The NYTHL’s Fourth league date of the 2020-2021 season kicked off this past Saturday at Plycon in East Northport, New York. With all Covid-19 safety precautions in place - eleven players from four states competed in a double round robin and playoffs. The day featured the return of Walter Zissler and Phil Lynch. Phil had his best league day to date as he continues to ascend. Chris D’Andrea continues to tear up the competition as he had another big day. Unfortunately, both Phil and Chris had to bow out early and did not compete in the playoff portion of the league date. Paul Crescitelli the league’s newest player showed remarkable improvement from his debut last month as he stormed his way into the semi-finals. Bob D’Addario improved upon last month’s Semi-Final appearance as he forged his way into the Finals by sweeping his way through the first two rounds. Vinny Catania also swept his way into the Finals thus setting up a matchup between the hottest two players who happen to be cross-town rivals. Let’s see how things unfolded by reviewing the day.
This month’s league date featured many tough battles and the emergence of rising powers Paul Crescitelli and Phil Lynch. The top 7 players automatically would advance into the Quarter-Finals of the playoffs. The eight and nine seed would then do battle with each other in a best of three series to complete the Quarter-Final field. Players within the league continue to improve and as a result many new rivalries are being born. Vinny “The Vinner” Catania was defeated twice during double round robin play before he won his final 13 games consecutively, finishing 18-2-0 for the top seed. Chris D’Andrea had another great day as he finished second with a 15-4-0 mark. Third seed went to Bob D’Addario who compiled a 9-7-4 record for the third seed. Phil Lynch who had to leave early, finished with a personal best 8-3-5 record which would have given him the third seed. He will make up the four games he missed later in the season. Missing four games – Lynch finished in fourth place. George Slater finished 5th with a 9-8-3 tally. Paul Crescitelli showed tremendous improvement since his debut last month as he finished just below the 500 mark with a 7-8-5 record which earned him the 6th spot. The Rod Warrior Len Mecca did not have one of his best days as he finished a disappointing 7-10-3 landing him in the seventh spot. Larry Durham and Anthony Sciacca each finished with 13 points, but Larry had an extra win and defeated Sciacca in both round robin meetings to give himself the eighth seed, thus dropping Anthony to Ninth. Brian Sullivan continues to show steady improvement as he earned five wins finishing in the tenth spot. The returning Walter Zissler finished eleventh with three wins as he continues to learn and improve. Let’s move on to the playoff tournament summary.
Unfortunately Chris D’Andrea and Phil Lynch had to exit after round robin play concluded – as a result a few players moved up in rank. The top seven seeds received a bye while the eight seed Brian Sullivan and nine seed Walter Zissler would do battle in a best of three to see who would join the top seven in the Quarter-Finals. Brian and Walter engaged in a defensive war in game one as the two played an entire game and then another four minutes of overtime before Walt slammed home the winning goal to earn a 1-0 victory. Zissler then finished the series with another close victory over Sullivan 5-4 to sweep the series 2-0 and advance to the Quarter-Finals. Let’s move on.
The top seeded League Champion Vinny Catania quickly ended the ninth seeded Walter Zissler’s day by sweeping past him by scores of 8-1, 7-1 and 3-0. For Catania it was on to the Semis. For Walter it was part of the learning process. Now second seeded Bob D’Addario engaged in battle with seven seed Anthony Sciacca. The Bob O swept his way through Anthony by winning game one 3-2 in overtime. D’Addario followed that up with victories of 5-3 and 2-1 to advance to his second straight league date Semi-Final. Third seed George Slater had to work a bit harder to defeat sixth seed Larry Durham. Larry took game one 4-2. George evened the series with a 3-2 victory. Slater then took the final two contests by scores of 5-3 and 4-3 in overtime to advance. It looks as if another rivalry added a new chapter. In the final series of the round, now fourth seed Paul Crescitelli battled the veteran fifth seed Len Mecca. Although Mecca was the lower seed, his experience and ability made him a big favorite. Paul didn’t get that memo as he downed Len 3-1 in game one and the followed that up with a 6-5 overtime victory in game two. As always, Len improves as a series gets deeper and he dominated Paul in game three with a convincing 5-0 conquest. Not unnerved at all – Crescetilli took down Len 2-1 in game four to earn an upset victory and propel him into the next round. We move to the Semi-Finals.
With the highest four seeds all advancing - Top seeded Vinny Catania was to do battle with four seed Paul Crescetilli. Paul’s remarkable performance on the day served as a reminder that he is an up and coming player that will continue to improve. The Vinner did put an end to Paul’s day by sweeping past him by scores of 3-0, 6-3 and 6-2. Catania advanced to another Final and Paul gained valuable experience that will no doubt help him in the future. Second seed Bob D’Addario would then challenge bitter rival George Slater with a trip to the finals on the line. Bob had recently dominated George by winning the last three round robin games and a sweep of their Quarter-Final series last month for a total of six straight victories over George. The Bob O continued his recent domination over George by sweeping past him again by scores of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3. The win was the ninth straight for Bob over George which then set up a final between him and cross town rival Vinny Catania. Both Finalists had swept their way through the first two rounds, setting up a clash between two of the hottest players for the League Date IV crown.
With both players playing well and on winning streaks, something had to give in the League Date Four Final. The Bob O drew first blood as he cooled down The Vinner with a 3-2 victory in game one. The Vinner then cooled Bob off by returning the favor with a 3-2 victory of his own to tie the series. In a pivotal game three The Vinner edged Bob 3-1 to take a two games to one lead. Facing elimination – D’Addario erased two – one goal deficits in the last minute to get the game to overtime. The Vinner then dashed the hopes of an upset by turning away the Bob O in overtime by a score of 4-3, thus winning the series three games to one. D’Addario played an excellent series and made the defending champ work hard for this most recent title. It was the Vinner’s sixteenth consecutive League Date victory. The Bob O placed second and George Slater by virtue of the standings finished third.
Four league dates are now in the books. Because our games are held at a spacious social distant venue where masks must be worn to compete and plenty of precautions are taken to ensure safety – we are one of the few leagues in North America still going. Great friends, Great food and great competition provide for a wonderful experience. The league continues to grow with players who continue to improve every time out. The quality people who comprise the league is what makes it so special. Our next league date will be Saturday February 20, 2021. Get behind the rods and get on the game! Come join us. See you next month.