Vinny “The Vinner” Catania opened his defense of the NYTHL title by going undefeated in both round robin play and playoffs last month. Although his no loss streak was brought to an end, he did manage to sweep his way through the playoffs on his way to another League Date title. Let’s review the action.
Twelve men engaged in battle this past Saturday and what the day proved was that some things haven’t changed and some things indeed have. In the "A" Playoffs NYTHL Champion and top seed Vinny Catania earned a bye in the Quarterfinals. After 38 straight wins to start the season (including league date 1 playoffs) the Vinner was tied by George Slater 1-1. He was again tied at 3 by Len Mecca just two games later. The point streak finally came to an end when Slater defeated Catania 5-3 late in the second round robin. Len Mecca took the second seed with a 15-4-3 record. Chris D’Andrea grabbed third with a 15-6-1 mark. John Power took the fourth seed at 13-6-3. Slater was fifth at 13-7-2. Not only did he end the Vinner’s streak, but he surrendered the fewest goals on the day, giving up just 37. Bob D’Addario’s 12-8-2 was good for sixth. Phil Lynch continues to improve. His 10-11-1 record was his best finish yet, good for seventh. Larry Durham grabbed the last spot as the eight seed in the “A” playoffs with his 9-10-3 finish. Anthony Sciacca the ninth seed grabbed the top spot in the “B” playoffs with his 8-12-2 record. Dave Thomas ten, Brian Sullivan eleven and Mike Gershon the twelfth would be the second, third and fourth seed respectively in the “B” tournament. On to the playoffs.
The top seeded Vinner swept past a scrappy 8 seed Larry Durham by scores of 6-4, 6-3 and 4-1. Two seed Len Mecca took down the Improved Phil Lynch in a competitive series. Mecca took game 1 by a 5-1 score. Lynch tied the series with a 3-2 overtime win in game two. Mecca pulled ahead then clinched the series with 4-1 and 2-1 victories. Third seed Chris D’Andrea faced off versus six seed Bob D’Addario. This was a rematch of last month’s quarterfinal series. Although the two swapped seeds, the “Bob O” once again took down D’Andrea in four games. D’Addario’s 2-1 and 3-2 overtime victories in game one and four book ended a split in middle two games to catapult Bob into the Semis. The Final spot in the Semis was decided when John Power swept past George Slater 5-0, 5-2 and 3-2 to avenge his loss to Slater at league date one.
The Semi-Finals featured a rematch of the league date one Final. It also had the same result as Vinny Catania swept past Bob D’Addario by scores of 4-2, 6-1 and 10-5 to send the Vinner to another league date final. He would be joined by Len Mecca who defeated John Power in a thrilling five game series. Power took game one 6-1. Mecca rebounded to take game two 3-2. J.P. retook the lead in the series with a game three victory by a score of 6-5. Len Mecca tied the series 3-1, thus forcing a fifth game. The “Mechanism” then clinched the series with a tension filled 5-4 victory to advance to take on Catania in the Finals.
The Vinner took no chances in facing the man that came very close to defeating him in the 2018-2019 NYTHL playoffs. Although the Vinner won that series in six games – he trailed 3-0 in game five before finally rallying to win that series. The Vinner has a great respect for the man he calls one of the smartest players he has ever met on the board. Knowing that – it was all business as Catania managed a sweep of the series by scores of 4-1, 7-2 and 8-7. The Vinner who won the last five league dates including the Championship last season, has no won the first two this year. Len Mecca’s impressive second place finish was best since joining the NYTHL. In the third place consolation game – John Power took down Bob D’Addario to take third place on the day.
In the B tournament ninth seed Anthony Sciacca swept past twelfth seed M.J.G. by scores of 3-0, 4-3 in OT and 2-1 to advance to the B Final. He was joined by ten seed Dave Thomas who defeated eleven seed Brian Sullivan. Dave won games one and two by 5-4 and 4-1 margins. Brian came back to win game three in overtime by a 2-1 score. Dave then capped the series with a 3-2 overtime victory of his own to advance vs Sciacca. Dave Thomas then opened the B Finals with a neat 4-2 victory over Sciacca . The grizzled veteran Sciacca however had a little too much experience for Thomas to overcome as Anthony took the final three games by scores of 4-0, 6-1 and 5-1 to take the B Championship (ninth overall). Thomas took second (tenth overall) and Brian Sullivan took eleventh overall by virtue of the round robin standings. M.J.G. finished twelfth but had a blast while gaining valuable experience.
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