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Those who remember former Florida Panthers winger Richard Zednik’s or Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk’s infamous injuries – and believe me, if you saw them you’d never forget – shudder to recall them. The 1,133 at Alabama-Huntsville’s Von Braun center Thursday night may have similar nightmares now, after Rensselaer freshman Brock Higgs required emergency surgery to repair a severe slice to his neck.

In a play reminiscent of Zednik’s crisis, teammate Chase Polacek’s skate was the one to do the damage when Polacek was tripped up as Higgs skated by in the second period of RPI’s 2-1 win. As head coach Seth Appert told Schenectady Daily Gazette’s Ken Schott this morning:

“He had a pretty good skate to the net, and a pretty long gash that opened him up. It hit a couple veins that, certainly, where he lost a lot of blood. He almost needed a transfusion. But it did not hit the jugular or carotid artery. That’s a positive.”

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in hockey, no question about it. You see blood squirting out of your player’s neck through his hand as he was coming to bench, it was scary. [RPI trainer] Chris Thompson did a great job. He was very calm and professional, and got the towel on it immediately. The Huntsville people did a good job. That’s where you feel fortunate to have qualified people with you and around you that can help you take care of those situations.”

Higgs is set to be released from the hospital later today, and should be free to fly back to Troy with the rest of the team tomorrow. In 17 games, Higgs has accumulated three goals and seven assists.