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The NYTHL’s Sixth League date of its eighth season took place on Saturday March 18th with thirteen participants from four different states. Dave Reid made his way from Ennismore, Ontario to compete in his second straight league date. The fourteen players did battle, engaging in a double round robin which consisted of twenty six games followed by playoffs. The day was filled with great action, renewed rivalries and plenty of spirited play. When the smoke cleared, The Vinner and Dave Reid fought their way through five games to determine a winner. Walter Zissler, Robert Brancucci and Brian Sullivan have really made great strides in stepping up their game. Veterans like Chris D’Andrea, George Slater, Len Mecca and Bob D’Addario also played well. Let’s recap the day and see who thrived and who didn’t.

The double round robin was a grueling twenty six game affair. At stake for the top two seeds were byes into the Quarter-Finals. When all was said and done, The Vinner led the field with a 23-2-1 record. Catania earned the top seed on the day. Joining him with a Bye was league veteran Len Mecca. He played to a 17-6-3 record which was the same as third seed Dave Reid, but Mecca’s two head to head wins over Dave ranked him higher. Chris D’Andrea played to the tune of 15-8-3 earning him fourth. George Slater played to ten ties, but when he wasn’t in a deadlock he won most of the time. George won the eleven out of 16 that he didn’t tie earning him fifth. Sixth place Bob D’Addario gave up the least goals on the day (61) as he was 14-10-2. The ageless one – Anthony Sciacca was 13-11-2 which ranked him seventh. The rapidly improving Robert Brancucci played his way to an 11-10-5 record for the eighth seed. Walter Zissler who has also been trending toward the to the top of the league was 11-13-2 which landed him ninth. Paul Crescitelli never really fully recovered from a slow start, finishing 10-12-4 and in tenth. Brian Sullivan who has also stepped up his game, won ten earning the eleventh seed. Larry Durham’s seven wins earned him the twelfth spot. Lee Hendleman thirteenth and Derek Nisbett fourteenth had their difficulties on the day, but were both very competitive more times than not. On to the playoffs.

With Vinny Catania and Len Mecca each receiving byes, the twelve remaining players did battle in best of three series’ to see who would join them. The number three seed Dave Reid built on his great start last month, by taking down #14 Derek Nisbett in two by identical 6-0 scores. #4 Chris D’Andrea also swept # 13 Lee by scores of 7-1 and 5-4. #5 George swept past # 12 Larry by scores of 4-0 and 2-0. #6 Bob after dropping game one to #10 Paulie by a score of 3-2, rebounded to take a 3-2 decision in overtime. Bob completed the upset by winning game three 5-0 and the series two games to one. Anthony Sciacca (7) faced (11) Brian Sullivan. Sciacca dropped game one in overtime 3-2. Anthony bounced back to tie the series with a 4-1 triumph. Brian then completed the upset by taking game three with a convincing 5-0 shutout. In the final series of the round, #8 Robert Brancucci was swept by #9 seed Walter Zissler by scores of 2-1 in overtime and 3-1. It was now time for the Quarter-Finals.

The One seed Vinny Catania matched up against the improved eleven seed Brian Sullivan. The Vinner earned a sweep over Brian by scores of 5-1, 5-1 and 4-1. The two seed Len Mecca defeated the nine seed Walter Zissler in four games. Len took game one 3-0. Walter tied the series with a 4-1 win in game two. Len earned a 5-1 victory in game three and closed out the series with a 5-4 victory over Walter. The third seed Dave Reid engaged in a tough battle with six seed Bob D’Addario, but still managed to sweep the Bob O. Dave won by scores of 3-2, 4-3 in overtime and 3-2 in overtime. In the last Quarter-Final matchup fourth seed Chris D’Andrea took game one versus the six seed George Slater by a 3-2 margin. Slater tied the series with a thrilling 2-1 victory in overtime of game two. Chris broke the tie with a 6-2 game three victory, and then put the series away with a 5-4 victory in game four. It was now on to the Semi-Finals.

