Vikings, Ranked Second In Nation And Riding 11-Game Winning Streak, Prepare For Battle
CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, February 14, 2001
Hudson Valley's Hockey Team, Looking For Share Of Regular-Season Title, Hosts Region-Leading SUNY Morrisville At 6:30 p.m. Friday
When Ron Kuhl of Clifton Park took over Hudson Valley Community
College's hockey program in 1997, he implemented a five-year plan, telling
himself the team would consistently win games by the 2001-02 campaign. But
now, in Kuhl's fourth season as head coach, it appears that his plan is
ahead of schedule.
"This is great," said Kuhl of his club's 19-4 record. (The Vikings are
17-2 against other junior colleges.) "After starting last season with a 5-0
record, I knew we were on the right track. Things have really come together
this year, though. We've got kids in place who not only know how to play the
game, they know how to win."
Those players, including six skaters from Saratoga High School's 1999
state championship team – Mike Paine, Chris Paine, Adam Finkin, Phil Usas,
Kyle Reddon and Mike Santamoor – are in the midst of an 11-game winning
streak. The team is ranked second in the nation among National Junior
College Athletic Association (NJCCA) teams. This is the highest Hudson
Valley's hockey team has ever been ranked.
Additionally, by winning 19 games so far this season, the Vikings have
broken the school mark for victories in a season (the 1996-96 squad won 14
games). Kuhl, who endured two losing seasons before posting an 11-11 record
last year, is the winningest hockey coach in Hudson Valley history. (He is
just the school's second hockey coach; Hudson Valley's team did not gain
varsity status until 1993.) He has 40 career victories.
In what promises to be one of the most competitive game of the junior
college hockey season, Hudson Valley hosts top-ranked SUNY Morrisville
(22-1) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 16. The game, to be played at Troy's
Conway Ice Arena, will decide if Hudson Valley shares the NJCAA Region III
Hudson Valley has not lost since December 6, and Morrisville has not
dropped a contest since November 11. Since Morrisville has one Region III
loss and the Vikings have two, a Hudson Valley victory would ensure a share
of the Region III crown. Hudson Valley's regular season ends on February 16,
but Morrisville has one game remaining, a showdown with Monroe Community
College, the only team to beat them this season.
Hudson Valley has knocked off Monroe twice in 2000-01.
In addition to playing a key role in the regular season standings, the
Hudson Valley-Morrisville game will have an impact on post-season standings.
Hudson Valley is hosting the NJCAA Region III hockey tournament February
23-25. Hudson Valley and Morrisville have both qualified, and are both
shooting for the number-one seed. The winner of the Region III tournament
advances to the NJCAA national championship tournament.
"Winning Friday would give us great momentum going into the playoffs,"
Kuhl said. "Morrisville's going to give us a great game – they're having a
solid season – but our kids our really playing as a unit right now. Friday's
game should be a great one to watch."
Offensively, Hudson Valley is led by a pair of out-of-town freshmen.
Forward Jim Sturges (East Hampton, MA) has contributed a team-high 55
points. Forward Dean Vandervort (Northern Burlington, NJ) ranks second with
On defense, two Section II products protect the goal. Clifton Park
native Jason Vasco (CBA), a freshman, has posted a 2.10 goals against
average. First-year goaltender B.J. Sheehan (Albany Academy), of
Schenectady, is allowing just 2.40 goals per game.
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