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The NYTHL’s fourth league date of the season took place on Saturday January 20, 2024 at Rab’s on Staten Island.  It featured sixteen competitors from four different states and two countries.  Dave Reid made his second league date of the year, making his way from Ennismore Ontario.  Dave represented the E.T.H.L. very well, both on and off the board.  He is first class all the way.   Speaking of class - It also marked the debut of Joe Wuensch Jr. from Staten Island.  All sixteen players competed in a round robin totaling fifteen games.  The players were then ranked according to the day’s standings and would then compete in a best of five Preliminary Round.  The eight winners would move on to the “A” Playoffs and the eight who lost would compete in the “B” playoffs.  At the conclusion of round robin, Vinny “The Vinner” Catania finished in the top spot with an unblemished 15-0-0 record.  The afore mentioned Dave Reid finished in the second spot with a strong 11-3-1 mark - good for 23 points.  George Slater after a month off came back playing well finishing 11-4-0 (22 points).  Chris D’Andrea performed well as usual, playing to a 10-4-1 record (4th place).  Rob Brancucci continues to grow his game and play well.  He rounded out the top five as he earned an 8-4-3 record.  Walter Zissler, Brian Sullivan and Lee Hendelman continue to show steady improvement.  Joe Wuensch played well in his debut as he recorded two wins and a tie.  He is destined to make a quick impact.  With the round robin concluded, it was on to the playoffs

     In the Preliminary Round, Vinny Catania, Dave Reid, George Slater, Chris D’Andrea and Rob Brancucci all swept their best of five playoff series.  Bob D’Addario needed four games to get past Anthony Sciacca.  Len Mecca and Walter Zissler each needed five games to advance.   In the Best of Five Quarter-Finals one seed Vinny Catania swept nine seed Len Mecca by scores of 7-6 OT, 4-1 and 3-2.  Chris D’Andrea downed Rob Brancucci in a sweep by scores of 5-3, 4-2 and 7-3.  Six Seed and self proclaimed “second best in the league” Bob D’Addario played well in eliminating Three seed George Slater via a sweep by scores of 5-1, 4-2 and 2-1 in overtime.  Dave Reid had to go the distance before downing his practice partner Walter Zissler in five games.  The Semi-Finals were now set. 

     The one seed Vinny Catania took on the six seed Bob D’Addario.  The “Bob O” kept things close but still lost in a three game sweep.  After trailing in game one 3-1, the Vinner came back to win 6-5 in overtime.  Catania then won games two and three by scores of 4-1 and 3-2.  In the other half of the bracket – Two time Stanley Cup Champion, and now formidable table hockey player Dave Reid swept past Chris D’andrea in very impressive fashion.  Reid overwhelmed Chris, winning by scores of 6-2, 3-2 and 4-0. 

     The one seed Vinny Catania and the two seed Dave Reid were set to meet in the Final.  Dave Reid put a scare into the Vinner in his first ever NYTHL appearance last year at League Date Six.  Reid took the Vinner to a fifth game before losing a close game to decide the series.  Earlier this year the Vinner defeated him in a three game sweep in the Semi-Finals of League Date One.  Now with the history out of the way it was time to the decide League Date Four Champon.  Game one was actually scoreless until about halfway through, but then The Vinner started connecting, scoring three quick goals then never looking back.  The Vinner took down Dave 8-2 in game one.  Catania played just as well in game two as he outscored Reid 7-1 to take a strong hold of the series 2-0 games.  The Vinner having learned from last year’s war with Dave, closed out the series by winning game three 7-2 to win the League Date 4 title.  The Vinner finished the day undefeated as he went 15-0-0 in round robin play then was 12-0 in the playoffs.


     In the “B” Playoffs Brian Sullivan defeated Dennis in four games.  Larry Durham also needed four games to win his series against Derek.  Anthony Sciacca swept past Joe Wuensch, while last month’s “B” Champion Lee Hendelman went the distance before defeating Phil Brancucci to advance.  In the Semi-Finals of the “B” Lee Hendelman swept past Brian Sullivan in three close games.  Lee took the series by scores of 1-0, 4-3 (OT), and 3-2 to advance to his second straight “B” Championship.  In the other half of the bracket Larry Durham took on the ageless Anthony Sciacca.  Larry took game one 6-2 then dropped game two 7-5.  Larry jumped back in the lead with a 2-1 win in game three.  Sciacca shut Larry out in game four to knot the series at two.  Larry finally won the series defeating Anthony 7-5 in game four to take the series 3-1.  The “B” Championship featured a matchup of Larry Durham versus Lee Hendeman.  Lee took it to Larry in game one, defeating him 7-3.  Larry then rebounded to tie the series with a 5-3 victory.  Lee retook the lead with a close 3-2 victory in game three.  Durham then staved off elimination by downing Lee 8-5 to knot the series at two apiece and force a deciding game five.  Game five was a nail biter, but it was Lee Hendelman coming out on top.  Lee nipped Larry by a 3-2 score to win his second straight League Date “B” title.  Both players are turning the corner and playing real well.       

     Another exciting league date is in the books and another calendar year is underway.  The league continues to grow as we have three new players who will soon be entering the league.  Dare I ask?  With great games to play and great people to compete on them – what are you waiting for?  Get behind the rods and Join the NYTHL.  Like so many others, you will be glad you did.  See you at League Date V on Saturday February 10, 2024.


See you next month - God Bless!


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