Ice Hockey

From Five, One Will Emerge

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, February 23, 2001

    From Feb. 23 through Feb. 25, five of the nation's best junior college hockey teams will battle for the 2001 NJCAA Region III Ice Hockey Championship. Skating at Hudson Valley Community College's Conway Ice Arena, there's more than a title on the line. Each of the five squads – Hudson Valley, Monroe Community College, SUNY Morrisville, Mohawk Valley Community College and Erie Community College – will be battling for bragging rights and an extended season.

    Only one team, the tournament victor, advances to the national championships, being held March 10-11 in Bottineau, North Dakota.

    Often in tournaments such as this, there is a clear favorite before the puck is dropped. In this case, one can't help but wonder how much of a home-ice advantage top seed Hudson Valley will have. As if the Vikings weren't red-hot lately anyhow.

    Throughout the course of the 2000-01 Eastern Junior College Hockey League (EJCHL) season, Morrisville looked to be the team to beat. In fact, the Mustangs carried a 16-game winning streak into a Feb. 16 matchup with Hudson Valley. But Hudson Valley, riding its own 11-game winning streak and putting together the best campaign in school history, upended the then-number-one team in the nation. The Vikings scored a 4-2 home victory and, in the process, seized the reigns of power.

    Monroe, seeded third in this tournament, then handed Morrisville its first losing streak of the season, defeating the Mustangs on Feb. 18. If anything, it appears that each of the tournament's five teams is capable of winning on any given day.

    The following is a brief look at each of the squads competing in the Region III Championship:

Number-one seed – Hudson Valley: The Vikings ride into this tournament enjoying a 12-game winning streak and the finest season in school history. With a 20-4 overall record, Hudson Valley has smashed the school record for wins in a season (the 1995-96 squad won 14 games). With 41 career victories, fourth-year head coach Ron Kuhl is the winningest coach in Hudson Valley history.
    The Vikings have defeated every team in this year's Region III Championship at least once this season.
    It's difficult to pinpoint Hudson Valley's strong point – the Vikings are capable of putting up big scores as well as keeping the puck out of their net. Freshmen forwards Jim Sturges (57 points) and Dean Vandervort (56 points) have both enjoyed phenomenal campaigns. Fellow freshman forward Michael Paine has also had a stellar year, tallying 45 points.
    Goaltenders Jason Vasco and B.J. Sheehan, meanwhile, have been solid between the pipes. Vasco has compiled an 11-3 record on the strength of a 2.32 goals against average. Sheehan has seven wins in seven starts. He sports a 2.40 goals against average.
    This is the first Region III Championship appearance for Hudson Valley.

Number-two seed – Monroe: In this, just their second season as an NJCAA Region III squad, the Tribunes posted a 16-7-1 overall record. After finishing fourth in the league last year, Monroe suffered just three EJCHL losses during the 2000-01 regular season.
    This is the second consecutive time Monroe has qualified for the Region III Championship. The Tribunes were 1-2 in post-season play last year (unlike this year's version, the 2000 tournament was conducted with a round-robin format).
    Second-year forward Derek Goula led Monroe with 41 points (14 goals and 27 assists) this season. Tommy Maier, a 6-foot-2 second-year forward, was the team's top goal scorer. He knocked in 17 scores and added 22 assists.
    At just 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, Marty Chinappi has been solid between the pipes for Monroe. The freshman goaltender posted a 9-5-1 record and allowed 2.57 scores per contest.
    The Tribunes wrapped up the regular season with a 4-2 decision against Morrisville, whom they face in game three of the Region III Championship. In two meetings with Morrisville this season, Monroe came out on top twice.

Number-three seed – Morrisville: The Mustangs are only in their fourth season as a varsity hockey team, but they have qualified for the Region III Championship for three consecutive years now. Morrisville won last year's tournament, advancing to the national championships.

    Riding the strength of a 16-game winning streak (the longest in school history), the Mustangs posted a 22-3 regular-season record in 2000-01. Head coach Earl Utter, the only hockey coach Morrisville has had, has a 62-30-5 career record.

    Utter stresses defense and strong fore-checking, but the Mustangs have managed to find the back of the net much more often than opponents. Morrisville scored 172 goals during the regular season, while allowing just 41 scores.
    Forwards Adam Winslow and Kevin Morse, who have each contributed 50 points, lead Morrisville's balanced scoring attack. Morse, a freshman, has scored 27 goals.
    Steve Thering and Shea Maliszewski have split the goaltending duties, posting similar numbers. Thering, who stands 6-foot-1, is 7-2 with a 1.60 goals against average. The 5-foot-11 Maliszewski is 7-1 with a 2.20 goals against average.
    The Mustangs start their Region III Championship play by facing Monroe in game three. This promises to be a good matchup; two of Morrisville's three losses this year came at the hands of Monroe. Both were close games, with one going into overtime.

Number-four seed – Mohawk Valley: The Hawks are competing in the Region III Championship for the third time in four years. This year, Mohawk Valley brings a 14-11 overall mark to the tournament. Mohawk Valley is 9-7 in EJCHL play.
    Fourth-year head coach Mark Giruzzi, who has amassed a 58-39-4 career record, leads the Hawks.
    Second-year forward Sylvain Favreau scored a team-high 35 points through 15 games. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder tallied 15 goals and 20 assists. Tim Dippel (11 goals) and Brian Reese (10 goals) also provided the Hawks with a scoring threat. Justin Ruddy racked up 21 points without collecting a single penalty minute. Josh Powers (26 points) and Petter Giving (25 points) were the only other Mohawk Valley players who accumulated more than 20 points.

    Ontario's Jamie Smith, who stands just 5-foot-7 and weighs 170 pounds, posted a 9-6 record in goal through 15 games, allowing 3.9 scores per contest.

    Mohawk Valley began the 2000-01 campaign with a 4-3 victory against Monroe. They face Erie, a team they were 1-1 against this season, in the opening round of the Region III Championship.

Number-five seed – Erie: The Kats posted a 13-9-2 overall record in 2000-01. They were 8-7-1 in EJCHL play.

    Erie will open up the Region III Championship with a contest against Mohawk Valley, a team they were 1-1 against this season. After dropping a 4-2 game to Mohawk Valley early in the year, Erie rebounded to score an 8-4 home win against the Hawks on Feb. 10.

    Ralph J. Galanti, who is in his 23rd year at the helm, coaches Erie. The Kats have made eight national championship appearances.

    Offensively, 5-foot-11 forward Scott Glinski leads this year's club. Through 23 games, Glinski scored 12 goals and a team-high 27 points. He was followed by Kevin Shields (21 points), Charles Hall (13 goals and 21 points) and Matthew Landahl (20 points). Matthew McCabe also notched 12 goals.

    Three goalies – Russell Muff, Thomas Glenn and Chris Wittmeyer – saw substantial ice time for Erie this season, although none posted a goals against average of less than 4.10. Wittmeyer led the way with 687 minutes in net. He stopped 82 percent of the shots he faced. Muff played 334 minutes and turned aside 87 percent of the shots he faced.

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.