TWO FAMILIAR FACES RETURN, TWO MEET IN FINAL – THE VINNER PREVAILS AT LEAGUE DATE FOUR.


The NYTHL’s fourth league date of the 2021-2022 season took place this past Saturday at Rab’s Country Lanes in Staten Island, New York. Thirteen players from four states competed in a double round robin that once again totaled 24 games. Table hockey legend Steve “The Stein” Bernstein made his first appearance in a year to once again try his hand on the S-Slot. Speaking of returns – Jerome Ellison who was one of the original seven from the New York City Table Hockey League made his debut in the NYTHL and impressed with his competitive play and spirit. Let’s review a very exciting day of table hockey which culminated with Vinny Catania once again meeting Chris D’Andrea in the Final.

League Date Four’s double round robin saw Vinny Catania for a second month compile forty-six out of a possible forty-eight points. The Vinner posted a 23-1-0 record to gain the top seed. Chris D’Andrea finished second with an impressive 16-4-4 record. Just one point behind in third was Len Mecca 15-4-5. Paul Crescitelli followed up his impressive league date three performance with an equally impressive one in League date four, going 13-6-5 for fourth. In the process he earned a split with League Champion Vinny Catania. Winning in the first round robin 2-1. It was Vinny’s only loss in the past three league dates. Speaking of impressive - Steve “The Stein” Bernstein who has very limited experience on the S=Slot made just his third appearance overall and his first of the year finishing fifth at 12-9-3. George Slater 12-11-1 was sixth and Bob D’Addario 11-10-3 was seventh with twenty-four points. The steadily improving Walter Zissler also had twenty-four points but his record of 9-9-6 left him two wins shy of Bob, thus earning “The Bob O” the tie-break. Larry Durham and Brian Sullivan each finished 8-13-3 with Larry’s slightly better goal differential earning him the higher ninth seed. The returning Jerome Ellison (a member of the original Magnificent Seven of the NYCTHL) earned six wins, 4 ties and numerous close losses as the eleventh seed. Lee Hendelman showed improvement in his second ever league date – earning himself four wins and the twelfth seed. Derek NIsbett also in his second ever league date earned a tie. Although he is struggling, Derek’s love of hockey and table hockey will help him through a rough start. As we all know – improvement is inevitable as long as you stick with it. On to the playoffs.

With the top three players (Vinny, Chris, and Len) all receiving byes, the next ten each played in a best of three series to see who would join them in the Quarterfinals. Four seed Paul Crescitelli swept past Lee Hendelman. Five seed Steve Bernstein Swept past Derek Nisbett. Six Seed George Slater came back after losing game one to defeat Jerome Ellison two games to one. Seven seed Bob D’Addario also lost game one then won the next two to defeat Brian Sullivan two games to one. The only lower seed to win the round occurred when nine seed Larry Durham swept the eight seed Walter Zissler in a very exciting series. Durham won both games in overtime by scores of 4-3 and 3-2. On to the Quarter-Finals

A trip to the semis awaits the winners, The Vinner earned his way in by sweeping past Larry Durham 3-0 games. Two seed Chris D’Andrea met seven seed Bob D’Addario in another chapter of their rivalry. Chris looked to make short work of Bob by winning games one and two by scores of 3-2 in Overtime and 1-0. Bob did not let him off that easy, coming back with 5-2 and 3-2 victories over Chris to force game five. In what was a very exciting deciding game, Chris took advantage of an in and out against him with the game tied at three in the final minute. Chris then put the puck in Bob’s net and it stayed in – earning him a 4-3 victory for the series win. In the upset of the day – sixth seed George Slater earned consecutive 5-2 victories over third seed Len Mecca for a 2-0 series lead. Mecca then took game three 4-3 before losing to Slater 3-2 in game four. The win earned George a 3-1 series win. The final berth in the Semis was decided when Four seed Paul Crescitelli was defeated by fifth seed table hockey legend Steve “The Stein” Bernstein. The Stein took game one by a 3-2 margin. Paul tied the series with a 4-3 win. Steve then turned up the heat earning 7-4 and 6-4 triumphs respectively winning the series three games to one, thus ending Paul’s dream of a second straight League Date Final appearance.

The League Date Four Semi-Finals featured a familiar rivalry and a new one. First the one seed Vinny Catania faced the six seed George Slater for a second consecutive month, with a trip to the Final on the line. The Vinner took a very close contest in overtime of game one to win 4-3. Game two wasn’t as close with Vinny winning 5-1. Catania then closed out the sweep in game three with a 1-0 victory. Who would meet The Vinner in the Finals was decided when NYTHL rising star Chris D’Andrea (the two seed) met The fifth seed Steve Bernstein. In a spirited matchup – D’Andrea proved to be a little too much for The Stein. D’Andrea’s speed and experience on the board propelled him to a series sweep over Bernstein with all games being decided by two goals. Chris eliminated Steve by scores of 7-5, 4-2 and 3-1. For D’Andrea it would mean another shot at Catania in the Final. For The Stein – it was a tremendous performance considering it is a board he has little experience on and he hadn’t competed in quite some time. Hopefully The Stein will make another appearance sooner rather than later. On to the Finals.

For the second time in four league dates - League Champion Vinny Catania would face Chris D’Andrea. The Vinner swept Chris in League date one winning the first game in Overtime. This time in League Date Four the Vinner would again need overtime to defeat Chris. In what was a very exciting game, The Vinner secured a 2-1 victory after three minutes of overtime. Unlike league date one, this time the second game was much closer. The Vinner on numerous occasions had two goal leads, only to see Chris score and cut it to one. Unfortunately for Chris, he never did get over the hump and lost game two by a 5-4 score. The Vinner finally pulled away just a bit in game three, winning the game 4-1 and the series in three straight. Chris D’Andrea is coming on strong and so are a lot of players in the NYTHL.

The Five players who lost in the preliminary round played a “B” playoff. Lee Hendelman decided not to participate, thus leaving four to play in the Semi-Finals. Walter Zissler defeated Derek Nisbett two games to none and Brian Sullivan defeated Jerome Ellison two games to none. Walter then defeated Brian 5-4 in overtime and 2-0 to take the Final series in the B.

Another great date in the books. We have now had twenty players participate so far this season and the action is heating up. New faces bring new rivalries. With such a great group of players, a great venue on great games – I don’t know what more we can do to have you give us a try. GET BEHIND THE RODS AND GET IN THE GAME! You will be glad you did. Our next date is Saturday February 12, 2022. For more info go to www.nythl.com. See you next month.