Ice Hockey

Vikings Preparing To Fight For Region III Title

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Hudson Valley Community College's Hockey Team Earns
Top Seed Despite Having Just Two Second-Year Players

     Sure, Jason Vasco (CBA) has posted a sparkling 2.10 goals against average this season. Yeah, Jim Sturges (East Hampton, MA) and Dean Vandervort (Northern Burlington, NJ) have racked up points like an ambidextrous kid at a pinball machine. And, make no mistake about it, this season's Hudson Valley hockey team has been extremely impressive.

    The 2000-01 Vikings have earned a number-two national ranking; they've defeated the number-one team in the nation; they won 12 consecutive games to close out the regular season; they posted a 20-4 regular-season record; and they've claimed the number-one seed in the NJCAA Region Ice Hockey Championship.

    But there's more to the story behind Hudson Valley's meteoric rise (the Vikings were 11-11 last season). Hudson Valley is building a winning tradition that is drawing more talented players than ever before, but fourth-year head coach Ron Kuhl has no plans to forget about the past.

    "Finally getting to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III hockey tournament means there's been a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment from a lot of players who endured three very, very emotional and difficult seasons to get to this point," said Kuhl, whose team has qualified for post-season play for the first time since gaining varsity status in 1993. "I can remember a four-hour bus ride where we played a game, got beat 15-0, got on the bus and drove all the way home, and got home at 4 o'clock in the morning. And we only had like nine or 10 skaters. From there to here, it's an unbelievable journey."

    Only two current Vikings – defenseman Kevin Graber (Troy) and forward Michael Griffiths (Bethlehem) – played for Hudson Valley last season, Kuhl's first non-losing campaign.

    "For those two kids to be a part of this, they kind of carry the torch for all the kids that missed it," Kuhl said. "They're the only two who can understand how last season went, how hot we started off…" – Hudson Valley won its first five game in 1999-2000 – "…and how we struggled down the stretch and missed the playoffs. So from the disappointment of that to this, it's going to be a tremendous feeling for those two guys."

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 10-11 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.