The NYTHL’s sixth league date of the 2021-2022 season occurred this past Saturday and it was an extraordinary day! The action was Intense at Rab’s Country Lanes in Staten Island, New York. Fifteen players from five states competed in a single round robin followed by a full playoff tournament. The day was highlighted by table hockey legend Kenny Dubois paying a visit and competing in the League Date. Would the players of the New York Table Hockey League have what it took to give him a run for his money? Did Kenny dominate the day as predicted? Let’s review and find out.
League Date Six because of a larger 15-man field, featured a single round robin. N.Y.T.H.L. Champion Vinny Catania suffered just one tie heading into his final round robin game versus Kenny Dubois to decide who would finish first in round robin play. Kenny scored in the game’s opening and closing seconds to secure a 5-3 victory over Catania, thus earning him the one seed with an undefeated record of 14-0-0. Catania finished second, three points off the pace with a 12-1-1 mark. J.P. finished strong as always. Power was 10-3-1 which earned him the third seed. Chris D’Andrea finished fourth at 9-3-2. Paul Crescitelli was two points behind Chris earning an 8-4-2 record for fifth. George Slater, after a slow start came on strong to finish 7-5-2 good for sixth. Larry Durham had his best league date in a long time as he continues to improve. L.D. was 6-5-3, finishing seventh. Len Mecca struggled at 6-6-2 for the eight seed. Arnie Layton continues to improve at a very rapid pace. He won the “B” Playoffs last month at League Date Five. Arnie finished 5-7-2 which landed him ninth. Bob D’Addario finished a disappointing tenth at 4-7-3. Brian Sullivan was eleventh, finishing just one point behind Bob. Walter finished twelfth, one point behind Brian. Lee Hendlemen is improving, but is also learning that the sport of table hockey is not as easy as he thought. Lee finished thirteenth with one win and four ties. Mike Gershon also had a win, but had just 2 ties and finished fourteenth. Finally Derek Nisbett managed just one tie as he finished fifteenth. Derek is showing signs of improvement and should start compiling some wins soon. It’s now time to for the playoff recap.
This month with fifteen players, the one seed Kenny Dubois would receive a bye. The remaining fourteen would each play a best of five series to see which seven winners would join Kenny in the Quarter-Finals of the “A” playoffs. The seven who lost would move down to comprise the “B” tournament. The Vinner swept past Derek as did J.P. over Mike. Chris swept Lee, and Paul swept Walter. George took out Brian in a three game sweep. The most competitive preliminary round series Occurred when the ten seed Bob D’Addario defeated seven seed Larry Durham in five games. On to the Quarter-Finals
Kenny Dubois had no trouble defeating and ending Bob D’Addario’s day in a three game sweep, by scores of 8-3, 6-3 and 7-1. The Vinner earned his way into the Semi-Finals by sweeping past Len Mecca in three close games 3-2, 5-3 and 1-0. J.P. survived George in four games. After splitting the first two, J.P. won 4-3 and 4-2 to close out the series. Finally in the closest series of the day, Chris D’Andrea defeated Paul Crescitelli in five games. Chris took games one and two by scores of 2-1 and 6-3. Paul rallied to tie the series winning games three and four by scores of 3-1 and 2-1. Chris with the home rink advantage – took down Paul 3-2 to win the series by the same margin. To the Semis we go.
The Semi-Finals featured the Great Kenny Dubois against Chris D’Andrea. Chris had advanced to three league date finals already this year, but getting to a fourth on this day would be a task too tall. Dubois pummeled Chris 10-0 in game one then breezed to a 5-0 shutout over Chris. Chris performed better when the series shifted to his board, but it wasn’t enough. In what would be Kenny’s closest victory of the day, Kenny took game three by a 3-2 margin to sweep the series. The other Semi-Final was between N.Y.T.H.L. Champ (second seed on the day) Vinny Catania and the very talented third seed John Power. J.P. took the lead in game one with 16 seconds left, only to have The Vinner comeback and tie it with just three seconds remaining. Catania then won the game in a very exciting back and forth overtime which featured a ton of great saves by both players. It’s safe to say The Vinner stole game one by a 4-3 margin. J.P. dominated game two and if not for a goal by the Vinner in the last thirty seconds, J.P. would have had the shutout. Instead Power tied the series with a 3-1 win. The Vinner survived an intense battle of the defenses in game three, winning by a razor thin 2-1 score. The Vinner pulled away in game four with a 7-2 victory to move on to the Finals versus Dubois.
In a matchup most people wanted to see - League Champion Vinny Catania would face table hockey legend Kenny Dubois. Dubois defeated Catania in the Finals of League Date two in the 2017-2018 season by sweep. The next month of that season at League Date Three – The Vinner stormed out to a two games to none lead in that Final. Dubois exhibited his greatness by storming back to take the final three games to win that series. This was their first N.Y.T.H.L. matchup since. In game one - what was really the only close game of the series, Kenny broke a 3-3 tie late in the game then added an insurance goal to secure a 5-3 victory. Dubois then put on a clinic, scoring beautiful goals from all directions. Kenny strung together three, four and five passes in a flash to score goals that were virtually impossible to stop. Dubois dominated game two, shutting out Catania 6-0. The Vinner was hoping for some success as the series shifted over to his board. It only slowed Kenny Slightly. Dubois won the game 4-1 to sweep the series. Catania stated “It was great to have Kenny come down and compete. As always he makes you see what can be possible on the board and gives us all something to shoot for”. As always Kenny was gracious in winning and with his time as he was willing to help anyone who had questions about their game. Dubois has some big things brewing and when the time is right – we will let you know what those things are. Kenny’s win also halted The Vinner’s streak of 26 consecutive League Date Titles. It is only fair to note that Dubois did not compete in any of those league dates. In the third place consolation series, John Power edged past Chris D’Andrea two games to one.
The seven players who lost in the preliminary round then played a “B” playoff tournament. In Quarter-Final action, seven seed Larry Durham received a bye. Arnie swept past Derek in three games. Brian also won in a sweep over Mike. Walter Zissler also won via a sweep to advance. In the Semi-Finals, Larry won a thrilling series against Walter. Larry won three games to two. Durham won game four 2-1 and game five 4-3, both in overtime. Arnie defeated Brian three games to one to join Durham in the “B” Final. All were close games except for game four when Arnie earned his way into the Final with a 4-0 triumph over Sullivan. In the “B” Final, Arnie took game one 4-3. Larry tied the series with a 6-3 victory. Arnie took game three by a 3-2 score. Larry again tied the series with a 4-3 win. The back and forth action continued, as Arnie won game five 4-3 to take the series 3-2 games and earn his second straight League Date “B” Championship.
Another great day was in the books. We have now had a record twenty-three players participate so far this season with nonstop action. New friendships have created new rivalries. As we always say in the NYTHL - With great players, a great venue and the best games to play on - What are you waiting for? Come on down and check out the action, or better yet – jump right in. GET BEHIND THE RODS AND GET IN THE GAME! You will be glad you did. Our next date is Saturday April 9, 2022. For more info go to www.nythl.com. See you next month.