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RPI's Marsters Stymies Union

Goaltender Regains Form in 2-1 Victory

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, March 8, 2003

SCHENECTADY - It has been a miserable season for Rensselaer junior goalie Nathan Marsters.

He was hurt when practice began last September, got a two-day "vacation" from coach Dan Fridgen in late October to clear his head and had a rough season trying to find his confidence in net.

But Marsters may have found that confidence just in time. He was spectacular against sixth-seeded Union on Friday, making 37 saves and leading 11th-seeded RPI to a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of their ECAC tournament series before 2,516 fans at Achilles Rink.

RPI (11-23-3), which was outshot, 38-16, takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. The Eng- ineers can wrap up the series tonight at 7 at Achilles Rink. If necessary, Game 3 will be played at 7 p.m. Sunday at Achilles.

In his first two seasons, Marsters posted a 29-22-4 record and a 2.47 goals-against average, but this year, he was 5-13-1 with a 3.61 GAA.

"It's been a process," Marsters said. "I'd come back and have a good game, and then a bad one. I struggled a lot with my confidence this year. The last couple of games of the season, I felt like it was coming, but I couldn't put a whole 60 [minutes] together. The last game of the season against Vermont, I felt that I had a pretty good game."

Fridgen was pleased with Marsters' effort.

"I thought he played really well for us," Fridgen said. "I thought he made some big saves at key times. That's why we had him in there. It's been a confidence builder for him."

There is no doubt Marsters will be starting tonight, because junior goalie Kevin Kurk didn't dress for the game. Fridgen called it a coach's decision.

Marsters' best save came with 7:29 left in the game and Union, down by a goal, on the power play.

Joel Beal was in the left-wing circle when he took a cross-ice pass from Nathan Gillies. Marsters was down without his stick or catching glove. The left side of the net was open.

"I saw him have the open net there," Marsters said. "I was waiting for him to shoot it and kind of react to it."

Beal shot it into Marsters, who covered up the puck for the whistle. Beal skated away with his head down.

"I saw there were about three guys lying on the crease," Beal said. "When I looked up, there were two more guys coming out at me. I don't know if it was much of a save. I shot it into his chest."

Union (14-17-4) has a 110-54 shot advantage in the last three games, but have a 1-2 record to show for it.

"I'd be more worried if we weren't getting scoring opportunities," Union coach Kevin Sneddon said.

The Engineers broke a scoreless tie in the second period with two goals. Both times, the RPI players got behind the defense and had breakaways.

Vic Pereira scored the first one at 7:21, sliding a shot under a diving goalie Kris Mayotte. Kevin Croxton got the next one on the power play at 10:50, flipping a shot over Mayotte's glove.

"We got a little overanxious on the forecheck on their first goal," Sneddon said. "We had three forwards that were caught deep, and our defenseman made a poor decision and pinched. On the short-handed situation, Croxton made a great play. He got in behind our defenseman. I don't think our defenseman had any idea that he was behind him."

Chris Konnick scored Union's goal at 6:40 on a fluke play. Max Seel's backhander hit off Carson Butterwick, and then the post before sliding into the crease. Konnick fired it in.