Once again a dozen men battled their way through a double round robin then playoffs. Because three players had to leave following their round robins play, nine were left to battle it out for the League Date III title. Let’s review the action.
The Defending Champ Vinny Catania once again paced the field finishing as the first seed. This time however; his path wasn’t so easy. He suffered two losses – one to Len Mecca and another to Bob D’Addario during the first round robin. He then went through the second round robin avenging the losses, going undefeated until the final game where he suffered a 3-2 defeat to John Power. The Vinner who had just one loss through two league dates, suffered three on this day going 18-3-1. The aforementioned John Power played very well finishing just three points behind Catania with a 16-3-3 mark. Just three points behind him was Chris D’Andrea with a 14-4-4 record, good for the third on the day. George Slater who usually puts on a defensive clinic, was especially stellar on this day. George surrendered just 41 goals on the day (the fewest of anyone) leading him to a 13-4-5 finish good for fourth. Bob D’Addario finished in the five spot going 12-5-5 on the day. The Savvy veteran Len Mecca was a game behind Bob finishing 11-6-5 for sixth. Anthony Sciacca’s 9-11-2 tally landed him in seventh. Larry Durham continues to improve finishing 8-10-4, putting him eighth. Phil Lynch who has shown marked improvement finished 8-14-0 on the day and in ninth. His offense continues to grow and he is starting to hover close to the 500 mark. Tom McHugh (10th), Brian Sullivan (11th) and Mike Gershon (12th) rounded out the field. It was then playoff time.
With Chris D’Andrea, Phil Lynch and Tom Mchugh all having prior commitments, the did not play in the playoff tournament thus bumping those below them up one seed. There would be just one “A” playoff this month. Because nine players were left, the 8th highest seed Brian Sullivan, would play the 9th highest remaining seed Mike Gershon in a best of three play in series for the right to face top seed Vinny Catania in the Quarter-Final playoffs. This year’s NYTHL road warrior Brian Sullivan not only braved the four-hour drive, but did so with a broken leg. Then played with on it all day. Despite being hurt, his love for the game and spirited effort lifted him to a two game sweep of M.J.G. by scores of 3-0 and 6-2.
The Quarter-Finals were set. The top seeded Vinner welcomed “Road Warrior” Brian Sullivan into the “A” playoff, but then unfortunately ended his day with a sweep by scores of 9-2, 10-2 and 5-2. Second Seeded John Power also advanced via a sweep over Eight Seeded Larry Durham by scores of 5-2, 5-3, 4-2. With one half of the Semi-Finals set, the final two spots figured to be hard fought and for the most part weren’t. Sixth seeded Len Mecca blew past Bob D’Addario, sweeping him by scores of 5-2, 4-1, 4-2. Fourth seed George Slater avenged last month’s playoff loss to his so called “Kryptonite” – Anthony Sciacca, also winning by sweep in three very competitive games. Slater winning 2-1, 4-1 and 3-2 to take the final spot in the Semi-Finals.
Having split their two round robin games, the series between Vinny Catania and Len Mecca was expected to be a tight one. Although The top seeded Vinner won in a sweep, Sixth Seed Len Mecca made sure that when the series was through – the Vinner would know he was in a fight. The Vinner won game one 3-1. Then games two and three were close fought wars with Catania prevailing 5-4 and 4-3. With The Vinner in the Final, the rematch between George Slater and John Power would prove to be exciting. George had swept J.P. out of the League Date I Quarter-Finals two months ago. J.P. returned the favor by sweeping George in last month’s Quarter-Final round. J.P was off and running with a narrow 3-2 victory. George then rebounded with outstanding defensive play to take the final three games of the series by tallies of 4-1, 4-3 and 4-2. The Victory advanced Slater to his second overall League Date Final where he would once again face Vinny Catania
The Vinner who had won every League date in the calendar year of 2019 thus far including the NYTHL Championship back in June, needed this series to complete the sweep of the year. He did so in fine fashion as he completed the year’s sweep with a sweep of Slater. Falling behind in Game one – The Vinner rebounded for a 3-2 victory with a goal in the last second of the game to take the contest. Catania won game two 5-1 in a game that was pretty close until late. Game three was another classic as Catania edged George 3-2. Although it may have been a sweep, it was a very close series. George is continuing his climb to the top with a steadily improving game and smothering defense. Catania won League date III with Slater second and by virtue of the standings – John Power third.
It was a great 2019 as the league continues to grow, the competition intensifies and the quality of people and play within the league continues to climb to epic proportions. Hopefully 2020 will include newcomers. Hopefully it will be you. GET ON THE GAME! See you next month.