The NYTHL’s opened its ninth season on Saturday October 14th with seventeen participants in all. The day featured players from four different states and one from Canada. Steve “The Stein” Bernstein made his return and played very well. Former NHL two time Stanley Cup Champion Dave Reid made his way from Ontario, and also played very well as he battles his way back from recent shoulder surgery. With seventeen participants in the house a single round robin was played along with a full playoff tournament as always is the case each month. By day’s end just Vinny Catania and Chris D’Andrea were left to do battle for the League Date One crown. Let’s review.
To open the NYTHL’s ninth season the league held a special rivalry game between Chris D’Andrea and the “Bob O” Bob D’Addario which was the first and only game played to start round robin play and kick off the season. It enabled everyone to observe the game and truly enjoy the start of a new season. The league will feature a rivalry game going forward to start each New Year. The game which was won by Chris D’andrea 4-3 was closely contested and enjoyed by all. Now it was on to the season. Seventeen players meant that each player would play sixteen games, one against each opponent. Because George Slater announced he would not be available for the playoffs it meant the remaining sixteen would play a Preliminary round. The eight winners would move on to the “A” Quarter-Finals. The eight who lost would move into the “B” Quarter-Finals. At the conclusion of round robin action – League Champion Vinny Catania led the field with a 15-0-1 mark, earning him the top spot. Steve Bernstein played amazingly well as he becomes accustomed to the S-Slot board. He finished in second with an 11-3-2 record. Chris D’Andrea was hot on The Stein’s heels, as he finished third - just a single point out of second with a 11-4-1 tally. The ageless Anthony Sciacca continues to impress as his 10-3-3 record landed him fourth. George Slater (10-4-2) was fifth. The returning Dave Reid wants to add some table hockey hardware to his two Stanley Cups from the NHL. Reid - fresh off shoulder surgery finished sixth at 9-5-2. 2022-2023 Rookie of the Year Fred Tinao continued his solid play finishing at 8-5-3, good for seventh. League veteran Len Mecca struggled as he finished eighth at 9-7-0. “The Bob O” Bob D’Addario who was last year’s league runner up struggled during round robin play. He finished ninth at 8-7-1, but played well in the ensuing playoffs. D’Addario’s eight wins broke a three way tie. Last season’s most improved player Walter Zissler finished tenth at 7-6-3. His one more win than Robert Brancucci (6-5-5) forced Robert into eleventh. Brian Sullivan continues to show steady improvement as he just missed the 500 mark with a 6-7-3 day which gave him the twelfth seed. Larry Durham’s five wins were good for thirteenth. Lee Hendelman won two and tied 2 finishing in fourteenth. Mike Gershon had three wins and was fifteenth. Derek Nisbett recorded a win and a tie to finish sixteenth. The NYTHL’s newest member Dennis Simone did not manage a win, but had some competitive games as he finished seventeenth. On to the playoffs.
With George Slater unavailable, all seeds below him moved up one seed. The sixteen players did battle in a best of five Preliminary Round. The Vinner Swept Dennis Simone. The Stein swept Derek Nisbett. Chris D’Andrea swept Lee Hendelman. Anthony Sciacca swept Mike Gershon. Dave Reid also swept Larry Durham. Fred Tinao defeated Brian Sullivan in four games. Len Mecca Swept past Robert Brancucci. In what was by far the best series of the round, Bob D’Addario defeated Walter Zissler in five games culminating with a 5-4 victory in game five. It was now time for the Quarter-Finals.
The One seed Vinny Catania matched up against eighth seed Bob D’Addario in a rematch of last year’s Championship. The Vinner earned a hard fought game one victory 9-5. The Bob O responded with a 4-1 victory of his own to tie the series. The Vinner managed to win a close game three by a 3-2 score, and then won the series with a 5-4 overtime victory in game four to take the closely contested series 3-1. The two seed Steve Bernstein dropped the first two games to seventh seeded Len Mecca by scores of 6-3 and 4-3 in overtime. The Stein then showed all why he is one of the all time greats of table hockey. Steve won the next three by scores of 4-1, 4-3 and 4-2 to win the series in five. Three seed Chris D’Andrea swept six seed Fred Tinao in three close games. D’Andrea was victorious by scores of 1-0, 4-3 and 3-2 to advance. The Final spot in the Semi-Finals was earned by fifth seed Dave Reid. He swept past Anthony Sciacca by scores of 7-3 and identical 2-1 scores with both games going to overtime. It was now time for the Final Four.
In the Semis the top seeded Vinny Catania ended Dave Reid’s impressive run as he swept past Reid by scores of 5-1, 3-2 and 5-1. On the other side second seed Steve Bernstein was taken out by the more experienced Chris D’Andrea in a sweep. Chris won by scores of 6-3, 6-2 and 4-3 in overtime. It was another D’Andrea versus Catania in the Final
In the First League Date Final of the new year, top seed Vinny Catania went on to sweep past three seed Chris D’Andrea in three very close games. The Vinner took the first title of the new season, winning by identical scores of 3-2, 3-2 and 3-2. It is becoming very apparent that many players are on the Vinner’s heels and are ready to make a run to dethrone him.
The third place game/series was not played, thus Steve “The Stein” Bernstein finished third by virtue of the standings. In the “B” Playoffs in Quarter-Final action #9 Walter Zissler swept #16 Dennis Simone. Robert Brancucci #10 swept past #15 Derek Nisbett. Larry Durham #12 defeated #13 Mike Gershon in four games. Lee Hendelman #14 took out # 11 Brian Sullivan in a sweep. In the “B” Semi-Finals #9 Walter defeated # 14 Lee in a sweep by scores of 4-1, 5-4 and 3-2 in overtime. In the other Semi, #12 Larry also swept #10 Robert by scores of 7-5, 7-4, and 6-1. In the “B” Championship #9 Walter Zissler swept # 12 Larry Durham by three close scores of 2-1 in overtime, 3-2 and 3-2 in overtime.
Another great season is underway as league date one is now history. The New York Table Hockey League Continues to grow and it’s because of the great fun you can have with so many wonderful people. If you love hockey and more importantly – table hockey don’t let history pass you by. Become part of it. You too can join us. What are you waiting for? GET BEHIND THE RODS AND IN THE GAME! Hopefully we will see you at League Date II.