Nick Galatioto visited the NYCTHA's January tournament date with his father, Bill. They were interested in getting a game board for themselves and practiced on some of our boards against our players.
Nick and his dad joined the NYCTHA in February. Considering that it was this young man's first time playing against seasoned players, Nick did quite well. Nick demonstrated natural defensive skill, losing by only one goal to the great Lou Marinoff (2-1) and Greg Scoma (1-0). Nick's winning percentage in his first two rounds hovered in the .222 - .278. But in the third round after warming up, gaining experience, Nick rose to .444, which he repeated in March (.417 and .417).
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At season's end, Nick ranked in 13 of 21 players. His goals against percentage held steady for each of the five rounds he played demonstrating his natural defensive skills. Offensively, his goals for percentage varied (roughly, 1.50, 1.00, 2.00. 1.00 and 1.50).
In the playoffs, Nick found himself competing against players ranked sixth and lower in two round robins. Six players including Nick. He finished sixth and fifth.
In the 2nd Division's playoffs, against players finishing higher in the round robins, a reasonable person could calculate that he would not win those playoffs. Nick, placed in the semi-finals, faced James Friedl. In the round robin, James held the advantage with a win and tie against Nick (1-0-1). But during the regular season, Nick was 4 wins and 1 loss to James Friedl. A total of 5 wins and 2 losses versus James. In a series, playing repetively against another player, players can focus on their opponent, see weaknesses and strengths more clearly and make improvements from one game to the next.
After losing game one (0-4), James demonstrated his experience and this idea, this process, by winning game two convincingly (3-1) to even the series. He continued and shut out Nick (1-0) and (2-0) winning games three and four to take a three games to one series lead, putting Nick on the brink of elimination. Facing elimination, James needing to win only one game to make it to the 2nd Divsion's Championship and Nick needing to win an improbable three straight to do the same. We don't know what Nick did or James didn't do, but Nick won games five, six and seven (5-2, 5-1 and 6-1), a combined 16 goals for and only four against, to win the series.
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In the Championship series, Nick faced Tony Sciacca. During the regular season, Nick was 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie against Tony. In the playoff round robin, they split their games (1-1-0). Again, unlike the regular season where you face one player then another, in a series you have an opportunity to make adjustments. Either Nick would have none of that, or Tony didn't find things to adjust to, but in any case Nick swept Tony in four straight games to win the 2nd Division Championship. Congratulations Nick Galatioto!