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Braves flood Navan net in 7-1 win – R&T

Recorder & Times – Jonathon Brodie

Is the drought over?

Goals might have been somewhat scarce for the Brockville Braves early this season, but on Friday they flooded the Navan Grads net on way to winning 7-1 at the Memorial Centre.

The Braves caught a break, got a penalty shot while shorthanded, and managed to squeeze behind the Grads defence a couple of times and turned all those situations into goals in the first period.

At one point Brockville had as many goals as Navan had shots on net when they potted their fourth goal of the game with six minutes left in the first period. It’s not like they were overly out-shooting the Grads either with their fourth goal coming on their seventh shot, but they were able to capitalize on their opportunities.

The Braves had scored four goals in just three of the 11 games they had played going into Friday and they matched that number after 20 minutes.

Brockville hadn’t scored five goals, let alone six or seven, all year and they did it before the end of the second period against Navan.

“We’ve had to work really hard for our goals and it was nice to have a few lucky bounces go our way,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester.

The goal of the game came from Jordi Jefferson in the second period when he scored shorthanded on a breakaway. When he was free-and-clear he flipped the puck up to himself, caught it then put it back on the ice and almost as soon as the piece of rubber went down he shot it top corner to score the Braves fifth goal.

“He did (intentionally lift the puck up to himself), but we didn’t understand what the heck he was doing,” Winchester said. “I’ve never seen a play like that, but it worked out and good on him. He’s been a real workhorse for us.”

It was the type of game that was a bit of stat booster for the club.

The Braves have scored 33 goals now in 12 games this season, so they ended up picking up 21 per cent of their goals on the year in Friday’s game alone.

Philippe Gilmour earned a hat trick. Going into the matchup only himself and Jonathan Hill had more than three goals this season for Brockville.

Eric Holland had just two goals so far this season and he doubled that count by the final horn Friday.

The Braves defence was fairly solid too and kept the front of the crease mostly clear for goalie Justin Evenson. Although the Grads had 26 shots on net there wasn’t much that would have stressed the rookie netminder out as he earned his fourth win in his sixth start and boosted his save percentage to .942.

If the Braves overcame one problem by piling on points, the next big obstacle for them is to get on some sort of win streak as they have yet to win back-to-back games this year. They’ll have their opportunity to do that on Sunday when they host the Smiths Falls Bears at the Memorial Centre at 3 p.m.

“We’re searching for that consistency and we’ve played really, really well in spurts and now it’s about starting to go on a run,” Winchester said. “The good teams like Carleton Place, they play the same way every night. Ottawa, the same way every night. They have off nights here and there, but it’s the same effort and that’s what we have to establish here. I think we’re trending that was. We have so many young rookies, but they’re learning to play at this level.”
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