Ice Hockey

Hudson Valley Hockey Opens Wednesday

CONTACT: Steve Mullen (518) 629-8063
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, October 30, 2007

When the Hudson Valley Community College ice hockey team takes the ice against the Troy Eagles Halloween night for its season opener, it will be a welcome beginning for a hockey team that had a disappointing season a year ago.

Coming off back-to-back national tournament appearances, Hudson Valley lost eight of its first 10 games and finished with a 7-18 record in 2006-07. The Vikings return just five players from last year’s team.

With that said, sixth-year head coach Matt Alvey has his largest and maybe his most talented team heading into Wednesday night’s game, which begins at 7 p.m.

“We have a pretty good group of guys this year,” Alvey said. “These guys want to be here and are working hard in practice every night. We have a pretty good team right now.”

Although there are just five players returning from a year ago, many of the 23 newcomers are experienced hockey players from around the country. Nineteen members of this year’s team have come to Hudson Valley from competitive junior hockey programs.

Hudson Valley, which had no players score more that nine goals a year ago, expects to be able to put four strong lines on the ice this year which should improve the scoring output. Former Capital District High School Hockey League Player of the Year Eric Nichols (Burnt Hills/Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School), former International Junior Hockey League All-Star Ryan Honeycutt (South Attleboro, MA/Attleboro High School) and former Hudson Valley Eagles standout Eric Leone (Schenectady/Schenectady High School) will be a fast line and should provide a lot of scoring.

Sophomores Tom Phibbs (Troy/LaSalle Institute), Mike Leary (Somers Point, NJ/Mainland Regional High School) and Sean Caruso (Waterford/LaSalle Institute) combined for nearly 30 points a year ago and will bring veteran leadership to the offense.

The defense will be anchored by sophomores Brian Pekala (West Sand Lake/Averill Park High School) and Ben Norris (East Islip/East Islip High School). Former Springfield Pics standout Kyle Gendron (Agawam, MA/Agawam High School), Nick Kemp (El Segundo, CA/El Segundo High School), Adam Rakoczy (Clifton park/CBA) and Corey Earley (Manalapan, NJ/Marlboro High School) give the Vikings four newcomers at defense that stand over 6-0 tall. Eric Olds (Scotia/CBA), a CDHSHL All-Star a year ago, also will be depended on for defense.

The goaltending position has not been completely decided yet and, with four goaltenders in camp, there figures to competition for the position all season long. Jonathan Morales (San Diego, CA/Grossmont High School), Chris Pakatar (Troy/Troy High School) and Kevin Bowdidge (Stoneham, MA/Stoneham High School) are all expected to see action in the opener.