Despite the fact the EPHL season started back on November 1st, the Danbury Mad Hatters are still waiting for a consistent crowd to come to their games. Averaging over 1000 fans on the weekends and less so on week nights, the Hatters would like to get those numbers up. Having a losing record doesn't help the situation but Saturday night was a special moment if any for Danbury.
The toughness of this team was somewhat unknown and fans expected toughness after the legacy of the Trashers along with a high flying offense. Up until Saturday night, neither of these had really manifested themselves fully. That was until late in the third period.
After tying it earlier in the period, KC Caudill knocked a Brooklyn Ace through the door of the Hatter bench. A couple of punches and shoves lead to an all out bench clearing brawl by both teams. Hatters and Aces paired up on the ice, some just grabbing each other, others ready to fight. It seemed that as Hatters hopped the boards, they were ready to throw down while the Aces were somewhat apprehensive to the fact. Obi Aduba got a shot to the face and proceeded to drop his gloves, ready to fight but the Ace who punched him stood there and twiddled his thumbs.
However, the crowning moment didn't involve players but one of the few reminders of Danbury Trasher hockey left at the DIA. Ace coach Chris Firriolo and Hatters coach Dave MacIsaac began to exchange words and gestures across the glass that separates the two benches. What was said is unknown but Dave MacIsaac went back to his Trasher roots and attempted to go join in the melee and pummel Firriolo. While he was held back, it represents an important moment.
While I have only been at Danbury for 3 games, this was the first sustained "Lets Go Hatters" chant that I have heard. It was a wonderful thing to hear considering how hard this team has been trying to get a base in Danbury. Section 102 never fails and they certainly didn't as they started the chant that filled the DIA and gave everyone reminders of Trasher days gone by. As I looked around the arena, a gentleman was waving a Dave MacIsaac Trashers jersey over the railing. It was truly a sight to see for any passionate Trasher fan.
The Hatters did lose in a shootout which was disappointing considering the performance Derek MacIntyre put on in goal, stopping 53 of 55 shots and 3 of 4 shootout attempts. But talking to the players after the game, they were fired up and ready to go. While their next game is Saturday night against the Bears, the Hatters will be looking forward to Christmas. That week they play the Aces three times, twice in Brooklyn and once in Danbury.
Ladies and Gentlemen...we have a rivalry on our hands. Don't be surprised to see Danbury go on a hot streak and ready for revenge when they go up against the Aces again.