The NYTHL’s second league date was held on Saturday November 18th with seventeen participants in all. The day featured players from five different states. J.P. – John Power made his 2023-2024 season debut, and played outstanding as he finished second in round robin play and went on to win the League Date II Playoff tournament. Paulie Crescitelli also made his season debut and played very well. With seventeen players present - a single round robin was played along with a full playoff tournament as is the case every month. By day’s end Vinny Catania and J.P. were left to do battle for the League date two crown. Let’s review the action packed day.
League Date II was underway. Seventeen players meant that each player would play sixteen games, one against each opponent. After the round robin the sixteen seed would play a single game elimination against the seventeenth seed. That winner would join the other fifteen players to play in the Preliminary round. The eight winners would then move on to the “A” Quarter-Finals. The eight who lost would move into the “B” Quarter-Finals, so on and so forth. At the conclusion of round robin action – League Champion Vinny Catania led the field with an identical 15-0-1 mark that he had at League date one, earning him the top spot. J.P. – John Power played very well after a lengthy absence as he finished in second with a 13-1-2 record; his only setback was a 5-1 loss to The Vinner. J.P. would get his revenge later on in the playoffs. Paulie Crescitelli made his season debut as he traveled from New Hampshire and played to a 9-4-3 mark which gave him the third seed. League veteran Len Mecca asserted himself with a strong day finishing at 10-6-0 landing him as the fourth seed. The Stein – Steve Bernstein had another strong showing as he continues to gain experience on the S-Slot. Steve finished 9-5-2 (fifth). Bob D’Addario had the same mark but finished sixth because of his head to head loss against Bernstein. Chris D’Andrea finished seventh at 9-6-1. Walter Zissler had another good day as his game continues to grow. Walter was 8-5-3 on the day which earned him the eighth seed. Fred Tinao was 8-6-2 (ninth). Brian Sullivan had his strongest day to date as he finished over the 500 mark. Brian was 8-7-1 which gave him the tenth seed. Rob Brancucci finished eleventh at 6-7-3. Lee Hendelman continues to show improvement as he finished 6-9-1 and in twelfth. Anthony Sciacca struggled in the round robin finishing with the same record as Lee, but lost the tie break and was the thirteen seed. Larry Durham struggled at 3-9-4 and was fourteenth. Dennis Simone recorded three victories and was fifteenth. Rob Howard (16th) and Derek Nisbett (17th) rounded out the field. On to the playoffs.
To open the playoffs – sixteen seed Derek Nisbett survived the one game elimination play in game versus Rob Howard by defeating him 2-1 to move on to the Preliminary round. From this point on – all series were now best of five. Sixteen players then battled in the Preliminary round . The Vinner ended Derek’s day by sweeping him. J.P. swept past Dennis. Paulie Crescitelli swept Larry Durham. In the biggest upset of the round – Anthony Sciacca avenged his poor round robin and as a thirteen seed knocked of Len Mecca in four games. The Stein Steve Bernstein swept Lee Hendelman. In the battle of the Bobs - Bob D’Addario swept Rob Brancucci. Chris D’Andrea swept past Brian Sullivan and Fred Tinao defeated Walter Zissler in four games. It was now time for the Quarter-Finals.
The One seed Vinny Catania matched up against the surprisingly victorious thirteen seed Anthony Sciacca. As was the case last month Anthony played The Vinner tough but still lost in a sweep by scores of 3-2, 4-0 and 3-1. Two seed John Power won game one versus Fred Tinao by a 4-3 score. Fred then tied the series with a 3-2 victory. J.P. won a pivotal game three 4-3 in overtime, then closed out the series with another overtime victory by a 3-2 margin. Three seed Paul Crescitelli swept past Chris D’Andrea winning all three games by one goal - scores of 4-3, 1-0 and 1-0 (forfeit). The Stein – Steve Bernstein then defeated 2022-2023 League Finalist Bob D’Addario in four games. The Stein took games one and two by scores of 2-1 and 9-6. The Bob O then won game three 6-4. The Stein then finished Bob off with a solid 4-1 victory to move on. It was now time for the Semi-Finals.
In the Semis the top seeded Vinny Catania had all kinds of problems against The Stein. Bernstein took the opening game 2-1. The Vinner rebounded with a strong 4-0 shutout to tie the series at a game each. The Stein played outstanding on defense and had Catania down 1-0 in the third game of the series. With just twenty one seconds left, The Vinner hit a defensive pico to tie the score and force overtime, then scored in OT to take a 2-1 series lead. The Vinner used the momentum from game three to finally defeat The Stein with a 5-2 victory in game four to earn a spot in the finals with a three games to one triumph. Another strong outing by Bernstein signifies that he is coming on strong at a very rapid rate. Two seed J.P. then took on three seed Paulie Crescitelli in a thrilling series. Power took the opening game 5-3 then followed that with a 4-0 shutout. Paulie staved off elimination with a 6-5 overtime victory to pull within a game. Game four also went to overtime, but this one went the way of John Power as he won 3-2 to take the series three games to one and earn a spot versus The Vinner in the League Date II Final
No one has done more for the sport of table hockey In the New York Metropolitan area than John Power has. If it weren’t for him there would be no NYTHL. Power formed the NYCTHL which was the predecessor for this aforementioned league. He has always been not only a great player, but a great friend to all his peers within the league. In the eight prior years of the league Lou Marinoff and Vinny Catania won virtually every league date there was with a few exceptions. In recent years J.P. has struggled in his efforts to defeat Catania in the playoffs whether it be at a league date or an end of season championship. On this day however J.P. was determined to change that and after much hard work – he was poised to do so. J.P. took game one of the final with a 5-3 victory. With the way J.P. was playing it was crucial for The Vinner to win game two. That did not happen. J.P. led much of the way and held off Catania for a 6-5 victory and a commanding two games to none lead. The Vinner bore down and slowed the momentum of J.P., but only for a bit as The Vinner won game three by a 4-1 margin. Determined not to let the series slip away, John Power put forth his best effort yet as he took down Catania rather easily 5-2 to take the series three games to one. J.P. had finally broken through and many who watched - felt as good as he did. The Vinner made no excuses as he said “J.P. was simply the better player today”. J.P. was The League Date II Champion and it couldn’t have been won by a more deserving player.
The third place game/series was not played, thus Paul Crescitelli finished third by virtue of the standings. In the “B” Playoffs in Quarter-Final action Len Mecca received a bye. Walter Zissler #8 swept #15 Dennis Simone. Larry Durham #14 defeated #10 Brian Sullivan three games to one. Lee Hendelman #12 defeated #11 Rob Brancucci in four games as well. In the “B” Semi-Finals #4 Len Mecca defeated #14 Larry Durham in a sweep by scores of 4-2, 3-0 and 5-2. In the other Semi, #8 Walter also swept #12 Lee Hendelman by tallies of 4-2, 2-1, and 4-2. In the “B” Championship #4 Len Mecca dropped the first game to #8 Walter Zissler in a 2-1 nail biter. Len then went on to sweep the next three games by scores of 5-2, 5-2 and 3-2 in overtime to capture the League Date II “B” title.
Another league date is now history. The New York Table Hockey League continues to grow and the reason is simple - great people who enjoy playing the great game of table hockey. Because of its improving players the NYTHL is more exciting than ever. 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 III on December 9th.