Three months ago, Union freshman forward Luke Cain was lying on the ice at Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena, his right foot bent at an unnatural angle.
He broke his tibia falling into the boards as he was being checked midway through the third period of the Dutchmen’s 4-0 loss to the Big Green. The season for Cain, who was among the team’s top scorers at the time and was expected to be one of Union’s best freshmen, was over.
He had an operation to repair the damage. A plate, screws and a pin were inserted to help stabilize the tibia. Now, the pin will come out in another operation on Monday.
Once the pin is removed, Cain, who has been on crutches since the Nov. 9 injury, will then be able to begin extensive rehab. He can also start walking again.
Cain, who had two goals and an assist in seven games, has been
doing light rehab.
“I’ve been riding the bike and swimming,” Cain said. “With my bad leg and for the rest of my body, it’s a good workout.”
The remarkable thing about the injury was the way Cain remained calm during the time he was lying on the ice.
“My body went into a bit of shock,” Cain said. “My family’s been through a few pretty bad
injuries. They’ve dealt with it pretty well.”
Cain said one of his sisters broke her back playing hockey.
“She actually played three games after she broke it,” Cain said. “She was in a tournament away from home. She didn’t tell anyone her back hurt until she got home.”
Not being able to play, especially now with the Dutchmen on an 8-1-1 roll, has been tough on Cain, who had 40 goals and 45 assists last season for the British Columbia Junior Hockey League’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. He is trying to make the best of it, though.
“You never really want to be sitting in the crowd and watch the guys every night when you can’t help out,” Cain said. “But it’s nice that we’re winning. I try to keep the boys loose as much as I can.”
Cain is hoping to do some light skating within a month. He expects to be ready for preseason practices in the fall. He has applied to the NCAA for a medical redshirt, which means he will have four years of eligibility. A decision on whether Cain will be granted an extra year of eligibility will be made at the end of the season.
“He’s just a different presence,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “A 6-foot-3 forward with very good hands around the net, and he skates very well and provides a physical element for us. He’s a guy who can play very well in traffic. He’s
going to have to work his tail off this summer to get the strength back up, to get his timing back and to just develop his skills a little bit so, hopefully, he can come in with that seven-game experience.”
Union and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will tentatively open the 2008-09 ECAC Hockey schedule with four straight home games.
The Dutchmen will host Dartmouth, while the Engineers take on Harvard, on Nov. 7. The next night, Harvard will be at Union, and RPI hosts Dartmouth. The following weekend, Princeton and Quinnipiac come to the area.
The first road trip for the Dutchmen and Engineers will be to Brown and Yale Dec. 5-6.
The Union-RPI games are expected to be played Feb. 6-7.
Here is a look at the ECACH schedule, minus the Union-RPI games, for both teams. It is subject to change.
Home games in CAPS
All games start at 7
Nov. 7 — DARTMOUTH; Nov. 8 — HARVARD; Nov. 14 — QUINNIPIAC; Nov. 15 — PRINCETON; Dec. 5 — at Brown;
Dec. 6 — at Yale; Jan. 9 — at Princeton;
Jan. 10 — at Quinnipiac; Jan. 16 — CORNELL; Jan. 17 — COLGATE; Jan. 23 — at Clarkson; Jan. 24 — at St. Lawrence; Jan. 30 — at Harvard; Jan. 31 — at Dartmouth; Feb. 13 — YALE; Feb. 14 — BROWN; Feb. 20
— at Colgate; Feb. 21 — at Cornell; Feb. 27 —
ST. LAWRENCE; Feb. 28 — CLARKSON.
Nov. 7 — HARVARD; Nov. 8 — DARTMOUTH; Nov. 14 — PRINCETON; Nov. 15 — QUINNIPIAC; Dec. 5 — at Yale; Dec. 6 — at Brown; Jan. 9 — at Quinnipiac; Jan. 10 — at Princeton; Jan. 16 — COLGATE; Jan. 17 — CORNELL; Jan. 23 — at St. Lawrence; Jan. 24 — at Clarkson; Jan. 30 — at Dartmouth; Jan. 31 — at Harvard; Feb. 13 — BROWN; Feb. 14 — YALE; Feb. 20 — at Cornell; Feb. 21 — at Colgate; Feb. 27 — CLARKSON; Feb. 28 —
Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region performed over the past week.
u Boston University senior forward Pete MacArthur (Clifton Park) picked up an assist in the Terriers’ 4-1 victory over Merrimack last Friday. He scored a power-play goal in BU’s 4-3 overtime loss to Boston College in Monday’s Beanpot semifinal.
u Quinnipiac sophomore forward Mike Atkinson (Kinderhook) assisted on the first of Eric Lampe’s three goals in the Bobcats’ 3-2 win over RPI last Friday .
u RPI sophomore defenseman Laura Gersten (Queensbury) had an assist in the Engineers’ 4-3 overtime setback last Friday to Princeton. She had another assist Saturday as RPI beat Quinnipiac, 4-0.
Voting for the players in the 2008 Frozen Four Skills Challenge is underway at www.NCAA.com.
Fans will be able to select six position players and two goalies for each gender for the East and West teams.
RPI forward Jake Morissette is one of eight ECAC Hockey players on the ballot. The others are Clarkson forward Steve Zalewski and goalie David Leggio, Colgate forwards Tyler Burton and Jesse Winchester and goalie Mark Dekanich, Cornell forward Topher Scott and Yale forward Will Engasser.
MacArthur, BU’s leading scorer with 11 goals and 20 assists, is also on the list.
For the women, RPI’s Brooke Thompson is a candidate.
Sixteen spots are up for grabs. Voting concludes Feb. 14.
Union bus trip
The Garnet Blades is sponsoring a bus trip to see Union play at Colgate next Saturday.
The cost is $30, which includes a ticket for the game. The bus will leave Messa Rink at 3 p.m., and return after the game. Registration will take place tonight and Saturday at Messa.
For more information, call 388-6288, or send an e-mail to [email protected]