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Union, RPI See Tie the Same Way

By Mike Kane

Schenectady Daily Gazette, January 11, 2003

SCHENECTADY - For almost 15 seconds, senior defenseman Randy Dagenais stood patiently and listened to the question that was far longer and much more convoluted than it needed to be.

Finally, the right words came together: Was this a good 3-3 tie or a bad 3-3 tie for your team?

Dagenais smiled and nodded his head. He realized where this was going.

In most situations, whether it's in pee wees or the pros, a tie in hockey is bad for the home team and good for the visitors. Pretty simple to understand, just like the game itself.

Yet, following their overtime tie with RPI Friday night, Dagenais and his Union College teammates didn't have to look hard, didn't have to work the spin machine, to find something good from something bad. Not after five losses in their previous six games. Not after playing a pretty solid game that could easily have produced a victory against their regional rivals.

Was it a good tie or a bad tie?

Dagenais leaned forward to make his point.

"The first thing I've got to say is, it's not a loss," he said.

Dagenais wasn't finished.

"We needed something different than a loss," he said. "This is something we can build on. It's not a win, but it's a point. It's an important point, especially against these guys, because if you look at how they play and how we play, we're probably going to end up pretty close to each other in the standings near the end of the year."

Despite their slump, the Dutchmen are still two points ahead of the Engineers in the ECAC standings. It's not hard to figure out that that means neither team is having an especially memorable season.

"Obviously, we're going to take the positives out of this one," Dagenais said. "We had 34 shots on net, the most shots we've had in a while."

No question, that was an improvement on the recent past. Union hasn't been scoring much and coach Kevin Sneddon has been urging his players to shoot more. Still, in the third period they passed up a half-dozen opportunities to put a shot on net by trying passes that produced nothing.

A few minutes before Dagenais was interviewed, in the RPI locker room on the other side of Achilles Rink, junior defenseman Scott Basiuk dealt with the same question: Was this a good tie or a bad tie for your team?

RPI reached the second game of its season series with Union in a similar situation: losses in four of its previous five games. But since the Engineers had beaten Union on Dec. 7, the tie gave them three of the possible four points.

Basiuk's take was that his team had turned in an OK game in an arena that's a tough place for visiting teams. He said RPI had some decent stretches balanced by shaky defensive moments.

"A tie is always good," he said. "We didn't gain any on them, but we didn't lose any.

"To come in here and get a point, I'd say it's a success. You're always looking for a win, but to get a point in Achilles . . ."

Basiuk paused and didn't complete the sentence. A second or two later he said it was the first time in his career at RPI that his team had earned a point at Union.

"It's a stepppingstone," he said, "for next year or the playoffs."

So it was good tie for RPI. And a reasonably good tie for Union.

"It's definitely a positive," Dagenais said. "I'm not going to take a negative out of this."