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The NYTHL’s sixth league date of the season took place on Saturday March 16, 2024 at Rab’s on Staten Island.  It featured thirteen competitors from four different states and two countries. League date 5 winner Dave Reid once again made his way from Ennismore Ontario.   Most of the league’s heavy hitters were in attendance with just a few absent.  For the day, each player would play a double round robin totaling twenty four games.  The players were then ranked according to the day’s standings.  The top eight players would qualify for the “A” playoffs.  The bottom five would compete in the “B” Playoffs.   At the conclusion of double round robin action, Vinny “The Vinner” Catania finished in the top spot with a 21-2-1 record totaling 43 points.  Dave Reid who was equally as impressive with 43 points finished second due to having one less win than Catania at 20-1-3.  His only round robin loss coming to Bob D’Addario.  George Slater who played very well was third with a 16-5-3 mark.  Chris D’Andrea also played well finishing fourth with a 15-7-2 record.  The “Bob O” Bob D’Addario was fifth (14-7-3).  Len Mecca sixth was 12-7-5.  The ageless Anthony Sciacca who is probably playing his best table hockey ever was 13-10-1 good for seventh.  The last spot in the “A” Playoff (eighth) was taken by Rob Brancucci who finished 8-9-7.  Walter Zissler 9th (7-14-3), Phil Brancucci 10th (5-18-1), Lee Hendelman 11th (5-18-1) Dennis Simone twelfth (3-19-2) and Mike Digiulio thirteenth (1-23-0) would all compete for the month’s “B” title.  On to the playoffs.

     In the “A” Best of Five Quarterfinal Round, one seed Vinny Catania swept past a game eight seed Rob Brancucci by scores of 6-3, 5-3 and 8-4.  The two seed Dave Reid also swept a very tough seven seed Anthony Sciacca by scores of 2-1, 5-2 and 2-0.  The third seed George Slater was not as fortunate as he dropped the first two games of his series to six seed Len Mecca by scores of 5-1 and 4-3.  Slater showed some fight in game three, winning by a 4-2 margin.  In game four – Mecca proved to be too much as he closed out the series with a 3-1 victory, thus winning the series by the same tally.  In what turned out to be the best series of the day, bitter rivals four seed Chris D’Andrea and five seed Bob D’Addario once again locked horns.  D’Addario has had his way with Chris in recent times and was always eager to tell all who would listen about it.  Bragging rights on this day however went to D’Andrea.  Chris won game one 4-3.  The Bob O took the next two games by scores of 4-3 and 2-1, winning both in overtime.  D’Andrea who was on the brink won game four rather easily 6-2 to tie the series.  Chris then turned the tables on D’Addario by defeating him 2-1 to take the series in five.  The Semi-Finals were now set. 

     In the Semis the one seed Vinny Catania took games one and two rather easily against six seed Len Mecca by scores of 7-0 and 8-3.  As Len often does, he improves as a series goes on.  A change of venue to his home Flyer’s board was just what the doctor ordered.  Len defeated The Vinner in overtime on a save that deflected all the way into the Vinner’s net for a 3-2 Mecca victory.  The Vinner rebounded by closing out the series in four with a 5-2 triumph.  Catania moved on to the League Date Six Final.  Two seed Dave Reid  took on four seed Chris D’Andrea.  Reid took games one and two by scores of 7-4 and 3-0.  Chris fought back taking game three 3-2.  Dave Reid punched his ticket to a third straight League Date Final by defeating Chris 5-3 to win the series three games to one.  A rematch of the prior two month’s Finals would now take place between Vinny “The Vinner” Catania and Dave Reid.    

     For a third straight month Catania and Reid matched up in the Finals.  The Vinner had sweeps of  Reid this season in the League Date One Semi-Final and the League Date Four Final.  Catania was on his way to another sweep in the League Date Five Final after he took the first two games.  Reid had other plans as he stormed back to take the next three enroute to the league date title.  Reid tied and defeated the Vinner earlier in the day during round robin play.  The stage was now set.  In game one The Vinner stormed out to a 3-0 lead, then hung on for a 3-2 victory.  In game two Reid had a 4-3 lead until 28 seconds left when the Vinner connected on a Leftwing to Center tip in to tie it.  The Vinner then scored on a rightwing to center tip in for the go ahead goal with just eight seconds left.  Reid then connected on a rightwing to center tip, but hit the post with four seconds remaining then had his final attempt picked off and cleared for a 5-4 Catania victory.  The Series like last month then shifted over to Reid’s home Ennismore board.  The Vinner having been in this position before knew he needed to close out the series.  In what was another close battle – The Vinner would eventually pull away for a 5-2 victory thus earning him a 3-0 series win.  The Vinner took his fourth League Date victory of the year.  As for these two – it was just another of what will be many battles to come.  In a short time – Reid has become a force to be reckon with.    

     In the “B” Playoffs – twelfth seed Dennis Simone defeated thirteen seed Mike Digiulio 2-1 games in their best of three play in series.    Dennis then moved into the Semi-Finals where he was defeated by nine seed Walter Zissler who swept the series by scores of 6-1, 6-1 and 3-1.  Ten seed Lee Hendelman swept past eleven seed Phil Brancucci by scores of 7-2, 6-1 and 5-3.  A League Date Six “B” Final between number nine seed Walter and number eleven seed Lee was set.  Walter Zissler had a disappointing round robin, but made short work of Lee in the Final.  Walter swept the series - winning by scores of 2-1, 6-4 and 7-1 to take this month’s “B” title as he ended his day on a good note.

     Another exciting league date is in the books.  Next month many of the regulars who missed this month will be back.  The league continues to grow as more and more are being turned on to this great sport.  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 VII on Saturday April 20, 2024.


See you next month – Be Well!


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