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
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
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
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
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
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
5. Goal differential in head-to-head competition.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Goal differential against other mutual teams.
8. Flip of a coin.
#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)
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.