Ice Hockey

Six Hudson Valley Skaters Earn All-American Status

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, April 12, 2001

Four Capital Region Natives Among Those Honored

Six players from Hudson Valley Community College's 2001 national junior college championship team were rewarded with All-American status today. Michael Paine (Saratoga Springs), Phil Usas (Saratoga Springs) and Jason Vasco (CBA) earned First Team All-American honors. Kevin Graber (Troy), Jim Sturges (East Hampton, M.A.) and Dean Vandervort (North Burlington, N.J.) earned Second Team All-American status.

Hudson Valley, a varsity hockey program since 1993, captured its first national title by defeating Minot State University-Bottineau 9-7 in Bottineau, N.D. on March 11. The Vikings, who finished the season with a 16-game winning streak, finished with a 24-4 record and suffered just two junior college losses during the 2000-01 campaign.

Paine, one of six Hudson Valley players who also skated for Saratoga's 1999 state championship team, was third on the team with 53 points. A 5-foot-9, 185-pound freshman, he had 26 goals and 27 assists. The right winger contributed a pair of goals and five assists during the March 11 contest against Bottineau.

Usas, another Hudson Valley skater who played for Saratoga in 1999, finished with 26 points this season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound defenseman, a second-year player, scored Hudson Valley's second goal during their 9-7 victory against Bottineau. He had eight goals and 18 assists on the season.

Vasco, the Region III Player of the Year, recorded 46 saves during the championship game on March 11. A Clifton Park native, Vasco finished the season with a 14-3 record and a 2.78 goals against average. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound freshman stopped 90.2 percent of the shots he faced and played a team-high 900 minutes.

Graber, a second-year defenseman who also played football for Troy's 1996 state championship team, picked up 19 points this season. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Physical Education major, had six goals and 13 assists. He scored Hudson Valley's third goal against Bottineau on March 11.

Sturges led the nation in scoring among junior college players, tallying 66 points in 28 games. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound freshman left winger scored a team-high 34 goals and added 32 assists. Sturges, who ranks among the top ten scorers in Massachusetts high school hockey history, netted a pair of goals in Hudson Valley's 9-7 victory against Bottineau.

Vandervort, the Most Valuable Player at the national championship tournament, was second in the nation in scoring among junior college players. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound center contributed 63 points, including 29 goals. A freshman, he scored Hudson Valley's first goal in the March 11 defeat of Bottineau.

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 Community College has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.