Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
That was the overall motif of the Brockville Braves 6-1 win over the Kanata Lasers on Friday at the Memorial Centre. The victory extended the Braves win streak to seven straight games and matches their longest streak last year.
On Friday, most people would have likely put their money on the Lasers if a bookie was taking running bets during the first half of the game.
The nice way to put it is the Braves looked absolutely horrendous, particularly in the first period. Brockville was sloppy in the opening 20 minutes with plenty of turnovers in their own zone. The defence allowed Lasers forwards to cram the front of their net and the Braves looked generally disorganized anytime they tried to break out offensively.
Still, Brockville managed to weather most of the storm put on by Kanata and scored on their first shot five minutes into the game. Emerick Nadeau chased a puck behind the Lasers net and passed it out front to Simon Mack charging in for the Brockville-born defenceman’s first goal of the season.
The Braves looked a little better to start the second period, but the momentum didn’t completely shift until midway through the middle frame when captain Fred Allaire came streaking down the left wing and put a wrist shot by Gabriel Carriere.
From there the onslaught ensued with Brockville scoring a pair of goals in the final 71 seconds of the second period from Evan Kula and Mathieu Halle.
“I just talked about our expectations and when we talk about wanting to be a good team we’re good when we play a certain and having to stick to that,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester about his first intermission talking points to his team. “I thought they regrouped and really came out in the second half in the second.”
While the first period was, arguably, Brockville’s worst period this season, the third period might have been their best. They were faster, hit harder, and shots were coming from all angles.
The Braves scored one less goal than they did in the second period with Nadeau finding the back of the net twice in the final frame, but they were relentless in the final 20 minutes and picked up 20 shots. Their offence kept a high pace and essentially attacked the entire time to give Souliere an extended break as he only had to make four saves.
Just a few weeks ago, Winchester said he was sure the scoring would come for his team. At that time the Braves had scored 14 goals in regulation over the course of six games and two of those were empty-netters.
It seems like the coach didn’t have to wait long. Brockville has now scored 20 goals — none of them empty-netters — in their last four games.
A big help in the goal production is the fact the Braves rookies are looking a lot more comfortable on the ice. Hula has collected three goals in the last three games, while Nadeau and Bailey Kirwin have two.
Winchester started rolling out his rookies after the fifth goal Friday and they looked strong. It wasn’t always perfect or pretty, but the all-rookie line of Kirwin, Garrett McArthur, and Payton Schaly showed they were hungry by the way they attacked and flew all over the ice.
“It’s nice to see a contribution from everybody and it just shows that the newcomers are closing the gap and that’s what we want,” said Winchester. “The quicker that happens, the better the team we’ll be.”
The Braves will host the Kemptville 73s next Friday at the Memorial Centre.
“It’s tough just playing one game a week for awhile. We had the one mid-week game (against Smiths Falls last Tuesday), but our schedule has been pretty relaxed and it’s going to pick up,” said Winchester. “We’re going to have to get into more of a rhythm and it will hopefully result in better starts for us.”
Original Story at Recorder.ca