Tim Ruhnke – Recorder & Times
The Brockville Braves are hoping for good luck in week seven of the CCHL season.
The Braves are preparing to host Navan at the Memorial Centre on Friday night at 7:30. It’s a two home game weekend for Brockville; the Braves will also take on Hawkesbury at 3 on Sunday afternoon.
Brockville (7-4-3) is in third place in the CCHL’s Robinson Division standings, sandwiched between Kanata and Pembroke.
The Braves gave up two power-play goals to the division- and league-leading Canadians but managed to score a shorty in a 4-2 loss in Carleton Place on Sunday afternoon. Brockville had opened the scoring and then came back to tie the game 2-2 before the home team took the lead midway through the third and added an empty-netter with 40 seconds left in regulation.
“I was happy with the effort,” Braves head coach Randy Jones said in an interview. “It’s a tough place to play,” added Jones, who noted it’s a smaller ice surface and then remarked there aren’t many places to hide.
The game once again came down to special teams, Jones acknowledged. Carleton Place’s penalty-kill percentage this year is just under 90. The Canadians are converting on 28.7 per cent of their power plays. Carleton Place won 15 of 18 to open the season.
In the 12-team CCHL, Brockville ranks seventh in penalty kill (80 per cent) and eighth in power play (16.5 per cent). The PK numbers have been improving the last few weeks; Jones attributes that, in part, to the face that the Braves are limiting opportunities by taking fewer penalties. The recent average of about four a game is very respectable, he noted.
“The boys stepped up,” Jones stated. “It’s a hard game out there, played with emotions… a lot of times, things happen,.”
With 16 points, Justin McRae is the only Brave in the league’s top 10 in scoring; he’s tied for first in goals with 10. Josh Spratt and Konnor MacCormick (who has 10 points in seven games for Brockville since being acquired from Cornwall) are tied for second on the Braves with 13 points; behind them are Sam Allison, Troy Bowditch and Simon Kerr, each of whom has four goals and seven assists so far this season.
Brockville is sixth in the CCHL in goals scored and fourth in goals against.
Spratt has come a long way since being ‘a little bit snake-bitten’ the first few weeks of the season, according to the coach. He also pointed out that the centre has been putting up some numbers recently and is capitalizing on the opportunities he’s been getting as a result of his strong play.
“It’s fun to watch,” said Jones, who added he hopes that Spratt’s production is ‘contagious’ as the Braves prepare for a pair of home games this weekend.
The CCHL regular season ends in early March.
Original Story at Recorder.ca