The Brockville Braves have fallen and they’re going to have a tough time getting back up.
The Braves lost 5-1 to the Ottawa Jr. Senators in Game 2 at the Memorial Centre on Friday and now trail the best-of-seven series 2-0.
“We talked in (the locker room) and there’s still a belief, obviously, but we have to have our best effort. Everybody has to be going,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “We have to rise up.”
Just like Game 1, the Braves had their hands full right from the opening puck drop. Through two games in this CCHL semifinal Brockville has yet to have a lead.
Unlike the first game, though, Game 2 was a lot rougher with a total of 48 penalty minutes handed out — not including a pair of 10-minute misconducts on the Braves.
Brockville at times looked completely out of their element. The things that were working in their favour in the first round against the Kanata Lasers aren’t happening against Ottawa.
The Braves showed off their depth in round one with points coming from everyone, but after two games with the Senators they’ve only collected two goals. Ottawa, on the other hand, has already put 15 different players on the scoresheet in this series.
Brockville scored a pair of power play goals in each of the four games they played against Kanata. The Braves have certainly had their opportunities on the man-advantage in the second round, particularly in Game 2, but are 1-for-11 in the series. The Senators, who had the league’s best power play in the regular season, are 3-for-12.
The Braves did, however, show a glimmer of hope in Game 2. It didn’t last the entire period, but if Brockville can figure out a way to extend the momentum they had for a brief moment in the second frame then they can put up a fight against Ottawa.
The Braves escaped the first period trailing 1-0, despite being outshot 13-3.
In the second period things looked to be getting even worse when top goal scorer Philippe Gilmour was ejected for a check from behind and then the usually mild-mannered Winchester added an extra player to the box for expressing his frustration with the call.
The Braves, though, weathered the storm and even scored a power play of their own when Andrew Jarvis sold a slew foot. From there Brockville started to fire more pucks on net and in that one minute they had on the man-advantage they managed to more than double their shots from the first period.
Soon after the power play they even caught up to Ottawa on the shot count and the pressure culminated with Zac McMahon floating a high shot on net from the blue line and Eric Holland jumping on the rebound to tie the game 1-1. It was the type of power play goal Winchester praised his team for getting a few times in round one — Not a pretty goal, but a playoff goal.
“I thought we had a great pushback in the second,” said Winchester. “We had three shots in the first, that doesn’t tell the entire story of the game, but I thought we had a pretty dominant push.”
From there, though, the Braves woke up a sleeping Senators giant, who went on to roll four unanswered goals split between the second and third periods and that momentum Brockville had for a short time quickly left.
The Braves are certainly in an uphill battle now. The Senators had a fantastic year, but they played just slightly better in their own barn and only lost five games in regulation and overtime all year (they also lost three in a shootout). Brockville is going to have to win at least two of the next three road games in Ottawa if they want their season to continue.
Game 3 will be held in Ottawa on Sunday before it returns to the Memorial Centre next Friday.
“We got to regroup, go back to their barn now and see who our fighters are. Who has the perseverance to make this a series,” Winchester said. “We have to win the next game. I don’t care how we win, we just got to win. We’ll play whoever is willing to battle the hardest.”
Original story at Recorder.ca