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The NYTHL’s second League date of its eighth season took place this past Saturday with sixteen participants from four different states. The league welcomed back John Power for his season debut, but was missing The Chief who was out because of a bad back. Rookies Fred Tinao and Robert Brancucci returned and played well in their second date in three weeks. The competition was so heavily contested that league powers Paul Crescitelli and John Power finished sixth and seventh respectively in round robin play. Len Mecca flexed his muscle finishing in second and George Slater once again made the finals on the day before being defeated by Vinny Catania for a second straight month. Let’s review the day.

With sixteen players present a single round robin was held consisting of fifteen games. Defending League Champion Vinny Catania led the field with a perfect 15-0-0 record. Len Mecca once again showed why he is such a great player by finishing strong with a 10-2-3 mark for second. George Slater had another fine day finishing 3rd with a 9-2-4 record. Bob D’Addario and Chris D’Andrea each finished with 21 points. Bob’s one more win (10-4-1) secured him the fourth seed. D’Andrea’s 9-3-3 record landed him as the fifth seed. Paul Crescitelli at 8-3-4 was sixth. Amazingly John Power after a slow start finished 9-5-1 which earned him the seven seed. Rookie Fred Tinao in just his second league date played to a 7-6-2 record which was good for eighth. Larry Durham continues to improve as he earned the nine seed with a 6-5-4 mark. Speaking of improvement Walter Zissler is slowly creeping upward. Walt finished 5-7-3 and only gave up one more goal than he scored on the day. He was in the ten spot. Anthony Sciacca despite playing well, finished just 4-8-3 and in eleventh. Just one point behind him was Robert Brancucci. Rob who also made just his second appearance was very competitive out of the twelfth spot. Lee Hendelman thirteenth is starting to show significant improvement, Brian Sullivan (Fourteenth) had a disappointing round robin but was much better in the playoff round. Mike Gershon (fifteenth) and Derek Nisbett (sixteenth) rounded out the field. On to the playoffs.

This month was easy. Sixteen players meant everyone started out in the best of three preliminary round. The eight winners would compete in the “A” Playoffs with the eight who lost moving into the consolation “B” Playoffs. The remainder of the playoffs would consist of best of fives. The number one seed Vinny Catania took out the number sixteen Derek Nisbett by scores of 7-1 and 3-0. The two seed Len Mecca easily defeated Mike Gershon 4-3 and 10-0. Third seed George Slater was tested by fourteen seed Brian Sullivan. Slater needed overtime in game one for a 4-3 win and then won 3-2 in another hard fought contest. Fourth seed Bob D’Addario swept Lee Hendleman by 3-1 and 5-1 scores. Number six Chris D’Andrea swept Robert Brancucci 6-0, 6-2 respectively. In the upset of the day the eleven seed Anthony Sciacca defeated six seed Paul Crescitelli. Sciacca took game one 4-3, then Paulie won game two by the same score to force a deciding third game. Sciacca then used his stellar box defense to hold off Paulie 3-2 to pull off the surprising upset. Paulie has been so good since entering the league that this defeat meant for the first time he would be competing in the “B” and not the “A” playoffs. After dropping game one 3-2, seven seed John Power rallied to take game two 5-3 and game three 5-4 over ten seed Walter Zissler to advance. Rookie eight seed Fred Tinao swept past nine seed Larry Durham by winning game one 4-3 in overtime then following that up with a 2-1 win to advance. On to the Quarter-Finals.

The One seed Vinny Catania allowed just two goals in three games over his surprise opponent the eleven seed Anthony Sciacca. The Vinner swept the series by scores of 5-1, 4-0, and 5-1. Second Seed Len Mecca also swept past number eight Fred Tinao by scores of 8-4, 3-2, and 6-2. George Slater out of the third spot had a much tougher task versus number seven John Power. George took game one 5-4. J.P. tied the series in game two with a 7-6 overtime win. George took game three in overtime 6-5, then closed the series with another overtime victory of 3-2. Their series consisted of all one goal games with three of the four needing extra time. It was a shame that only George could move on. The Final spot in the Semi-Finals was earned when five seed Chris D’Andrea easily swept passed his bitter rival the four seed Bob D’Addario by scores of 2-1, 4-2 and 4-3. We move to the Semis.

How long the top seeded Vinner can hold off great players like five seed Chris D’Andrea is unknown. What is known is that although Catania swept past Chris, he had a battle on his hands in every game. The Vinner moved on – winning all three by one goal (3-2, 6-5, and 4-3). His opponent in the Final was determined when Third seed George Slater surprisingly swept second seed league veteran Len Mecca. George advanced with victories of 7-4, 3-2 and 5-1. For the second straight time in two league dates it was Vinny Catania versus George Slater in the Final.

After being swept at league date one, George knew he needed to keep the Vinner’s goals to a minimum. He was able to do that in game one, but was unable to find the net himself, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Catania. The Vinner followed that up with another shutout in a dominating 7-0 victory. George did find the net three times in game three but was turned aside by The Vinner who took the series in another three game sweep with a 5-3 victory. The 15-0-0 round robin and 11-0 record in the playoffs meant Catania finished a perfect 26-0-0 on the day.

In the consolation “B” playoff Quarter-Finals (6) Paulie swept past (16) Derek, (9) Larry swept past (15) Mike, (14) Brian Sullivan came back to upset (10) Walter in five games, and (13) Lee defeated (12) Robert in another very exciting five game series. In the Semi-Finals (6) Paulie dropped the first two games to (14) Brian Sullivan by scores of 4-2 and 3-2. As well as Brian was playing, Paulie then rallied by taking the next two games 6-3 and 5-3. In the deciding game five, these two battled into overtime before Paulie completed the comeback with an exciting 2-1 victory to win the series. In the other half of the bracket, (9) Larry defeated (13) Lee in game one 6-1. The much improved Hendleman tied the series with a 3-2 victory. Larry then pulled away, winning the next two by tallies of 5-2 and 4-0 to advance to the “B” Finals against Paulie Crescitelli. The Finals did not disappoint. The favored Paulie was beaten in game one by Larry 8-7 in overtime. Larry again defeated Paulie in game two 3-1 pushing Paulie to the brink of elimination. Crescitelli displayed his mettle by once again rallying. Paulie won games three and four by scores of 5-3 and 7-1 to tie the series. The deciding game five was a one goal contest until Paulie scored late in the game to put Larry away and win his second straight series by rallying from 2-0 game deficits before winning the final three. Paulie made the most of his day by winning the “B” title - finishing ninth overall. Larry had a strong finish (second in the “B” and tenth overall). In the future I wouldn’t expect to see Paulie in very many if at all any “B” tournaments and much of the same could be said for Larry.

Another great League Date is in the NYTHL history archives. I beg to ask this: With such a great venue, so many great people and superior SOHO Classic S-Slot games to play on – What are you waiting for? GET BEHIND THE RODS AND IN THE GAME! See you next month!


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