The top seeded Vinny Catania was in a dog fight with four seed Chris D’Andrea in the opening game of the Semi-Finals. The Vinner won a thriller in overtime 4-3. Unfortunately things didn’t get better for D’Andrea as the Vinner rolled his way to victories of 7-2 and 4-1 to sweep his way into the Finals. Two seed Len Mecca battled three seed Dave Reid to see who would join Catania in the Finals. Dave and Len finished with identical records through two round robins. In a series that was predicted to be close, it certainly lived up to its billing. Mecca stormed to a 7-2 victory in game one. Reid then rebounded in overtime of game two to earn a 2-1 victory. Len then earned an overtime victory of his own by a 4-3 score to take a 2-1 series lead. On the brink of elimination the Reider responded with a 3-2 victory to knot the series at two and force a deciding fifth game. It was only fitting that these two who fought to a stalemate all day would need overtime in game five to see who moves on to the league date six finals. Dave’s rightwing pass to center went off Len’s left defenseman then off Dave’s center then back off Len’s defenseman and into the net to complete Dave’s comeback. Reid had won the game and series by a 3-2 margin and sent Dave to his first League date championship in just his second try.

Just last month Dave Reid made a very impressive N.Y.T.H.L. debut by tying for the round robin lead and bowing out in the Semi-Finals. The rapidly rising Reid had now made it through to the Finals in just his second League Date. His opponent Vinny Catania has been to a few League Date Finals himself. These two met three times in league play so far and are 1-1-1 head to head. This was to be their first playoff matchup. As the series began, The Vinner dominated game one on his board, forging his way to a 6-0 shutout. Catania was in control for most of game two as he earned a much closer 3-1 victory. The series moved to Reid’s board. Dave played much better in game three as he forced overtime. The Vinner nearly swept the series when he hit the cross bar in the extra session. A short time later Reid would score to earn the 4-3 win. With game four on Dave’s board again, the Reider really settled in and controlled most of the game as a last second goal by The Vinner wasn’t enough. Catania fell 4-3 and the series was then tied. The Finals shifted back to the Vinner’s board for the deciding game five. The Vinner seized control by jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Dave who is no stranger to staying alive and coming from behind did so again in the game’s final minute pulling to within 3-2. The Vinner finally scored on a leftwing to center pass with eleven seconds left for the 4-2 victory. It was the Vinner’s fifth out of six league date victory on the year. For Dave, its further proof that he is a tremendous player on the fast track to the top. He has made a Semi-Final and a Final in his first two league dates.

The third place game/series was not played, thus Len Mecca finished third by virtue of the standings. In the “B” Playoffs #7 Anthony Sciacca and # 8 Robert Brancucci each earned byes into the Semi-Finals. In the Quarter-Finals Paulie swept Derek in three 6-0, 7-2, and 4-0. Larry swept past Lee 3-2 OT, 4-2, and 4-3. In the Semi-Finals #7 Anthony swept past # 12 Larry by scores of 5-1, 5-4 and 7-4. #10 Paulie swept #8 Robert by tallies of 2-1, 5-4 OT , and 3-2. In the “B” Championship #10 Paulie dropped the first two to # 7 Anthony by scores of 1-0 and 4-2. Facing elimination, Paulie pulled off another great comeback as he rallied to win the next three by scores of 5-3, 4-1 and 2-1 to earn his second “B” title this year. The last time Paulie won the “B” at League Date two he used it as a springboard to win League Date three. It will be exciting to see if he can pull that off again.

Another great day of action is in the books. The league’s top players are now under attack, and the league’s parity has led to great competition and new rivalries. The one constant is a lot of great camaraderie and an abundance of fun. Instead of just reading this, get off the bench and join us. What are you waiting for? GET BEHIND THE RODS AND IN THE GAME! See you at League Date Seven on April 15, 2023!


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