to miss the start against Princeton.

"I feel pretty good," Marsters said after the game. "I was a little sick all week. My concentration wasn't what it usually is, but our team played so well that I could get away with it. Two of the goals I easily should have had."

Marsters' illness capped a bizarre start to his season.

Establishing himself as RPI's top goalie after leading the team to the ECAC tournament final five and a semifinal berth, Marsters suffered a hip pointer during preseason practice. He then split starts with Kevin Kurk.

Then came the last weekend in October.

When the Engineers faced Iona on Oct. 26 at the field house, Marsters didn't dress for the game. When asked why Marsters wasn't in uniform, RPI coach Dan Fridgen would say only that it was "a coach's decision." He didn't elaborate any further on the situation that night.

Marsters was also scratched the next night at Army.

Marsters, who has a 32-24-4 record and a 2.51 goals-against average during his RPI career, didn't elaborate on it, either, after Saturday's game.

"I went down to the Bahamas," Marsters jokingly said about his two games off. "I'm just trying to work hard every day in practice. When I get in there, I've got to bring my game and make sure to get the 'W.' I'm not worried about this and that because it will eat you up."

Fridgen said whatever problems there were between the two have been resolved.

"Sometimes that time off rejuvenates you," Fridgen said. "We knew we had to get him into a game. He felt fine. He looked fine. I thought he was really, really fresh, considering the fact that he had taken that time to rest up."

Basiuk returns

RPI defenseman Scott Basiuk will be back in the lineup Friday when the Engineers face Brown in Providence, R.I.

Basiuk cut his right hand with his skate as he tried to protect himself sliding into the boards in the first period of an Oct. 18 game against UMass-Lowell. He missed the last 10 games.

Good debut

Fridgen was pleased with the play of freshman forward Kirk MacDonald, who was making his RPI debut. MacDonald missed the first 12 games of the season with a virus.

MacDonald, who came to RPI from the Victoria Salsa of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, played a regular shift on right wing with center Conrad Barnes and left wing Mark Yurkewecz. He also saw time on the power play.

"I thought he played real well," Fridgen said. "I thought he did a fantastic job, and is doing a fantastic job ... of keeping in shape while not in the lineup. I asked him in the third period how he's feeling, and he said he felt great. He's got some game-legs under him, and I thought that was important going into an important weekend with Brown and Harvard."

MacDonald had 27 goals and 23 assists for the Salsa last year.

Barr loses assist

When RPI forward Ben Barr left Houston Field House following the victory over Mercyhurst, he had his second career three-point game.

On Sunday, he didn't.

An assist he was credited with on Mikael Hammarstrom's first-period power-play goal was taken away from him and given to Vic Pereira.

A replay of the goal showed that after Brad Farynuk's left-point shot was stopped by Mercyhurst goalie Matt Cifelli, the puck caromed off Pereira's body and bounced over to Hammarstrom on the right side.

Still, the two-goal game was the first of Barr's collegiate career.

Easy shutout

Union freshman Kris Mayotte couldn't have asked for an easier way to earn his first career shutout.

Mayotte faced just 15 shots in Sunday's 8-0 romp over Connecticut. He only saw two shots in the third period.

"It was easy night once again," Mayotte jokingly said after improving his record to 5-0-1. "It seems like every time I come up here [to the postgame media area], I don't have much to talk about."

Mayotte lowered his goals-against average to 2.42.

Around the ECAC

  • Saturday was penalty night in three games.

    There were 27 penalties whistled for 92 minutes in the Brown-Cornell matchup. There were four 10-minute misconducts issued, along with two five-minute majors for stick fouls. Things got so bad that referee John Melanson ordered the teams off the ice at the conclusion of the game, foregoing the postgame handshakes. Cornell won, 5-0.

    In Harvard's 7-1 romp at Colgate, there were 24 penalties called for 65 minutes. The Crimson's Brett Nowak was given a game disqualification for spearing. He was suspended for Tuesday's contest against Boston University.

    The Mercyhurst-RPI game saw 22 penalties called for 68 minutes. There were three 10-minute misconducts issued. RPI's Nolan Graham was called for two delay-of-game penalties in the second period.

  • Yale's Evan Wax turned in the performance of the weekend. Wax scored four goals Saturday, rallying the Bulldogs from a 4-1 deficit to beat Vermont, 5-4. Wax, who had two assists in a 5-4 loss at Dartmouth the night before, was named ECAC player of the week.
  • Cornell goalie David LeNeveu earned the shutout against Brown. It was his third of the season. He was named ECAC goalie of the week.
  • Brown was also blanked, 3-0, by Colgate on Friday. It is the first time the Bears have been shut out in back-to-back games since the last weekend of the 1960-61 season.
  • Colgate had just one shot on goal in the third period against Brown. Scooter Smith scored on it.
  • Mike McCourt, who was serving as a volunteer assistant coach for Clarkson, was promoted to a full-time assistant with the Golden Knights on Monday.

Around the nation

  • The top two teams in the country met last Tuesday, and No. 2 New Hampshire came out on top of No. 1 Boston College, 3-2, in overtime. Sean Collins scored the game-winning goal with 1:26 to go in the extra period.
  • Despite the loss, BC held on to the top spot in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey poll. The Eagles received 11 first-place votes and 541 points. North Dakota got nine first-place votes, and is the new No. 2 team with 526 points. New Hampshire, which lost at Maine on Friday and beat Massachusetts on Sunday, slipped to third with 518 points, even though it received 10 first-place votes. Also receiving first-place votes were No. 4 Maine (seven), No. 5 Denver (two) and No. 6 Colorado College (one).
  • The WCHA suspended Denver forward Max Bull for two games for what the conference deemed questionable plays in recent games against Minnesota-Duluth and Michigan Tech. A knee-to-knee hit broke Minnesota-Duluth forward Jesse Unklesbay's left tibia Nov. 9. A week later, Bull was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking Michigan Tech forward Bryan Perez. Bull plans to appeal the suspension.
  • Army beat Quinnipiac, 3-1, Friday in a MAAC game that saw the two teams combine for 100 shots on goal. Quinnipiac had 54 shots, including 45 over the final two periods.