The fourth league date of The NYTHL’s 5th season saw thirteen players from all over the east coast compete in a double round robin and playoffs. In what has become a familiar narrative - The NYTHL Champion Vinny Catania won round robin play and the playoff tournament that followed. The top seven players went on to compete in the “A” Playoffs, with the bottom six competing in the “B” playoffs. Let’s review the action.
The double round robin as always was packed with exciting moments. The Vinner had just a tie to blemish his record as he was 22-0-1 heading into his last game; however, that’s when John Power ended Catania’s bid for a second undefeated league date in four outings. J.P. defeated The Vinner 7-5. Catania’s 22-1-1 record led the field and earned him the number one seed and a first round bye. John Power’s impressive play propelled him to a 18-5-1 second place finish. George Slater was just a game behind Power at 17-6-1 for the third seed. Bob D’Addario finished in a tie with George, but was on the short end of the tie-break because he had two less wins than Slater, and thus the fourth seed. Chris D’Andrea 13-6-5 was fifth. The ageless Anthony Sciacca continues to improve as he tallied a record of 14-9-1 good for the sixth seed. The Final spot in the top tournament went to Len Mecca who finished 11-10-3 in what was a very tough field. Larry Durham’s 10-10-4 record earned him eight overall, but the top spot in the “B” playoffs. The improving Phil Lynch was just behind Larry with a 10-11-3 mark. Those two received byes. Dave Thomas and Brian Sullivan were the 10 and 11 seeds respectively. Tom Mchugh 12th and Mike Gershon 13th rounded out the field. It was then on to the playoffs.
The Best of 5 Quarterfinals were set. The number one seeded Vinner had a bye. The # 2 seed John Power drew a tough opening round opponent in seventh seed Len Mecca. J.P. drew first blood with a 4-3 victory. Mecca tied the series with a 6-4 victory, went ahead with a 4-2 triumph and clinched the series with a 6-3 victory. In the end Mecca was too tough and pulled the upset over Power by defeating him in four games. Number three seed George Slater had all he could handle against the ageless six seed Anthony Sciacca. George took the first two contests by 3-1 and 3-2 scores. Sciacca then took game three 4-3 and game four 3-2 to force a fifth game. In what was a nail biter – George survived game five in overtime by a score of 3-2 to win the series by the same score. Number four Bob D’Addario also had all he could handle as he too would be upset in a fifth and deciding game. Bob jumped ahead by winning game one 3-1. Chris then took the next two games by 4-1 and 3-1 scores. D’Addario tied the series with a solid 3-0 shutout. D’Andrea edged Bob 4-3 in game five to move into the Semi-Finals.
The Semi-Finals presented interesting matchups. First- the #1 Seed Vinner and 7 Seed Len Mecca did battle with The Vinner sweeping past Len by scores of 6-0, 4-2 and 4-1 to earn a berth in another Final. Third seed George Slater challenged five seed Chris D’Andrea for the right to face Catania. As was the case in the Quarter-Finals, an unexpected upset would again take place as D’Andrea beat Slater in four games. Chris took game one 5-1. Slater tied the series with a 3-1 victory. D’Andrea then pulled away by taking game three 4-2, then cruised his way into the Finals with a 6-2 victory. Len Mecca would then meet and defeat George in the third place game by a 4-3 margin.
This would be the second time that Vinny Catania and Chris D’Andrea would meet in a League Date Four Final. Catania swept D’Andrea during the 2018-2019 season. Unfortunately for Chris – history would repeat itself. The Vinner swept D’Andrea again by scores of 5-2, 6-0 and 8-2. This marked the ninth consecutive League Date that The Vinner Finished on top.
In the “B” playoffs Larry Durham and Phil Lynch each received byes. The tenth seed Dave Thomas defeated thirteenth seed Mike Gerson three games to one. Eleventh seed Brian Sullivan defeated twelfth seeded Tom Mchugh in a three game sweep winning on an overtime goal in game three 4-3. Seven seed Larry Durham then swept eleven seeded Brian Sullivan to move into the B Final. He was then joined by eighth seeded Phil Lynch who swept past ten seed Dave Thomas. In what has become an interesting rivalry – the top seeded “B” players Larry Durham and Phil Lynch would meet in the Final. Phil Jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a 4-2 win over Larry. Lynch had a chance to take a strangle hold on the series, but failed to do so – falling in overtime to Larry 3-2. L.D. then went on to win the next two by scores of 2-0 and 4-2 to win the series 3-1 and thus hoist the “B” title.
Can the Vinner be stopped? Can Larry build on the success of his “B” title? Is there a new player on the horizon? All these questions and more will be answered next month during League Date five. What are you waiting for? GET ON THE GAME!