The Iceman wins his second Mezz Pro-Am Tour stop

Mika Immonen

Although he probably doesn't, Mika “The Iceman” Immonen seems to enjoy winning tournaments the hard way; coming from the one-loss side to challenge and defeat a tournament's hot seat occupant.  He was defeated in the second round of the US Open last year and crawled his way through 13 one-loss side matches to meet and defeat Ralf Souquet. He did it on the second stop of his own (and Caroline Pao's) Mezz Pro-Am Tour in February, coming back from a defeat at the hands of Eddie Abraham among the winner's side final eight, to meet and defeat him twice in the true double elimination finals. And he did it again on the weekend of April 17-18 on the Mezz Pro-Am Tour's seventh stop, coming back from a defeat among the winners' side final four to dethrone Greg McAndrews from the hot seat. The $1,000-added event drew 30 entrants to Skyline Billiards in Brooklyn. 

Once Sammy Wu, no doubt to his surprise and delight, had dispatched The Iceman to the one-loss side among the winners' side final four with a 7-5 win, he turned his attention to McAndrews, who was most likely also surprised and delighted with Wu's victory. McAndrews, who'd just survived a hill-hill battle against George Rodriguez sent Wu to the semifinals and was probably thinking “Iceman” right from the start of his waiting period. 

Meanwhile, on the one-loss side, Tony Robles, who'd been sent west by McAndrews from among the winners' side final eight, was trying to work his way back toward what would have been the event's marquee matchup – The Silent Assassin vs. The Iceman – but it was not to be.  After winning his opening match in the west bracket, Robles' bid was derailed by Michael Yednak. Yednak, who'd defeated Victor Nau 7-4 to meet and defeat Robles in a hill-hill match must have felt cursed by the ‘matchup' Gods, as no sooner had he dispatched Robles, than he had to face Immonen in one of the matches that would determine the event's quarterfinalists. Joining him to face Rodriguez in the second of those matches was Daniel Smith, who'd shutout Michael Wong and defeated Oscar Bonilla 7-3 to reach him.  

Immonen allowed Yednak only a single rack in advancing to those quarterfinals, while Smith ended Rodriguez' day with a 7-3 win.  Smith settled into fourth place on the heels of a 7-4 Immonen victory to set up a Wu/Immonen rematch in the semifinals.  The rematch finished with the same score as the first match, 7-5, but it was Immonen advancing to the finals. 

Sunday had already become early Monday, when McAndrews exercised an option; to make the finals a true double or single elimination, race-to-9  final. McAndrews chose the latter course, and though he put up a good fight against one of the best pool players in the world, Immonen, once again, successfully completed a one-loss side journey, this time 9-7, to bring home the first place prize.