Mugged! Aviators lose home opener to Outlaws in devastating 7-4 loss

Aviator right winger Chris Jones was quick to score during Saturday's home opener at the Hanger, but the young squad fell to the more experienced, and hated, New Jersey Outlaws.
Chris Pastreri

Talk about getting robbed!

The Aviators lost their home opener in front of more than 200 fans on Saturday as the hated New Jersey Outlaws took no prisoners in a 7-4 rout.

But Aviators coach Bob Miller shrugged off the crushing loss, and the team’s current 1-1-1 record, calling their last three games a learning experience for his young, scrappy squad.

“[The Outlaws] have about seven veteran guys,” Miller said. “We’ve got some younger guys, and we had our spurts where we dominated the Outlaws, but they capitalized on our mistakes. That’s what players who have spent time in the higher leagues do.”

“We have 50 games left, so I’m not worried,” he continued. “I think we’ll be fine.”

The Outlaws hit the ice at the Hanger inside Floyd Bennett Field’s Aviator Sports and Events Center with guns blazing, scoring four goals in the first period.

Aviator ring winger Chris Jones got his team on the board by the time the first buzzer sounded, but the Outlaws had already set the pace for the game — and close to a third of the audience, which had trudged through the first October snowfall in nine years to watch the Aviators skate at home, left.

Both teams scored again during some heavy second period action, but the Outlaws circled their wagons and finished off the Aviators in the final frame by getting two more shots past goaltender Tommy Lee. Center Jesse Felton and right winger Anthony Monte managed to double the Aviators’ score in the third, but there was no way for the team to fill the point gap in time.

The Outlaws have just joined the Federal Hockey League, but they’ve already sucked up a good chunk of the Aviators’ talent — most notably last season’s center John Goffredo and team forward and fan favorite Matthew Puntureri. The Outlaws are also led by Chris Firriolo, who was the former head coach of the Brooklyn Aces, the Aviators’ predecessor.

Currently, four of the Federal Hockey League’s top ten scorers are on the Outlaws’ roster. The Aviators have no one in the top ten.

That said, fans are still showing signs of concern, even if coach Miller isn’t.

“It’s disappointing to see a home opener go down like that. We expected much better,” said Coney Island resident Dmitry Kristal. “But hopefully this was one of those games that they had to get out of their system so they can come back stronger.”

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. 5 at 7:05 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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