The NYTHL’s fifth league date of the 2020-2021 season kicked off this past Saturday at Plycon in East Northport, New York. All Covid 19 Safety Protocols were in effect as a season high 13 players from three states competed in a double round robin that totaled 24 games. Ron Giordano from Lindenhurst New York made his debut. Paul Crescitelli along with Brian Sullivan and “The Stein” Steve Bernstein all made their way from Massachusetts, It was the second appearance this year by The Stein. Paul ignored his broken wrist, playing in a cast as he braved his way through 24 games. It was also great to see the return of a New York table hockey icon – John Power. He too braved his way through the date. After another great day of table hockey - League Champion Vinny Catania would meet Bob D’Addario for a second month in a row to decide the League Date Five Championship. Let’s review the day.
This month’s format had only the top eight players qualifying for the “A” Playoffs. The remaining five players would compete in the “B” tournament. As play commenced, it didn’t take long to see this would be a highly competitive day. Vinny “The Vinner” Catania suffered consecutive losses to Bob D’Addario and Len Mecca. This put The Vinner at 2-2. Catania then was able to get things going and would not lose a game in his next twenty, finishing at the top with a 20-2-2 record. Len Mecca with his 13-4-7 record finished second. Chris D’Andrea finished two points behind Len at 13-6-5 for third. Bob D’Addario took fourth recording a 12-7-5 mark. Anthony Sciacca and Steve Bernstein each finished with an 11-7-6 record, but Sciacca was awarded the fifth seed because of his two head to head wins versus The Stein. Steve thus finished sixth. John Power went 12-9-3 on his return finishing seventh. George Slater clinched the last spot in the “A” Playoffs, finishing eighth with a record of 11-8-5. Brian Sullivan would take the top seed in the “B” playoffs finishing ninth overall. Paul Crescitelli finished tenth, but removed himself from the playoffs due to his wrist injury. Larry Durham took eleventh overall (second seed in “B”) with Walter Zissler finishing twelfth (Third seed in the “B”). Ron Giordano who made his debut managed just a tie, but played a number of very competitive games. He finished last on the day and was seeded fourth in the “B” playoffs.
With the top eight seeds competing in the “A” tournament, the best of five Quarter-Final round had some interesting matchups. George Slater seeded eighth was a very tough opening opponent for Vinny Catania. Although The Vinner swept George, all games were highly competitive with Catania winning by scores of 4-1, 5-3 and 3-1. Second seed Len Mecca had a very tough matchup against John Power. Unfortunately for Len – Power returned and he was ready to play. J.P. took out Len in four games to pull off the biggest upset of the day. Speaking of upsets, third seed Chris D’Andrea avoided one by squeaking past the Stein in five games. D’Andrea took the fifth and deciding game by a 4-2 score. Fourth seed Bob D’Addario advanced by sweeping past Anthony Sciacca by the narrow margins of 3-1, 5-4 and 3-2. On to the Semis.
Top seeded Vinny Catania took on seventh seed John Power in a highly competitive low scoring game one. With the score tied at one – Power broke through with just nine seconds left to take the lead. The Vinner then managed to tie the game four seconds later to force overtime and win the game in the extra session. That heartbreaking loss seemed to be too much to overcome as The Vinner rolled into the Finals with game two and three victories by scores of 5-2 and 9-1 respectively. It was on to another Final for Catania. Third seed Chris D’Andrea would Battle Bob D’Addario to see who would join The Vinner in the Finals. In what has become one of the league’s best rivalries – D’Andrea took game one 3-2. The Bob O returned the favor with a 3-2 Overtime victory of his own to tie the series. Chris again went ahead with a game three 7-4 triumph. The Bob O under great pressure – tied the series with a thrilling victory in overtime of game four, with a 4-3 victory. Game five was set and a defensive dogfight was on. Trailing 2-0, Bob rallied with four unanswered goals to take the series three games to two and move on to face The Vinner in the Finals for a second consecutive month. On to the Championship.
The Vinner wasted no time jumping out to a two goal lead on D’Addario. Bob then came back with two late goals to force overtime. That’s when the Vinner Struck for a 3-2 Overtime win. Unfortunately, the roof caved in on the Bob O who would not score another goal in the series. The Vinner routed Bob by scores of 7-0 and 5-0 in games two and three respectively to win the series, sweeping it in three games. This marked the seventeenth consecutive League Date victory by Catania. Bob D’Addario thus placed second on the day with Chris D’Andrea by virtue if the standings finishing third. In the “B” playoffs – Ninth seeded Brian Sullivan took the first two games from thirteenth seed Ron Giordano. Brian then surrendered game three to Ron Giordano by a score of 1-0. It was Ron’s first ever victory and shutout in league play. Sullivan then rolled to a 4-1 victory taking the series three games to one. Tenth seed Larry Durham met eleventh seed Walter Zissler for the right to go to the “B” Championship. Larry took game one 4-3, dropped game two 3-2 then took the final two games by scores of 6-2 and 5-3 to earn his spot versus Brian Sullivan in the “B” Final. Larry Durham had a little too much experience for the upstart Brian Sullivan. Larry took down Sullivan in a three game sweep by close scores of 3-2, 4-3 and 6-3. Larry took home the “B” title with Sullivan finishing second and Walter Zissler by virtue of standings finishing third.
Another outstanding League Date is in the books. It may now indeed be true – the claims by the Bob O that he is indeed the second best player in the league now. By having reached the Final in consecutive months gives merit to D’Addario’s claim. We will have to see how things unravel the rest of the way. If that wasn’t enough a surprise visit from table hockey legend Kenny Dubois capped the day. That will be featured in an accompanying news story. The New York Table Hockey League continues to grow. The hard work and dedication of everyone that participates in the league is the very backbone of why we continue to grow in numbers and have more and more fun. What are you waiting for? Come join us. See you next month and until then be well and stay safe.