Aviator coach: We’ll break the ‘Hex at the Hangar’

Center Jesse Felton races a puck to Danbury’s net, but ends up throwing down with a Whaler instead during a heated 3-2 loss at the Hanger on Saturday.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The Hanger is becoming the Bermuda Triangle for our beloved Brooklyn Aviators.

Three weeks into the new season, our Fearless Flyers have yet to win on the home ice of Floyd Bennett Field, a cold conundrum that’s perplexing coach Bob Miller.

“I’m kind of dumbfounded on why we can’t win,” Miller said on Tuesday. “Last year, we won every home game we had.”

The exact opposite has happened this year: since Oct. 27, Brooklyn’s boys of winter have had four games at the Aviator Sports and Events Center — known to true fans (and our readers) as the Hanger — but couldn’t pull out a single win. Even more dishearteningly, two of the losses came in overtime.

Miller doesn’t know why the team falls apart when they skate into the borough, but he’s not too worried — and he’s not ready to call an enchantress for a cleansing ritual: the Aviators are in the middle of the Federal Hockey League’s pack and there is still a lot of ice time left in the season, he said.

Out of the Federal Hockey League’s eight teams, the Aviators are in fourth place with three wins, two losses and three losses in overtime — but they’re lagging behind both the hated Akwesasne Warriors, which snatched the treasured Commissioner’s Cup from them last season, and the even more hated New Jersey Outlaws, the team that gave the Aviators their first loss at home this season.

The hockey stick swashbuckling 1,000 Islands Privateers (we don’t have a salad dressing joke, but if you do please fell free to insert one here) from Alexandria Bay, NY, who the Aviators are yet to face off against, lead the Federal Hockey League with six wins and one loss.

“Right now, we’re playing at about .500,” Miller, who predicted a home win this weekend, explained. “We’re going to win at least one of our home games this week.”

But that won’t be easy: the team has lost right-winger Chris Jones, who had scored five goals for the Brooks before abandoning us to play in a league in France, and Stephen Obelnicke and Anthony Monte both of whom were put on the Disabled List after last weekend’s fierce face-offs against the Cape Cod Bluefins and the Danbury Whalers, where more faces were smacked than hockey pucks.

Even cool-headed Aviator forward Jesse Felton was boxed for instigating a fight on Saturday when a race for the puck against Danbury turned ugly in the second period. But fans who witnessed the blow-by-blow said that Felton was a victim.

“He was fighting for the puck when this Whaler came in and jumped him,” the fan, who identified himself as Anthony. “He was merely defending himself.”

The Aviators cross blades with the Whalers again — on Danbury’s home turf — on Nov. 16, and Miller admitted they will be tough to beat with his current roster.

“We’re working on a couple of moves, but we should be alright,” he said. “Of course, it would be nice to get some home wins.”

The Brooklyn Aviators will be back home to play the Cape Cod Bluefins at Aviator Sports [3159 Flatbush Ave. in Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park, (718) 758-7580] on Nov. 18 at 7:35 pm. Tickets $12 ($10 for seniors and children under 14). For information visit www.brooklynaviators.com.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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