The seventh installment of the 2017-2018 NYTHL season may have been the best one yet. It featured the very impressive debut of highly touted Chris D'Andrea, and debuts of Kevin Gilligan and Marc Nedboy. By day's end it was a familiar battle between the two men at the top. In this back and forth tug of war for supremacy it was only fitting that the Vinner would prevail.
A Vinner versus Lou battle never gets old. That is - if you ask those two. What League date 7 proved was that some new blood and re-commitment from veteran players may soon change the landscape of the NYTHL. Lets review the double round robin.
The Vinner and Lou were again separated by just a single point for the 2nd month in a row. This time The Vinner earned the top spot with a 19-1-2 (40 Pts) record which earned him the top spot. The Vinner's only loss was to John Power. Power has been a thorn in the Vinner's side this year as he has a 5-3-4 advantage over Vinner in round robin play. Dr. Lou Marinoff was second with a 19-2-1 (39 Pts) record. He suffered a loss and tie to the Vinner and a loss to a resurgent John "NY Lightning" Fayolle which dropped him to the second spot. The aforementioned Fayolle finished 3rd with a 14-5-3 (31 Pts) record. John Power finished 4th with a 12-7-3 for 27 Pts. Those top four would receive first round playoff byes. The headline of the day was Chris D'Andrea who debuted for the first time and finished just one point out of 4th with an 11-7-4 record good for 26 points. Chris is not the typical rookie as he has had experience playing the game with friends and relatives. He has now stepped up into competitive league play and his 11 victories including wins over top veterans Len Mecca, John Fayolle, and John Power indicate that he is already a top contender. Chris has quick hands and a solid foundation which makes him an immediate threat. With some experience the sky is the limit for him. Bob and Len each finished with 24 points and George had his first non losing day - posting a 10-10-2 record good for 22 points and 8th place. Larry finished in 9th with 17 points and the rapidly improving rookie Phil Lynch finished with 5 wins (11 Points) which placed him 10th. New comers Marc Nedboy and Kevin Gilligan finished 11th and 12th respectively. They are very raw beginners, but are sure to improve because of their enthusiasm and love for the game. On to the playoffs.
With The Vinner, The Legend, Johnny Lightning and J.P. all receiving buys - the best of three first round playoffs between seeds 5 thru 12 would determine who joins them in the quarterfinals. The very Impressive 5th seeded Chris D'Andrea had no trouble sweeping past newcomer 12th seeded Kevin Gilligan by scores of 5-0 and 5-0. The 6th Seeded Bob D'Addario also had little trouble advancing as he defeated 11th seeded new comer Mark Nedboy by scores of 3-0 and 8-1. 7th Seeded Len Mecca who had split a game a piece versus 10 seed Phil Lynch, had virtually no resistance from Lynch defeating him by scores of 6-0 and 7-0. The most exciting series of the 1st round as predicted was between budding rivals 8th seeded George Slater and 9th seeded Larry Durham. After Larry took game one by a 4-2 score, George rebounded by winning the next two games 4-3 and 3-2 to win the series 2-1. Now there were just eight and its on to the quarterfinals.
The one seeded Vinner took down a highly motivated and spirited 8th seed George Slater. The Vinner swept the series in three relatively close games by scores of 4-0, 3-2 (OT) and 4-3. George continues to play tough defense and is steadily improving each league date. The 2nd seeded Lou Marinoff swept past 7th seeded Len Mecca by scores of 4-1, 3-0 and 6-3. Defeating nevertheless sweeping a veteran like Len Mecca is an impressive feat. 3rd Seeded John Fayolle took out 6th seeded Bob D'Addario in four games. Fayolle won games one and two pretty easily 7-3 and 7-1. D'Addario tightened up defensively which won him game three 5-2. Lightning struck in Overtime though as Fayolle got passed Bob 3-2, which won him the series 3-1. In the 4 seed VS 5 seed matchup John Power took out the very game 5th seeded Cinderella Man Chris D'Andrea in four games. Power won game one 6-2, the lost game two 4-3. The series shifted in game three when Power scored in Overtime to defeat Chris 5-4. J.P. put the series away with a neat 4-0 victory to take the series 3-1. On to the Semis.
The Semi-Finals were interesting. The One seed Vinny Catania would have to play John Power who had a 5-3-4 record VS The Vinner in round Robin play on the year. This series however would be a little different as everything seemed to work for the Vinner as he swept past Power by scores of 7-2, 5-2, and 7-2. The Vinner had his spot in the Final. The 2nd Seeded Lou Marinoff versus 3rd seeded John Fayolle matchup would determine who joined him. The series figured to be a good one as the two split their two round robin games. This however was the playoffs and Lou was able to perform just a little better as he bested Fayolle, sweeping him in three games by scores of 2-0, 5-3 and 6-3. That meant - you guessed it - a Vinny versus Lou final. For Fayolle who fought off multiple sickness's and played very well - he has really upped his game and has thrown his hat into the Championship conversation. On to the Final.
With both players playing so well - it was predicted to be a good Final but not a guarantee. Despite the Vinner playing well not only in the NYTHL, but the NTHL circuit, he had suffered setbacks to Marinoff in three series. The Legend defeated Vinny 3 games to 2 in the League Date 4 Final. He swept the Vinner 3-0 in Montreal during a playoff series in Montreal a few weeks later and then swept him again last month in league date 6. It looked like much of the same as Lou won game one with a second left 4-3 then breezed past the Vinner 7-3 in game two. On the verge of being swept again The Vinner really tightened up defensively and rallied for a 4-2 victory. He then tied the series in game four with a neat 5-2 victory setting up a deciding game 5. It was close and intense filled, but with a goal with about 30 seconds remaining, The Vinner sealed a 3-1 victory to complete the comeback and take League Date 7 three games to two. It marked the 3rd time this year League date 1 Finals and League Date 2 Semi-Finals that The Vinner was able to defeat Lou after trailing 2-0 games. Beating The Legend is hard enough. Doing after trailing 2-0 games is miraculous and something The Vinner knows he has to change. The Legend is far too good, and relying on those type of comebacks is far too dangerous. The 3rd place series was not played thus awarded to John Fayolle by virtue of his better record. One more League Date in May before the Championship Playoffs in June. With intense competition and some new comers in a growing league - now is the time to come out and join the New York Table Hockey League