So many times no matter what the sport - some teams or players peak too early, some too late. In the case of Lou "The Legend" Marinoff, he seems to have the timing just right as he attempts to retake the crown that has always belonged to him. On this particular Sunday 15 players came from as far north as Montreal, and south as Washington D.C.. In all 15 men did battle on this day and in the end "The Legend won his 3rd league date title of the year. Let's review the action.
The past two league dates saw Vinny "The Vinner" Catania and Lou Marinoff switch spots at the top separated by just one point on each league date. It was only fitting that they finish in a tie this time, and that they did. Having to use goal differential as a tie-breaker (because the two tied 2-2 in round robin play) the top spot was earned by Marinoff. The 2nd seed to the Vinner as they both finished with identical 12-1-1 records and 25 points apiece. The continued excellent play by John Power propelled him to the 3rd seed with a 9-2-3 record for 21 points. Speaking of solid play - Johnny "NY Lightning" Fayolle finished 4th with a 9-4-1 mark good for 19 points. Another impressive outing by Moussa Chermiti as he finished 5th at 8-4-2 (18pts). Bob D'Addario finished 6th at 8-5-1 (17 pts) just one point ahead of Greg Scoma who made the trip of from D.C. and finished 8-6-0 (14 pts). Len Mecca was 8th at 6-6-2 (14 Pts) with George Slater 9th at 6-7-1 (13 pts). Eric Lafreniere who came from Montreal and finished 10th with 12 points. 11th went to Chris D'Andrea with 11 points, 1 ahead of Larry Durham. 13th went to the debuting Tom Mchugh (4 points). The last two spots went to Phil Lynch (4 Pts), and Marc Nedboy who finished 15th with 0 points. With only the top seed Lou Marinoff receiving a bye - the preliminary round would feature 7 best of 5 series' with the 7 winners joining Marinoff in the quarterfinals. Now its on to the playoffs.
The 2nd seeded Vinner had no problems with Marc Nedboy sweeping past him 7-0, 7-0. and 8-1. 3rd Seed John Power defeated Phil Lynch but struggled early as a game Phil defeated him in game one 4-3. Power rebounded taking the next 3 games 6-3, 6-3 and 5-1 to take the series in four. Four seed John Fayolle swept past Tom Mchugh by scores of 4-1, 4-2, and 4-1. Tom was very competitive in his debut and will be a future force in the league along with Chris D'Andrea and Phil Lynch. Twelve seed Larry Durham defeated the 5 seed Moussa Chermiti 1-0, 1-0 and 1-0 to advance. In a very interesting series the Defensively sound Bob D'Addario was able to upend offensive juggernaut Chris D'Andrea in 4 games winning game one 5-3, dropping game two 5-4 then winning games three and four by scores of 4-3 and 5-2. The two men who traveled the furthest faced off as Greg Scoma the 7th seed defeated 10 seed Eric Lafreniere by sweeping him 4-2, 3-0 and 5-2. The final series of the preliminary round featured 8th seeded Len Mecca and 9th seeded George Slater. On this day Mecca was too much for George as he won game won 3-2, dropped game two 4-3 then rebounded to take the series winning 5-4 and 2-0 in a very tight series. Slater is on his way however as he continues to improve and that was never more evident then when he dealt the Vinner his only round robin loss by a 1-0 score. It on the Quarterfinals.
Top seeded Lou Marinoff Swept past 12 seed Larry Durham by scores of 5-3, 8-2 1nd 4-2. The 2nd seeded Vinner swept past Len Mecca, but it was not as easy as it sounds. The Vinner had to come back in games one and two winning each game by a goal. Catania snuck past Mecca who suffered from Hand cramps 5-4 in OT in game one and 6-5 in game two. The Vinner won game three to close out the series from a game Mecca, defeated him 7-0. In what was probably one of the most entertaining series of the year - 3rd Seeded John Power took on the surprising 7th seed Greg Scoma. These two renewed their rivalry from the days of the NYCTHL and to no one's surprise this series was a barn burner. Scoma took game one 6-2. John Power rebounded to take game two 4-1, then took the lead in the series with a 3-2 overtime victory over Scoma in game three pushing Greg to the brink. Scoma evened the series with a hard fought 4-2 victory in game four which set up an historic game 5. The two fought vigorously exchanging goals and leads throughout the contest which fittingly needed overtime to decide. In the end it was Scoma's leftwing who banged a rebound off of Power's defenseman and into the net for the series victory. In another great series Johnny "NY Lightning" Fayolle snuck past Bob D'Addario in five games. D'Addario took game one in overtime 5-4. Fayolle won game two 3-1, then Bob took game three 3-2. The see saw battle continued with Fayolle drawing even in game four - winning 6-3. This series also needed five to decide and in the 5th game it was Fayolle who came out on top 3-1 and thus advancing to the semi-finals.
The top seeded Lou Marinoff ended Greg Scoma's magical run by sweeping three hard fought games by scores of 4-3, 7-4 and 5-4. The 2nd Seeded Vinner would yet again take on John Fayolle to decide who would meet the Legend in the Finals. Catania also swept his way into the finals defeating Fayolle by scores of 5-2, 6-3 and 4-2. This set up - yes another Marinoff versus Catania final.
Lou "The Legend' Marinoff proved to be too much in this League Date Final as he rebounded from his crushing League Date 7 Finals loss to Catania by sweeping this one in three hard fought games. The Legend took game one when the Vinner inadvertently put the puck into his own net in overtime of game one giving Marinoff a 2-1 victory. Marinoff jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game two and held off the Vinner 3-2. Game three saw the Vinner leading 3-2 with under 30 seconds to play, when The Vinner experienced what his Quarterfinal opponent Len Mecca experienced earlier in the day - a bad hand cramp. Lou took advantage evening the contest with 22 seconds left to play and then took the lead for good with a beautiful Left Wing to Center angled low tip to seal the series. It was The Legend's 3rd League Date title of the year tying him with the Vinner for that lead, but it is Marinoff who will be riding the momentum of a league date victory into this year's Championship playoffs. "The Legend is peaking at the right time said Catania. "My hand cramping up didn't help but wasn't the reason for the loss. Lou was a little better all series and deserved the hard-fought victory".
June 3, 2018 will be the League Date 9 Championship Playoffs. Will Lou take back the title from the Vinner? Will the Vinner repeat? Will John Fayolle or John Power step up and steal the title? Veterans Len Mecca and Bob D'Addario are two more perfectly capable of beating anyone and staking their claim. Will improving players Like George Slater, Larry Durham or Phil lynch steal some of the spotlight for themselves? All these questions will be answered in the playoffs. The question is - will you be there?