A Recap: 1999-2000 - Full Steam Ahead
The 1999-2000 Hudson Valley Community College hockey campaign marked the second consecutive year of progress under Ron Kuhl. After taking over a depleted program in 1997, Kuhl led the Vikings to just two wins in his first season as head coach. Hudson Valley picked up the pace in 1998-99, winning eight games. And last season Kuhl guided the Vikings to an 11-11 mark.
"Man, that felt good," Kuhl said. "The program is clearly on its way."
Perhaps more important than posting a .500 record, Hudson Valley began 1999-2000 with a five-game winning streak. Among those victories was a convincing 6-3 victory against the defending NJCAA Division III champions. That win was sparked by second-year player Mike Ricupero's (Shenendehowa) hat trick and freshman Josh Gela's (Hoosic Valley) 33 saves.
"We proved that we can play with the best," Kuhl said. "To start off 5-0 after two years of being brow-beaten and losing games was phenomenal. It was a great step in the right direction for our program. The kids were excited, the school was excited, and that was just a very quick flash of what I've been striving for. This program is finally on track in my overall scheme. That was just a momentary flash of what is yet to come."
However, Kuhl then felt the sting of injuries, which affected (among others) starters Seth Reynolds, George Nicholas and Brendan Murphy.
"The season is a marathon, not a sprint," Kuhl said. "We learned that firsthand."
After getting out of the gate in a hurry, the Vikings hit a few roadblocks, dropping several tight games, but Kuhl's players still gutted out the first .500 season in his tenure.
"It was nice to reap a little bit of the benefit of two years worth of hard work and disappointment," Kuhl said. "I'm positive that we're headed in the right direction."