It’s put up or shut up time.
The New York Aviators guaranteed themselves one more shot at the coveted Federal Hockey League’s championship trophy on Saturday night by pasting the hated Danbury Whalers 7-0 — again evening up the best-of-five first-round playoff series and promising a final do-or-die matchup at Floyd Bennett Field’s Aviator Sports Complex today.
The Brooklyn team showed no mercy as they outskated and outscored the Whalers during the icy Saturday night confrontation in Danbury.
Things began heating up nine minutes into the first period when Aviator Matthew Puntereri drilled a puck past the Whalers defenses during a high-octane offensive onslaught, scoring the first goal of the night. From that point on, there was no stopping the boys from Brooklyn.
The 32-13-2 Aviators scored three times in the second period, beaching the 24-18-5 Whalers with an insurmountable four-goal lead. The three additional goals they hammered past the goal line in the third period was just icing on the cake.
The Whalers were outraged by the embarrassing defeat, and it showed: four of their best players found themselves in the penalty box 10 times throughout the game for roughing, cross checking, high sticking, fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct. Whaler Corey Felton was ejected from the game after a second period blow up that ended in a brawl.
The scene was a quite different in Connecticut on Friday when the Whalers beat the Aviators 3-2 during a closely matched game that ended in overtime.
The Aviators were the first to score, but the Whalers managed to even everything up at 2-2 with 16 seconds left in regulation play. The game winning score wasn’t pretty, but enough to give Danbury the playoff series lead.
The New York Aviators vs. the Danbury Whalers at Aviator Sports [3159 Flatbush Ave. in Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park, (718) 758-7500] today, March 13, at 3:05 pm. If the Aviators win, the finals will begin at Aviator Sports on March 18 at 7:05 pm. Tickets $12 ($8 for seniors and children under 14). For information visit www.newyorkaviators.com.