College hockey: Union’s Cain granted red-shirt

Union forward Luke Cain granted an NCAA red-shirt after breaking his leg early in the hockey season.
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Luke Cain’s first season with the Union men’s hockey team ended with a nasty broken right tibia in a Nov. 9 game at Dartmouth.

But the Dutchmen forward will get a chance to make up for that lost year, thanks to the NCAA. It recently approved a medical redshirt for Cain, meaning he has four years of eligibility.

“I’m very happy about the med­ical redshirt,” Cain said. “Losing an entire season by playing in only seven games would have been disappointing. Knowing I am going into my first year of eligibility will let me develop fully, knowing that I still have four years left.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Cain had two goals and one assist when his season came to a sudden halt in just his seventh game of the season. He fell awkwardly into the left-wing boards in the Dartmouth zone. His right foot was bent at a 90-degree angle.

“He’s back skating again,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “He’s been skating for about 3 1/2 weeks, which has been terrific. He plans to train all summer in Boston, which is going to be equally beneficial for him. He’s a terrific kid. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy work as hard as I saw Luke to get back from an injury.

“Behind the scenes, it was good for a lot of the other guys to see it as well because after practice, we’d come into the workout area, and he’d just be pouring with sweat from the rehab exercises he was doing.”

Cain wasn’t idle during his recovery time. He did well in the classroom his second trimester, earning a 3.9 grade-point average.

“While I was on crutches, I would take twice as long to get anywhere on campus, so that was hard,” Cain said. “Where I had extra time was on weekends. I did not have to prepare myself for games, and there were some road trips that I did not attend because I did not want to miss class. With the extra time there, I got all my readings and homework done. I always either listened or went to the games, so there was not that much extra time.”

Cain also observe the nuances of the game. What he saw opened his eyes.

“I learned that there are many small aspects of the game that need to be executed correctly in order to win — finishing hits, blocking shots, stopping and starting, etc,” Cain said. “These are things that coaches preach, and many times, players feel that they are not as important as the coaches make them out to be. However, when you watch almost an entire season, you see that when the team does them, there is a great chance to win, and when they don’t, winning is not likely.

“I have always felt these things important but now I have an even greater respect for them. So my perspective has changed minimally, but for the better.”

Cain said the leg doesn’t hurt anymore.

“There is still some stiffness in there after a tough workout, and the flexibility is still not quite at 100 percent,” Cain said. “There are many things that I feel are at 100 percent, and some that are close. I have started skating again, and although the first few times I was very shaky on the ice, from the third skate on, I felt very comfortable and stable with each skate being better than the one before.”

NEW COACH

Leaman will have a volunteer assistant coach this season.

Pete Cotier, who graduated from Union and 1990 and played for the Dutchmen during their Division III days, has joined the staff.

LORD HONORED

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute forward Andrew Lord was named to the 2008 CoSIDA/ESPN the Mag­azine Academic All-America Men’s At-Large First Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America announced Tuesday.

Lord, who graduated last month and a 3.99 grade-point average, is one of 15 student-athletes and only one of two hockey players named to the first team in the university div­ision. Jeff Lerg of Michigan State is the only other hockey player named first team.

RULES INITIATIVES

The NCAA ice hockey rules committee approved the use of the two-referee, two-linesmen system to officiate games at all levels of college hockey beginning this season, the NCAA announced June 6.

“The committee strongly believes that having one officiating system for all levels of college hockey is the right decision,” said John Harrington, secretary-editor of the committee and head coach at St. John’s (Minn.) University. “In

today’s game, two referees and two linesmen are necessary to properly enforce our rules.”

Four other initiatives have been submitted to the playing rules oversight panel, which will vote on them when its meets July 2.

The main issue deals with goals that go off skates. The committee made adjustments to its rules that will allow all goals scored as a result of deflections. This will include deflections off an attacking player who is in the act of stopping, provided neither skate is used to direct the puck into the net. Pucks that are directed or kicked with the skate moving toward the goal will not be allowed.

Shootouts won’t be coming to the NCAA. However, the committee will allow interested conferences to use shootouts at their discretion. It won’t alter national rankings or the NCAA championship selection process.

The NCAA wants to adopt the NHL icing rule, where teams that ice the puck can’t change lines.

Finally, all faceoffs will be conducted at one of the nine faceoff spots starting this season.

COACHING NEWS

Dartmouth assistant coach Dave Peters was promoted to associated head coach by head coach Bob Gaudet.

“I am pleased to recognize Dave for the outstanding job he’s done here at Dartmouth. Dave is universally respected in college hockey circles and is well-deserving of his new title,” Gaudet said. “Both he and fellow assistant, Brendan Whittet, do a tremendous job in terms of their partnership, coaching and recruiting. They are a huge part of our program, and I feel our success is due in large part to their hard work.”

Danny Brooks left his job as assistant coach of Brown to take the same position with Drummondville of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“I’ve enjoyed my 11 years in college hockey,” Brooks said. “They all provided something different. But this came along, and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s a new experience, a new challenge for me as a coach. It’s something different and I’m excited.”

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