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Brockville Braves Nicolas Vlahos celebrated after picking up the first goal in Friday’s game. (Jonathon Brodie/The Recorder and Times)

Braves brush off inconsistencies with 6-3 win – R&T

Recorder & Times – Jonathon Brodie

The Brockville Braves 6-3 win against the Kemptville 73s on Friday at the Memorial Centre was much-needed for them.

At the end of the season the game probably won’t leave much of a memory in many people’s minds, but the win kept the Braves short slide from turning into possible major turbulence. Going into the game Brockville had lost two straight and hadn’t put together a three-game cold spell this season.

Friday’s matchup had all the makings of a good game going in. The higher-ranked team on a cold-streak needing to prove this isn’t the team they actually are against a club closer to the bottom starting to surge and needing to prove their recent play isn’t a fluke.

Brockville took a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes with goals from Nicolas Vlahos and Philippe Gilmour, but even though the Braves didn’t extend their lead in the middle frame it was in the second period when they really started to turn it on.

Brockville was attacking more and fired a lot of shots from the blue line with heavy traffic in front of Kemptville’s net that seemed to almost always get through to Cooper Lukenda, who was playing in his first game with the 73s.

The Braves had 10 shots in the first period. In the second they matched that number in 12 minutes with help of three power plays — one in which the Braves scored when Gilmour earned his second goal of the game before getting the hat-trick by the end of the period. Brockville had 35 shots by the end of the second period.

“We played well in spurts. We were a little loose in the first and took quite a few odd-man rushes, but we played hard and put pucks on net,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester.

The 73s were down at times, but never completely out. They trailed 3-0 early in the second period before they started to mount a comeback and cut the deficit to just one with one of the goals coming from Eric Faith, who was traded by the Braves last week.

Gilmour’s third goal put the Braves up 4-2 after 40 minutes.

Early in the third period, Brockville again added to their lead with a goal by Jordi Jefferson, but the three-goal advantage didn’t last long with Kemptville’s John Beaton clawing his team back a few minutes later. The 73s made a serious push to complete the comeback with the four penalties the Braves took in the final frame.

The Braves put the game away when Nicholas Hawkins scored an empty-netter that recorded Brockville’s second shorthanded marker of the night.

The Braves lost to the 73s on the road last Sunday, putting up a mediocre performance and were beat by the better team that day.

Although it was far from flawless, Brockville showed some encouraging signs Friday that they might be able to move on from their sub-par play as of late that saw them post a 4-5-0-1 record since Oct. 7 going into their recent win.

The Braves dismal power play, sitting at a 10.2 per cent success rate, managed to find the back of the net and they piled on the points throughout the game to pull out Friday’s victory.

With consistency being Brockville’s biggest problem as of late, the question now becomes how long can they keep this up?

“Consistency the first month was great and then mid-October and into November it’s been a bit of a battle to find it, so we’re still working at that,” said Winchester. “There’s a ton of new bodies and maybe some of that is learning how to play the way we want them to.”

The Braves will travel to Pembroke on Sunday to take on the Lumber Kings.
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