FRIDAY NIGHT FINAL ~ GAME ONE
Danbury Whalers 5
Brooklyn Aviators 4
BROOKLYN AVIATORS: The Skates of Flatbush Must Now Duke Out Two Wins in Danbury.
Danbury Whalers Fans Have a Wild Time in Brooklyn. A's Answer Three Whaler Goals With a Four Goal Comeback. Danbury ties Game With 0:03 Left on Clock; Win in Over-Time.
There were no fights or acts of questionable character - just a small assortment of typical Hockey infractions that do not induce players to lose their composure during playoff games. This was a very well played game actually; - Not that we should be surprised. Brooklyn fans did get caught off guard however.
The first period against Danbury gave Aviator fans every indication Game One of these playoffs was going to be a long night. The Whalers' faithful fanatics, generally acknowledged as the league's most rabid supporters, invaded Hangar Five in numbers. They came donned in their green, blue, and white colored jerseys, and basically had their way of the place. They were raucously loud and for good reason too. After the teams spent the first ten minutes or so shadow boxing, Danbury went to work on the Aviators' goalie, initially scoring at 13:42, then two more times within the nineteenth minute to close out the opening session staked to a 3-0 lead.
The Whalers' Rooters did their part too, as they were in Brooklyn's Josselin St. Pierre's ear most of the night, but more so when he tended net on the scoreboard side of the ice. He was the target of a tireless stream of jeers and heckling emanating from sections nineteen and twenty in particular. That three goal Whaler lead after the first twenty minutes had them all feeling pretty good about themselves. And in the spirit of sharing, they expressed their opinion of St. Pierre often. They savored all forty-four Danbury shots against the Flatbush goalie like forty-four indelible moments in time. Gotta give 'em credit for that.
Jesse Felten tried quieting them down with a power play goal at the 2:51 mark of the second period, making it a 3-1 game. But after Peter Vetri denied Flatbush upon being awarded a penalty shot, the Danbury contingent was right back at it.
However, Brooklyn was getting their chances and Josselin St. Pierre had a much better second period. Then came the comeback. It was now Peter Vetri's time to struggle stopping pucks. Two and a half minutes into the third period, Michael Thompson's goal got Flatbush to within one. At the 7:33 mark, Chris Campanale tied the game at three, off assists by Andrew Scampoli, and Michael Thompson. And needless to say, Hangar Five was hearing less and less from the first two sections off to the right. Then, at 11:25, Michael Thompson assisted Casey Mignone's goal for a 4-3 Brooklyn lead. After four unanswered goals over the last two periods, it was now Flatbush Fans pumpin' up the noise in their house.
For the next 8:32, Brooklyn nursed their one goal lead. Josselin St. Pierre was holding up as Brooklyn was limiting Danbury to their lowest shots-on-goal total of the three periods. Then Coach Esposito did what any coach should do in the closing moments of this game. He pulled his goalie in favor of the sixth skater. And it paid off. With just three second left on the clock, Danbury scored. And yeah, sections nineteen and twenty went bonkers.
At 13:40 of overtime, the Danbury Whalers scored again; unassisted no less. Game over. And for the people dressed in green, blue, and white jerseys, it was party on. Once they all regained their composure, it was back to Connecticut for them. Depending on traffic, the seventy mile drive back to Danbury should take about an hour and a half. While the A's damn-nearly sent them all home in silence, instead I'm sure there will be car loads of people recapturing the moments of a great game; a great win, and a great trip over all to Brooklyn; for them at least.
Instead, Flatbush will have the quiet drive north. They'll have seventy miles to ponder how they let one get away after staging such a resilient comeback. And they'll now have to think about winning two games in a place that will packed with just more than two sections of people wearing green, blue, and white jerseys. In Danbury, they pack the joint with four-digit figures. And they certainly won't be there to welcome Brooklyn with open arms either.
I'm sure Coach Miller and his Aviators are stewing. They had their chance. In last season's playoffs, Brooklyn had to win Game Four in Danbury to avoid elimination, then won Game Five in Brooklyn to clinch a trip to the championship round. They are faced once with having to win two in row again if they are to duplicate last year's effort; albeit in a best of three series this time. But they need to win this evening just to stay alive first.
THE DANBURY ICE ARENA
Delay Street, Danbury
GAME ONE SHOTS
Let's Go A's!
Delay Street, Danbury
GAME ONE SHOTS
Let's Go A's!