Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
Last week the Brockville Braves put together their most complete game and best win of the season. This Friday they put forth their most determined effort and came very close to completing their biggest comeback of the year, but ended up losing 6-5 to the Navan Grads in a shootout at the Memorial Centre.
There were games the Braves probably deserved to lose during their 14-game win streak earlier in the season, but goalie Liam Souliere made some big saves or they got a few lucky bounces to pull out the victory. This time, over a new streak that stretched six games, Brockville probably deserved to win, but came up short.
The Braves trailed by three goals two different times in Friday’s game with the latest one early in the third period.
The Grads were no slouches and they capitalized on the Braves mistakes, but Brockville was the better team for most of the game and they turned things up even more after Navan scored their fifth goal of the game early in the third period. From there, Brockville scored three unanswered goals in about four minutes off the sticks of Sam Allison, Emerick Nadeau, and Justin McRae to tie it up 5-5.
It looked like the Braves scored the game-winner with 19 seconds left in regulation when Nadeau tipped the puck by Grads goalie Will Cranley, but the referees said it was a high stick and waved it off.
Both teams had opportunities in overtime, but came empty before the Grads put an end to the Braves hot streak by scoring two goals in the shootout.
“I thought we deserved more and I think we raised our levels. We slept for about five shifts in the second (period), but we controlled the play and the puck,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “We played well enough to beat them and I’d probably like a couple of our goals (against) back, but, obviously, it is what it is. Our staff was really pleased with the effort and the patience that we displayed in the third there.”
Simon Mack played his first game of 2019 since sustaining an injury early in the new year at a practice.
Mack finished the game with an assist when he dished a nice pass that sent Eric Faith flying on a 2-on-1.
More importantly, the Braves defenceman played a lot of minutes, especially on the power play and in overtime. That’s an encouraging sign to know Brockville’s coaching staff isn’t holding him back in his return.
WE NEED CONSISTENCY PEOPLE
Winchester wasn’t pleased with the goal that was waved off with 19 seconds left in regulation. His bench was on the other side of the ice from where the (no) goal was, but he said he had “a great angle” from where he was standing. The coach said he would review it on video, but it looked like a goal from where he was.
Although he wasn’t thrilled with the refs’ decision, his biggest concern was with the inconsistency of calls.
“It looked like it was below the crossbar, below our guy’s shoulder, and it’s a shame the refs didn’t have a meeting on the ice” said Winchester. “I think we’ve seen it where we’ve scored a goal. One refs indicates it’s a goal and then another ref from the other side of the ice calls it off in a past game. There’s just no consistency and that’s a shame because for video review we would have not made it to overtime.”
NEED A REST
The Braves haven’t had it easy lately, playing six games in 10 days. Their final game of that stretch is Sunday.
The heavy load has taken a toll on them.
Sure, they got Mack back, but they’re still missing Souliere, who hasn’t played since November, and Chris Brown has mono.
On top of it, defenceman Tyler McBay and Mathieu Halle all started this tough stretch of games, but didn’t play Friday because they were banged up.
Evan Kula finished Friday night early because of an injury.
Brockville Tikis Brayden Kelso has been up with the Braves since November, but he hadn’t gotten a chance to see any game action until Friday.
Antoine Bourdeau let in five goals on 27 shots and was replaced by Kelso early in the third period.
A large group of Kelso’s Tikis teammates were at the game and cheered loudly every time he made a save. He ended up stopping all six shots with his biggest save coming in overtime when Grads Ben Badalamenti was on a breakaway.
“Kelso came in and he made a big save in overtime. The boys responded really well (after he came in),” said Winchester. “He’s a great kid. He’s been up for the last month and has’t had any playing time. He came in, gave us a chance in that situation, and responded well.”
The Braves head to Carleton Place to take on the Canadians on Sunday. Brockville has a 2-1 regular season record against Carleton Place this season. Both the Braves wins came at home and the one loss was on the road.
Original Story at Recorder.ca