It’s all over.
The Brooklyn Aviators fell to the Danbury Whalers — on a fluke play no less! — during a tragic 5–4 overtime loss in Connecticut, ending the team’s hopes of raising the coveted Federal Hockey League Commissioner’s Cup over their heads this year.
The Aviators have a history of stumbling in the extra round: Brooklyn only triumphed once in the five overtime games they played during the regular season. Their playoff matches against Danbury were no exception.
Sunday’s loss was eerily similar to Friday’s 5–4 overtime defeat that kicked off the playoff series against the Connecticut blow holes. The game opened with a strong showing from both squads: the Whalers made two consecutive goals in the first four minutes of play, but Brooklyn was hot on their skates, scoring back-to-back points of their own three minutes later.
The second period saw Brooklyn pull ahead, with two quick points coming from Aviators right winger Casey Mignone and center Rob Schweyer. But, after a barrage of attempts, the Whalers managed to slip the puck past A’s goalie Jo St. Pierre, cutting the A’s two point lead in half.
Brooklyn’s boys of winter held onto their one point lead until, eight minutes into the third frame, Danbury’s Sean O’Malley scored on what anyone would call a freak accident: a puck slapped toward net minder Jo St. Pierre — one that he could have easily blocked — ricocheted off of an Aviators’ skate and landed squarely in the A’s goal, sending the game into overtime.
It was all downhill after that — Danbury scored in the first minute of the extra session, giving them the game.
One can blame the loss on bad luck, but you can’t blame St. Pierre: the A’s omnipresent gatekeeper stopped 46 of the 51 attempts Danbury made at his net. Danbury’s goalie only blocked 29 of the 33 shots the Aviators sent his way.