The NYTHL’s fifth league date of the 2021-2022 season took place this past Saturday and what a day it was! The action was hot and heavy at Rab’s Country Lanes in Staten Island, New York. A record sixteen players from four states competed in a single round robin followed by a full playoff tournament. The day was highlighted by the return of the very talented John Power, and the rising first year star The Chief. Phil Lynch and Bob Cuozzo also returned making their season debuts. When the smoke cleared Vinny Catania once again for a second straight month and third time in five league dates – met and defeated Chris D’Andrea in the Final.
League Date Five because of a larger 16-man field, featured a single round robin. N.Y.T.H.L. Champion Vinny Catania once again led the field with a 14-0-1 record. The Vinner’s only blemish was a tie to the returning and very talented John Power. J.P. came out of the gate destroying everyone in his path which included a 7-0 thrashing of Len Mecca, a 7-1 victory over Larry Durham and a 7-2 victory over George Slater. Power finished in second overall with a mark of 12-1-2. Chris D’Andrea and Paul Crescitelli each finished with 21 points, but DeAndrea’s extra win gave him the third seed. Fifth went to the consistent Len Mecca as George Slater finished sixth. The Chief returned after missing last month and picked right back up where he left off by once again having a winning day (8-5-2) good for the seventh seed. Phil Lynch made his long awaited return and played well after a long absence finishing 7-6-2 good for eighth on the day. Arnie Layton after missing two months just missed the 500 mark compiling a 7-8-0 record earning the ninth seed. Larry Durham was tenth at 5-7-3. Bob Cuozzo was eleventh at 6-9-0 which was a point ahead of Walter Zissler who continues to show signs of improvement (5-9-1). The thirteen seed Brian Sullivan finished 4-8-3. Mike Gershon 14th, Lee Hendleman 15th and Derek Nisbett 16th rounded out the field. To the playoffs we go!
This month with an even sixteen players, all would play best of five series to see which eight winners would move on to the “A” playoffs and which eight who lost would move down to the “B” tournament. The Vinner swept past Derek as did J.P. over Lee. Chris swept Mike, but Paul needed four games to defeat Brian. Len swept Walter and George took out Bob Cuozzo in four. In the series of the day – The Chief came back from a two games to one deficit to edge Larry in five games. In the final preliminary round series, Phil Swept Arnie. On to the Quarter-Finals
The Vinner earned his way into the Semi-Finals by sweeping past Phil Lynch in three games. In the stunner of the day, the seventh seeded Chief swept N.Y.T.H.L. star John Power. The Chief’s stingy defense was able to shut down J.P.’s high powered offense, winning by scores of 1-0, 3-2 and 3-2. The list of amazing accomplishments by the Chief continues to grow in this - just his third league date. Third Seed Chris D’Andrea survived Six seeded George Slater. Chris won games one and two in overtime by scores of 3-2 and 4-3. George won game three 3-2, before falling to D’Andrea 4-2 in game four. Fourth seeded Len Mecca exacted some revenge on Paul Crescitelli who had eliminated him in league dates three and four. Mecca defeated Paul in four games. To the Semis we go.
The Semi-Finals featured the impressive upstart Chief against League Champ Vinny Catania. The Chief fresh off his upset of John Power, handed The Vinner his first playoff game loss of the year in game one by a score of 4-2. Catania then played stingy defense of his own, clamping down on the hard charging Chief by defeating him 4-1 in both games two and three. The Vinner then advanced to the Final by closing out The Chief with a 3-0 shutout. Although the incredible run for The Chief was over, it once again served notice that he is already a top player in the league and a Championship could be in his very near future. Speaking of future Champions – Chris D’Andrea went to war with league veteran Len Mecca. Chris took game one in overtime 4-3. Len earned a 3-2 overtime victory of his on in game two. Chris won game three 5-2 and closed out the series with another hard fought overtime victory by a score of 3-2. The win earned D’Andrea a third shot at The Vinner this year in a League Date Final.
For the third time in five league dates - League Champion Vinny Catania would face Chris D’Andrea. The Vinner swept Chris in League dates one and four. This time around it was D’Andrea who drew first blood by defeating Catania in game one, holding on for a 5-4 victory. The Vinner then held off Chris in a tightly contested game two, defeating D’Andea 2-1. The Vinner took the lead in the series with a 6-2 victory and then earned the League Date Five title with a 7-3 victory.
The eight players who lost in the preliminary round then played a “B” playoff tournament. In Quarter-Final action, Arnie swept past Derek in three games. Larry also won in a sweep over Lee. Bob Cuozzo defeated Mike Gershon three games to one, as did Walter Zissler over Brian Sullivan. In the Semi-Finals Arnie swept Walter. Bob Cuozzo impressively performed a Houdini act by coming back from 2-1 and 3-2 losses in games one and two to earn a 2-1 victory in game three. Cuozzo then tied the series with a 2-0 shutout and completed the comeback with a 3-2 victory to earn his way to the “B” Final against Arnie. Speaking of Houdini – Arnie Layton who is in the process of overcoming personal tragedy, performed some magic of his own. Arnie capped an Impressive day by sweeping past Cuozzo in the “B” Final. Arnie won game one 2-1 then also won game two by the same score in overtime. Layton then took the “B” title with an impressive 6-0 shutout. Arnie performed brilliantly in the “B” playoff tournament by winning all nine of his games. What a job by both competitors. Arnie who has been through so much and Bob who was playing for the first time in nearly a year.
Another great date in the books. We have now had twenty-two players participate so far this season and the action continues to intensify. New faces bringing new rivalries. With great players, a great venue and the best games to play on – I can’t think of a better way to spend a day. Come on down and check out the action, or better yet – jump right in. GET BEHIND THE RODS AND GET IN THE GAME! You will be glad you did. Our next date is Saturday March 12, 2022. For more info go to www.nythl.com. See you next month.