We Have a New Champion

The Lemont Table Hockey League crowned a new champion on Sunday, Dec. 13 at Vito and Nick's Pizza. Eric Krol defeated Jeff Farwell 4-1 in the Best of 7 finals to claim the 2009 Summer-Fall LTHL championship.

It was an intense night of table hockey as five of the 12 players who took part in the regular season qualified for the playoffs (at least four out of six weeks played). In the preliminary round, Jeff Farwell took on young Claire Rzonca. Claire plays a straight-up box defense and defeated all the league's top players at least once during the regular season. That was the case here, as Claire fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 but came back to tie the series at 2 each. Farwell turned it on, however, and won the last two to advance against Jim Rzonca.

In the first semi-final, number two seed Krol took on number three seed John Medema. The two have played each other countless times and usually close. That was the case here, as Medema won the first two games by the same 4-3 tally. In fact, every game in this series would be decided by one goal except for one. Krol tightened the D and won Game 3 by a 2-1 score. But Medema blew him off the table in Game 4 7-3. It looked like Medema would advance to the finals with a 3-1 series lead. Krol dug deep and won Game 5 3-2 and Game 6 in overtime by a 4-3 tally. He got a defensive goal blocking a Medema LW-C attempt. In Game 7, Krol got out to a fast lead and held on for a 3-2 victory to come back and take the series.

In the other semi-final, Farwell had the advantage of playing a series already and it showed. He could do no wrong in the first two games, defeating Rzonca 7-2 and 7-5. Rzonca needed to win Game 3, but Farwell came up big 4-2. Farwell took his foot off the gas a bit in Game 4, as sometimes happens with a 3-0 lead. But Rzonca also won Games 5 and 6 to force a Game 7. Could Jim come all the way back? He did come back, tying the game late and forcing OT. Overtime in Game 7. It doesn't get much better than that. Farwell found the net, however, taking the series after all.

Krol was playing in his second LTHL finals, losing earlier this year to Rzonca in a sweep. Farwell was in his first league finals. Krol came out on fire, taking Game 1 by a 6-2 tally. Game 2 was tightly contested, with Krol hanging on for a 1-0 victory. Game 3 would be pivotal, and Krol edged Farwell 2-1. Farwell came back to win Game 4, but Krol jumped out to a big early lead in Game 5 and took the series. Krol wins his first LTHL championship, hoisting the trophy after trying since May 2002 to do so. He joins Rob Chargo, Ron Marsik, Jim Rzonca and Jeff Thill as LTHL champions.

The Scores

Prelim round Farwell 2 1 2 2 3 5 C. Rzonca 0 4 1 3 2 1 Semis Eric K 3 3 2 3 3 4 3 Medema 4 4 1 7 2 3 2 (Game 6 was OT) J. Rzonca 2 5 2 4 4 4 4 Farwell 7 7 4 0 2 3 5 (Games 6,7 were OT; forgot to write down game 7 score in the excitement, but it was either 4-3 or 5-4, I think) Finals Eric K 6 1 2 2 5 Farwell 2 0 1 3 3 3rd Place J. Rzonca 5 3 Medema 2 1