Ice Hockey

Defending National Champs Down SUNY Canton, 9-5

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Saturday, November 3, 2001

Two Freshmen – Luke Niemiec and Shea Vandervort –
Score Two Goals Each For Hudson Valley

Troy, N.Y., November 3, 2001 – Skating against SUNY Canton at Troy's Conway Ice Arena today, Hudson Valley Community College's hockey team took a promising step toward defending its 2000-01 junior college national championship. All three of Hudson Valley's returning All-Americans – goalie Jason Vasco (CBA), and forwards Dean Vandervort (Northern Burlington H.S., NJ) and Jim Sturges (East Hampton H.S., MA) – played a prominent role this afternoon and the Vikings triumphed against the Northstars, winners of the 1999-2000 national crown.

Freshman Luke Niemiec (Assonet H.S., MA) figured in on all four of Hudson Valley's first-period scores (he had two goals and two assists) and the Vikings roared out to a 4-0 lead before the game was eight minutes old. With Vasco, the 2000-01 NJCAA Region III Player of the Year, protecting Hudson Valley's net, the Vikings posted a 9-5 Eastern Junior College Hockey League victory.

"We got the job done," said Ron Kuhl, Hudson Valley's head coach. "I'll take nine goals any time."

Hudson Valley, who opened the season with a 5-3 loss to Siena College's club team, is now 1-0 in EJCHL play and 1-1 overall. The Northstars are 0-1 in league play and 2-2 overall.

Hudson Valley's Vandervort brothers provided second-period highlights. First, Dean Vandervort hit his younger brother, Shea Vandervort (Northern Burlington H.S.), with a long cross-ice pass, assisting Shea on his second goal of the game. Then, two minutes later, Dean, the nation's second-leading scorer last season, took the puck the length of the ice and scored an unassisted power-play goal to give the Vikings a 6-2 advantage.

"This is our first year playing together," said Dean, who is two years older than Shea. "But from growing up together, we play the same style."

"The Vandervorts are just going to get better and better," Kuhl said. "And Dean is like the Energizer Bunny out there. You never get cheated on a shift by him; he just keeps going and going."

Sturges, meanwhile, the nation's top scorer last season, tallied four assists, all in the first period.

The third period began with Hudson Valley holding a 6-4 edge, and the Northstars were desperate to bridge the gap. Vasco wouldn't allow it, though. He smothered the puck whenever possible, denying rebound opportunities, and stopped eight of nine shots in the period. He made 18 saves on the game.

"We were scrambling a bit in the second period," Kuhl said. "Canton was putting some pressure on us and I needed Jason to slow the game down a bit. That's exactly what he did."

"This is a big win for us," Dean Vandervort said. "It gets us started on the right foot."

Hudson Valley 9, Canton 5

SUNY Canton                                    1     3     1     --     5
Hudson Valley Community College 4     2     3      --     9

First Period – 1, Hudson Valley, Finkin (L Niemiec, Sturges), 3:49. 2, Hudson Valley, L. Niemiec (D. Vandervort, Sturges), 4:44 (pp). 3, Hudson Valley, L. Niemiec (Sturges, Finkin), 7:09. 4, Hudson Valley, S. Vandervort (Sturges, L. Niemiec), 7:33. 5, Canton, Palmer (Terry, Begnal), 19:26 (pp).

Second Period – 6, Canton, Gardner (Begnal), 3:07 (pp). 7, Hudson Valley, S. Vandervort (D. Vandervort), 7:22 (pp). 8, Hudson Valley, D. Vandervort, 9:33 (pp). 9, Canton, Begnal (Gardner, Briggs), 10:30. 10, Canton, St. Louis (Wood, Irvine), 17:00.

Third Period – 11, Hudson Valley, Corrigan (Reynolds), 5:32 (pp). 12, Canton, Begnal, 14:27. 13, Hudson Valley, Santamoor (Vandervort, Mohan), 17:53. Hudson Valley, Cummings (DeCrosta), 19:35.

Shots on goals – Canton 8-6-9----23. Hudson Valley 10-11-14----35.

Goalies – Canton, Schenk and Cregg 6-9-11 (35 shots, 26 saves). Hudson Valley, Vasco 7-3-8 (23 shots, 18 saves).