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A new season began this past Sunday as the New York Table Hockey League's fifth year commenced. As some faces have changed, the entrance of new players and a new venue have the future of the league looking bigger and brighter. This was evident as thirteen players met to do battle in a ferocious double round robin totaling 24 games. A new format saw the top seven players going into an "A" pool playoff with the number one seed earning a bye, while the bottom six would do battle in their own "B" playoffs. The debuts of Brian Sullivan from Massachusetts and Dave Thomas from Ozone Park along with the return of Ed Power were just a few of the highlights. When all was said and done , the day was capped off when Defending NYTHL Champion Vinny Catania Swept his way past Bob D'Addario to capture the League Date I title. In doing so "The Vinner was a perfect 24-0 after round robin play and 6-0 in the playoffs to cap a perfect 30-0 record. It was the first time in the league's history that a player completed both the round robin and playoff rounds without a loss or tie. If that wasn't enough - a returning Ed Power slightly spoiled the debut of Brian Sullivan as he took home the "B" playoff crown by defeating him in an exciting four game final. Let's review the day.

As round robin play began, the influx of new players, and the enthusiasm that they brought was infectious and contagious. Thirteen players did battle to decide which top seven would form the "A" group for the playoffs. The Defending Champion Vinny "The Vinner" Catania navigated his way to an undefeated 24-0 record to capture the top spot. Len Mecca and Bob D'Addario finished 2nd and 3rd respectively as the two tied in total points, but Len's extra win gave him the higher seed. John Power proved once again that aside from being a great organizer, he also is a highly skilled and fierce competitor. He along with George Slater finished in a tie just one point behind Mecca and D'Addario for the 4th spot. His two more wins than Slater gave George the 5th spot overall. Just two point behind them was Chris D'Andrea. his record of 15-7-2 earned him the 6th seed. Finally the Seventh seed was decided by a tie-break playoff game between Larry Durham and Phil Lynch. The two finished with an identical 9-13-2 record. The two also split their two games, so instead of goal differential the 7th spot was awarded to Larry when he defeated Phil 4-1 to claim the last spot in the "A" playoffs as the loss sent Phil into the "B" playoffs as its top seed.

In the "A" Playoffs NYTHL Champion and top seed Vinny Catania earned a bye in the Quarterfinals. His 24-0 round robin record earned him a Semi-Final berth. Two seed Len Mecca made short work of practice partner and seven seed Larry Durham despite Larry Showing marked improvement. Mecca swept past Larry by scores of 5-1, 3-1 and 4-3. Third Seed Bob D'Addario dropped game one to six seed Chris D'Andrea by a score of 4-1. The "BOB O" then clamped down to take the next three by scores of 4-3, 5-4 OT, and 1-0. D'Addario. The final spot in the semis was determined when 5th seed George Slater narrowly defeated 4th seed John Power. J.P. took game one 2-1, the dropped the next three 2-1, 4-3 and 3-2 in overtime to Slater. It was another series that was much closer than the 3-1 games total. on to the Semis.

The Vinner stormed out of the gate early taking game one of his semi-final series with Slater by the score of 6-0. George than settled down and played much better, losing game two 4-3. The Vinner won a hard fought game in overtime 4-3 over George to sweep the series and move on to the League Date I Final. Who he played was determined when Bob D'Addario took down Len Mecca in four games. D'Addario dropped game one 2-1, then rebounded to win by scores of 4-3, 4-3 OT and 5-3. This sent D'Addario to his first ever league date final.

The Finals featured the Defending League Champion Vinny Catania and first time finalist Bob D'Addario. The Vinner who hadn't lost a game all day was determined to keep that streak alive as he stormed D'Addario with victories of 6-0 and 8-2. The Vinner capped off his perfect day with a 2-1 victory to sweep the series and take the League Date I title. D'Addario had his first ever 2nd place finish and by virtue of round robin record - Len Mecca finished 3rd overall.

The "B" playoffs featured Phil Lynch (8th Overall) and Ed Power (9th Overall) receiving byes. 10 seed rookie Dave Thomas who recorded 6 wins and 2 ties in his debut faced off against fellow rookie 13 seed Brian Sullivan. It didn't look good for Sullivan early on as he lost game one 3-0. Faced with the prospect of an early exit, Sullivan refused to start his journey back to Massachusetts just yet. He rebounded in impressive fashion winning the next three games by scores of 3-2 OT, 4-2 and a 5-1 victory to clinch the series and move on to face Phil Lynch in the Semis. The 11 Seed Tom Mchugh met 12 seed Mike Gershon. M.J.G. as he likes to be called earned his first ever wins on the day then followed it up by winning his first ever series. He Swept Tom by scores of 1-0 OT, 2-1, and 3-2 OT. You will probably never see a closer sweep. Both Tom and Mike are relatively new players and continue to improve. Mike then moved on to face Ed Power in the Semis. Ed took swept past Mike by scores of 3-2 OT, 6-3 and 1-0. Ed Power in his return advanced to the "B" Final. Brian Sullivan despite finishing last in round robin play, proved that like real hockey - this is a playoff sport. His run continued as he took out the top seeded Phil Lynch despite dropping the first two games by scores of 3-2 OT and 2-1. Sullivan - a quick learner made the necessary adjustments and went on to two consecutive 4-0 victories capped off by a 5-1 victory which sent him to the Final against Ed Power. The script however was flipped on Sullivan because this time he won game one against Power 2-1, then dropped the final three by scores of 5-1, 3-0 and 3-0. Ed Power continued to work off the rust as the day progressed, culminating in his only allowing one goal in the final three games for the "B" Playoff Championship.

It was a great way to start the season. An awesome time was had by all. When you have stellar play along with good food and even better people at a great venue - you really can't ask for anything more. We hope to see you soon. If you are interested in joining - I have one question. What are you waiting for? Contact us and become a part of the best league in the area. Great games and even better people. We are the New York Table Hockey League. GET ON THE GAME!

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