Ice Hockey

Vikings Earn Top Seed For 2001 NJCAA Region III Ice Hockey Championship

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, February 19, 2001

Solid Recruiting Class Helps Hudson Valley's
Hockey Team To First 20-Win Season

     Seedings were announced today for the 2001 NJCAA Region III Ice Hockey Championship, which is being held at Hudson Valley Community College February 23-25. Host school Hudson Valley, riding a 12-game winning streak, garnered the tournament's top seed.

     The Vikings (20-4) earned the top spot in the five-team, single-elimination tournament with a 4-2 victory against SUNY Morrisville on Feb. 16. At the time, Morrisville was ranked first in the nation among junior college hockey squads. Hudson Valley was the number-two team.

     Morrisville (22-3) received the third seed for the Region III Championship. Monroe Community College (16-7-1) is seeded second; Mohawk Valley Community College (14-10) is fourth; and Erie Community College (13-9-2) is fifth. The overall tournament winner advances to the national championships, being held March 9-11 in Bottineau, North Dakota.
     Hudson Valley's hockey team has experienced unprecedented success this season. With 20 wins, the Vikings have easily surpassed the college's old standard for victories in a season (the 1995-96 squad won 14 games). Hudson Valley also has nearly rivaled its win total in head coach Ron Kuhl's previous three seasons (21). Kuhl currently has 41 career triumphs, the most of any Hudson Valley hockey coach.

     "This has been a great campaign," said Kuhl, who is in the fourth year of a five-year plan for success. "Obviously, we're a little bit ahead of schedule with the five-year plan."

     Hudson Valley's climb, with Kuhl at the wheel, has been a steady one.

    In Kuhl's first season, 1997-98, the Vikings picked up just two wins. The next year, Hudson Valley came out on top eight times. And then, in 1999-2000, Kuhl had a breakthrough, posting an 11-11 record.
    "Hitting .500 really helped this program," Kuhl said. "Kids that might not have considered playing for us two or three years ago are now giving us a good look. We're getting respect."
    How does Kuhl explain Hudson Valley's 20-4 record this season?
    "It starts before the puck drops," Kuhl said. "This year is largely the result of two years of recruiting. We have to go out and find good players who, for whatever reasons, are being overlooked by four-year schools."
    So Kuhl has combed the Capital District and beyond. It's been a fruitful search, resulting in players like Jason Vasco (CBA), Jim Sturges (East Hampton, MA) and Dean Vandervort (Northern Burlington, NJ) donning Hudson Valley's white and green. Kuhl also has used his youth hockey connections to land six athletes – Mike Paine, Chris Paine, Adam Finkin, Phil Usas, Kyle Reddon and Mike Santamoor – from Saratoga High School's 1999 state championship team.
    "These kids are the difference between winning and losing," Kuhl said. "Not one of the players that are contributing is truly a walk-on. We went out and got these kids for one specific reason: they know how to win."

2001 NJCAA Region III Ice Hockey Championship

Tournament Format

The 2001 Region III Championship is a single-elimination tournament featuring five teams. The higher seed will be designated as the home team for each contest. The overall tournament winner advances to the national championships, being held March 9-11 in Bottineau, North Dakota. Seeding for the 2001 Region III Championship was determined using the following criteria:

1. Standing in the Eastern Junior College Hockey League (EJCHL).
2. Head-to-head competition.
3. Most league victories.
4. Head-to-head competition against teams ranked above your team's standing.
5. Goal differential in head-to-head competition.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Goal differential against other mutual teams.
8. Flip of a coin.

Participating Teams

#1 seed – Hudson Valley Community College (20-4-0 overall, 16-2-0 EJCHL)
#2 seed – Monroe Community College (16-7-1 overall, 13-3-0 EJCHL)
#3 seed – SUNY Morrisville (22-3-0 overall, 14-3-0 EJCHL)
#4 seed – Mohawk Valley Community College (14-10-0 overall, 9-7-0 EJCHL)
#5 seed – Erie Community College (13-9-2 overall, 8-7-1 EJCHL)

Tournament Schedule

Game 1:   Friday, February 23, 2001
                3:30 p.m. on ice; 4 p.m. game
                Mohawk Valley vs. Erie

Game 2:  Saturday, February 24, 2001
               2:30 p.m. on ice; 3 p.m. game
               Hudson Valley vs. winner of Game 1

Game 3:  Saturday, February 24, 2001
               5:30 p.m. on ice; 6 p.m. game
               Monroe vs. SUNY Morrisville

Championship Game: Sunday, February 25, 2001
                                 11:30 a.m. on ice; noon game
                                 Winner of Game 2 vs. winner of Game 3

    Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.