The NYTHL’s seventh league date of the 2021-2022 season occurred this past Saturday and it was another extraordinary day! The action was better than ever at Rab’s Country Lanes in Staten Island, New York. Fifteen players from four states competed in a single round robin followed by a full playoff tournament. The day was capped off with a thrilling Final between NYTHL founder and player extraordinaire John Power and defending champ Vinny Catania. Will the Vinner prevail or will J.P. stake his claim to the League Date Seven crown? Let’s review and find out.
League Date Seven because of a larger 15-man field, again featured a single round robin. N.Y.T.H.L. Champion Vinny Catania was joined at the top of the standings by John power and super-rookie Arnie Layton. Each had a 10-3-1 record. Because the trio all had a 1-1 record between them, the goal differential tie-break was utilized. The Vinner claimed the one seed, J.P. the two and Arnie the third. Second year rising star Paul Crescitelli claimed the fourth seed just one point behind the top three and just one ahead of fifth seed Chris D’Andrea. The veteran Len Mecca took the six spot at 8-3-3. He was tied with D’Andrea but lost the tie-break due to his one less win. Bob D’Addario was seventh (8-5-1). Walter Zissler continues his improved play as evidenced by his 6-4-4 record, earning him the eighth seed. George Slater and Larry Durham each finished 7-6-1 with George getting the nod (ninth seed) due to his head to head win over Larry (tenth seed). Brian Sullivan has been showing steady improvement. His 5-8-1 record was good for eleventh. Anthony Sciacca under normal circumstances would consider his twelfth place finish a disappointment. The fact that this was his first day back after recovering from the combination of Covid and Pneumonia exemplifies why the sportsmanship award is named in his honor. It was a glorious return for Sciacca who would make noise later in the day. Lee, Mike and Derek continue their learning process earning the 13, 14 and 15 seeds respectively. It’s time to for the playoff recap.
This month with fifteen players, the one seed Vinny Catania would receive a bye. The remaining fourteen would each play a best of five series to see which seven winners would join The Vinner in the Quarter-Finals of the “A” playoffs. The seven who lost would move down to the “B” tournament. J.P. swept past Derek as did Arnie over Mike. Paul swept Lee, and Chris swept Anthony. The eleventh seed Brian Sullivan after losing the first two games, put a scare into Len Mecca by winning the next two to tie the series. The six seed Len then moved on with a decisive 6-1 win in game five. Bob defeated Larry three games to one. George Slater was the only lower seed to advance as the nine seed swept past eight seed Walter. On to the Quarter-Finals
The Vinner had little trouble in game one defeating George 6-1. George then tightened up his defense, thus making it much harder for The Vinner to score. Catania still won the series in a sweep winning games two and three by scores of 3-2 with the finale coming in overtime. J.P. rolled past Bob D’Addario in a three game sweep, by scores of 3-1, 6-1 and 4-2. Len Mecca who continues to play well, impressively earned his way into the Semi-Finals with a three game sweep of Arnie. Mecca held Arnie to just 4 goals, winning by scores of 4-0, 6-1 and 4-3 in overtime. In the league’s best new rivalry – Paul Crescitelli took on Chris D’Andrea for a second straight month. Last month Chris was the four seed and Paul was fifth, with Chris winning by a goal in game five. This month the seeds were reversed and the series was back and forth. The two traded wins until game five, when D’Andrea pulled away with a 5-2 victory in game five. It’s on to the Semis.
Vinny Catania and Len Mecca once again would do battle to see who would advance to the Finals. Len defeated The Vinner in round robin play by a 3-2 score earlier in the day. The Vinner won a very exciting back and forth game one in overtime by a score of 7-6. It didn’t get any easier in game two as The Vinner held on to sneak past Len 3-2. Catania finally pulled away in game three winning the game 6-3 to take the series in a sweep and earn his trip to the Finals. John Power would also win his Semi-Final series in a sweep over Chris D’Andrea and similarly, the series was much closer than the three games to none margin. Power won game one 5-4, then prevailed in overtime in game two by a score of 5-4. Power then earned his spot against Catania in the Final by winning another one goal game 3-2. It was J.P. versus The Vinner for the League Date Seven title.
In a matchup most predicted to see - League Champion Vinny Catania would face New York table hockey great John Power. The two met last month in the Semi-Finals with The Vinner winning a very tight series - three games to one. J.P. won the round robin game between the two earlier in the day by a score of 6-5. The stage was set for an exciting series. The Vinner took a very close game one by a 3-2 score. J.P. returned the favor in game two with a 4-3 victory to tie the series. Power then shut down The Vinner in game three, pretty much controlling the play and earning a 4-2 victory to put The Vinner on the brink of elimination. The Vinner needed to play better and did so. Catania kept jumping out to two goal leads, only to see Power never give up and cut the deficit to one. J.P. ran out of time and the series was tied following a 6-5 victory for Catania. The Vinner had to play his best game of the day and did as he finally pulled away from J.P. with a 5-1 victory to take the series and League Date Seven crown three games to two. It truly was an amazing series. Chris D’Andrea defeated Len Mecca two games to one to win the third place consolation round.
The seven players who lost in the preliminary round then played a “B” playoff tournament. In Quarter-Final action, eight seed Walter Zissler received a bye. Larry swept past Derek in three games. Brian also won in a sweep over Mike. The returning - amazing Anthony Sciacca also won via a sweep over Lee to advance. In the Semi-Finals, Brian won in impressive fashion sweeping past Larry by scores of 2-1, 4-3 and 7-3. Anthony Sciacca continued his improved play on the day as he swept past Walter by scores of 2-1, 3-2 and 2-0. Sciacca - the Master of “The Box Defense” was in the “B” Finals. It was Brian Sullivan versus Anthony Sciacca for the League Date Seven “B” Championship. Sullivan who braved his way from Massachusetts took game one 4-2. Sciacca then won game two by the same 4-2 score, and then took game three by a 3-2 margin. Brian fought off elimination to tie the series with a 4-2 victory in game four. The series would go the distance in every way. The two split the first four games and were tied at three at the end of regulation of game five. Sciacca then closed the series by scoring in overtime to win the series and earn his first League Date “B” Championship of the year. Not bad for his first day back after a lengthy absence.
Another great chapter was in the books. Twenty-three players have participated so far this season. New friendships have created new rivalries. The action is more intense than ever and it’s nonstop. With great people, players, and a great venue with the best games to play on - What are you waiting for? 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 May 14, 2022. For more info go to www.nythl.com. See you next month.