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RPI's Basiuk Eager to Win vs. Union

Injury Nearly Cost Junior Chance to End 0-2-2 Hex

By Matt Graves

Albany Times Union, December 6, 2002

TROY - A freak injury nearly kept RPI defenseman Scott Basiuk from chasing a goal he has been unable to reach through his first two seasons with the Engineers - beating Union.

The junior from Saskatchewan has played in four games against the dreaded Dutchmen without a victory to show for it. And after the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder suffered a deep cut on his right wrist from his own skate in the first home game of the season, he wasn't even sure he'd get another crack at Union this season.

"We need to beat them," said Basiuk, who missed 10 games before returning last week. "It's our biggest game of the year so far. We haven't beaten them yet (0-2-2). I honestly don't know why. We approach it like every other game. We have to end that 0-for-4. I think the guys understand that, too."

But for an inch or two one way or another, Basiuk might be sitting in the stands when the two teams face off Saturday in Troy. Former RPI star Eric Healey nearly saw his pro career end when an opponent cut his arm with a skate a few years ago.

"The puck was in the corner and I went to go get it," Basiuk said, recalling the mishap. "The kid from Lowell lifted my stick and I kind of fell because it got me off balance. I was going headfirst into the boards, and the first thing I thought was I don't want to go headfirst into the boards, so I kind of tried to flip around. Then I thought of my knees, so I put my hands out to to try break my fall. I just went in like a pretzel and my skate went right down underneath inside my glove and got my hand."

It didn't look like a serious injury when Basiuk went to the dressing room, but he did not return for nearly six weeks.

"It (the skate blade) slid right down and cut the (wrist) joint and the muscles and stuff," Basiuk said. "Nothing too serious. I heard a kid from Merrimack did the same thing, except his was worse. He cut a couple nerves and he's out for months."

Basiuk was naturally apprehensive when he returned to action last weekend at Brown, but the injury seems to be fully healed.

"Last weekend was a real surprise for me," he said. "I felt better than I thought I was gonna feel. No problems with anything - shooting wasn't a problem, hitting, everything was good. It was nice to be back and on the road trip with the guys, even though we couldn't pull one out over Harvard."

But coach Dan Fridgen was happy to have some extra help in the defensive zone. Basiuk had played in 61 games his first two years with RPI.

"He's just getting back into it, so time is going to be a factor there," Fridgen said. "He did a real good job of staying in shape. It certainly gives us more experience back on defense."

Gillies two much: Union forward Nathan Gillies established a team record by scoring two short-handed goals in the same game last weekend against Brown.

Gillies is only the fourth Union player ever to score two short-handed goals in ECAC action. The record for most man-down goals by a Union player in a season is four by Chris Albert in 1994-95.