The NYTHL’s 6th season kicked off this past Saturday at Plycon in East Northport, New York. In doing so, many safety precautions were put in place to observe all Covid-19 Proto calls. Eleven players from three states competed in a double round robin and playoffs. John Power made his return and made an immediate impact as he fought his way into his first league date final since March of 2016. The biggest surprise on the day was the league’s elder statesmen Anthony Sciacca who had his best league date in years. Chris D’Andrea whose arsenal continues to grow also wreaked havoc. Let’s review all the action.
The double round robin was chock full of fantastic play. On the day there were 23 ties and a plethora of one goal games. The top eight spots would play for the “A” League date 1 title with the bottom three players competing in the “B” playoffs. Competition within the league continues to intensify as each player continues to improve. This was most evident in the standings at the top. League Champion Vinny “The Vinner” Catania was defeated four times on the day in twenty round robin games. Ha had lost only ten times in 146 games during last season’s round robin play. You would have to go all the way back to the inaugural 2015-2016 season to see the last time Catania lost that many at a league date. Despite the four losses The Vinner was able to grab the top seed on the day even though he finished in a points tie with Chris D’Andrea. Vinny’s 14-4-2 record broke a tie with D’Andrea’s 12-2-6 record because Catania had more wins. His goal differential was also better as those are the first two tie breakers. The Vinner was aided by a 6-2 win and a comeback 3-3 tie against Chris in their head to head games. Catania grabbed the one seed with D’Andrea securing the second. D’Andrea could have become the first player other than The Vinner to finish first after round robin play in over a two-years. That was averted because Chris tied his last game against Len Mecca and Catania defeated John Power in his final game, the Vinner then gained the one point he trailed to keep his streak alive. The biggest surprise on the day was no doubt the third place finish of Anthony Sciacca. The league’s oldest player and kindest gentleman finished 12-6-2 on the day good for 26 points. His day was highlighted by two consecutive victories of identical 5-4 scores over Champion Vinny Catania. He also gave up the least amount of goals (43) on the day. The returning father of New York Table Hockey – John Power (an excellent player as well) made his return with a solid 11-5-4 record finishing in a tie with Sciacca, but Anthony’s one more win gave him the higher seed. Power would be heard from again in the playoffs later on. George Slater who as always played stellar defense giving up just 45 goals on the day, couldn’t quite get his offense rolling just yet. He finished with an 8-7-5 record and the fifth seed. Table hockey veteran Len Mecca finished 7-8-5 for the sixth seed. Bob D’Addario finished a disappointing 6-8-6 for the seventh spot. The final spot in the “A” playoffs would go to the improving Phil Lynch. Aside from being the man responsible for so much of the great marketing props that the league has – he made great masks with the league logo for the guys to play in. He also finished 6-10-4 to qualify for last spot. Larry Durham’s rough day of 5-11-4 landed him ninth overall. He was pushed into the “Playoffs with the highest seed thus earning him a bye. Road Warrior Brian Sullivan from Massachusetts finished 4-13-3 landing him tenth overall. Rookie Walter Zissler finished in the last spot with a 2-13-5 mark thus also placing him into the “B” playoffs. Let’s move on to the post round robin playoff tournament summary.
The “A” tournament best of five Quarter-Finals began. Top seeded League Champion Vinny Catania swept past Eight seeded Phil Lynch by scores of 3-0, 7-2 and 6-1. Second Seed Chris D’Andrea swept past seventh seed Bob D’Addario, easily defeating Bob by scores of 6-1, 5-2 and 3-2. There is always usually at least one upset and this day was no different. Sixth seed Len Mecca defeated red hot Tony Sciacca in four games. Mecca won a thriller in game one by a 2-1 score in overtime. Len took game two as well with a 3-0 shutout. Sciacca bounced back in game three with a 4-3 victory, but then bowed out to Len when he lost 5-4 in another overtime classic. The final spot in the Semi-Finals was determined when fourth seed John Power met fifth seed George Slater. Power who failed to qualify for a league date final last season due in large part to his inability to navigate past Slater. George jumped out to a 2-0 series lead with victories of 4-3 and 2-1. The series would then take a dramatic turn when Power took game three in overtime 5-4. J.P. tied the series in another one goal classic winning 4-3. With his feet now firmly underneath him, Power played his best game of the series in the fifth and deciding game by easily defeating George 5-1 to get past his nemesis. It was on to the Semi-Finals.
The top seeded Vinny Catania renewed his long history against Len Mecca as the two again met in the playoffs. The sixth seeded Mecca appeared to be out of gas losing games one and two by respective 7-2 and 9-2 scores. As always, Len gets better as a series moves on, but it wasn’t quite enough as Catania took game three 4-2 for the series sweep. Catania’s opponent would be determined when two seed Chris D’Andrea met fourth seed John Power. What was predicted to be a very close series certainly lived up to its billing. Chris took a hotly contested game one 4-3 in overtime. J.P. then responded by tying the series with a 4-2 win. He then took the lead over Chris by winning game three 3-1. With his playoff life on the line D’Andrea showed plenty of resolve by evening the series with a decisive 7-2 victory. The deciding game was one for the ages as regulation was not long enough to determine a winner. The two battled long into overtime before Power scored and earned himself a 2-1 victory, thus taking the series 3-2 games. This advanced Power to his first league date final since March of 2016. On to the Finals.
John Power advancing to the Finals was a great accomplishment. Defeating the defending Champ would be an even more difficult task. Catania has won the last two league championships, and thirteen straight league date tournaments as well. Last season Catania dropped just three playoff games all year and NONE in the Finals. That streak immediately ended as Power continued his stellar play defeating The Vinner 4-3 in game one. It marked the first time in over two years that Catania trailed in a series. That lead was short lived as the Vinner rebounded with a 6-3 win to tie the series. Vinny continued to play better as the series went on, as he took game three by a 9-3 margin. Catania now locked in played his best table hockey of the day, and sealed the series with a 6-0 shutout. This marked the fourteenth consecutive league date title for Catania. It was however a courageous playoff run and just the beginning for John Power. He will no doubt be back.
In the “B” playoffs Larry Durham received a bye. Tenth seeded Brian Sullivan swept past Eleventh seed Walter Zissler by scores of 4-3, 4-0 and 2-1. Larry Durham would then play Sullivan for the title. Larry was a little too much for Brian on this day as he swept past him by scores of 3-2 in overtime, 3-1 and 4-3. The win gave Larry the “B” title on the day (9th overall). Sullivan was second in the “B” (10th overall) and Zissler as in the round robin finished last on the day, but is no doubt showing great improvement.
With our sixth season underway and so many people playing so many great games – what are you waiting for? Get behind the rods and join our growing league. Games are held at a spacious social distant venue where masks must be worn to compete and plenty of precautions are taken to ensure safety. Great friends, Great food and great competition provide for a wonderful experience. We hope to see you in November.