The season started off rough as the team was struggling to find its identity with winning streaks here and there but no form of consistency.
However, something happened about halfway through the season when everything just began to click. Players like Erik Kent and Obi Aduba woke up and became the focal point of the offense for the Mad Hatters. Kent finished with the team lead in goals and points with 34 goals and 70 points.
Many players came and went over the year but late season acquisitions such as Brian Hannafin, Jonathan Lounsbury, Ryan Stern, and Scott Horvath made the Danbury Mad Hatters a force to be reckoned with towards the end of the season, so much so that it seemed like the Brooklyn Aces' lead of the EPHL standings may have been thwarted had it been for more games in the season.
On the blue line, Chad Jones emerged as quite the defenseman. His good defensive play and offensive instincts, including a heavy shot, really added another dimension to the Mad Hatters attack. Lounsbury was another defenseman of skill added to the roster late in the season. Alex Redmond made huge strides over the course of the season to become a very good defenseman. Being so young, he still has time to learn new things and perfect his skills on both sides of the puck.
Derek MacIntyre was the constant in the crease all season for the Danbury Mad Hatters. Even though he played two games less, MacIntyre finished with a better goals against average than the EPHL MVP, Nick Niedert. Niedert had one more win and a slightly better save percentage than MacIntyre. However, down the stretch it seemed like Derek was poised and showed that he was one of the better goaltenders in the league.
Unfortunately the Hatters fell just short of making the championship series. The Jersey Rockhoppers, who the Hatters were contending with for the second spot in the EPHL for the entire second half of the season, won the first championship in league history winning the best of three series 2-1. Despite losing the first game they were able to take two straight from Brooklyn to win out.
One thing I did notice about this season was the heart and soul the players put in every night. They loved the fans in Danbury and playing in front of the crowd. Section 102 was a catalyst to building energy not only in the Danbury Ice Arena but also within the team. For stretches during the season, the Mad Hatters were unbeatable at home as the support they got was the best in the league. Things may not have been as smoothly run as the team had hoped but they had won over the hearts of the fans which was the best thing they could do for people, especially in tough economic times.
What is next for the Danbury Mad Hatters? All they can do is try to improve their season next year. With a solid team put together a full year will allow this team to show who they really are and just how good they can be. Jersey will need to be looking over their shoulder as the Mad Hatters run wild next season with a better team and loud fans.
Make sure you keep checking here for Mad Hatters news throughout the offseason!