Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
If Monday’s game between the Brockville Braves and Cornwall Colts was a sneak peak of what’s expected come playoff time then fans are going to be in for a treat in March.
The Braves pulled out a 6-3 win on their home ice against the Colts in what very well could be a first-round playoff matchup. If the playoffs were to start tomorrow and if you go by winning percentage then this series would open the post-season.
Monday’s game definitely had a playoff feel to it. It was fast-paced, both teams went toe-to-toe on every hit, and there was more than enough extra-curricular activity after whistles. There is certainly no love lost between the teams and things only got worse in their recent game.
“(Coaches Ian MacInnis and Brock McBride) over in Cornwall know that, our guys are aware that it is a likely scenario that we meet in the playoffs. It’s either going to be Kanata, Hawkesbury or Cornwall most likely. Anything can happen, though,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “It was a good test. They play us really tough. They’re very physical against us.”
Brockville was absolutely lethal on the man-advantage Monday and pulled out three power play goals on five opportunities with markers by defenceman Simon Mack, and forwards Tyson Kirkby and Eric Holland — one in each period. The 16-year-old rookie Mack finished the game with a goal and four assists.
Brockville’s continued success on the man-advantage is almost staggering as it’s now over the 20 per cent success rate and second-best in the CCHL, which is huge considering in November that number was down to single digits and dead last in the league. In the Braves last eight games they’ve scored 18 of their 41 goals on the man-advantage.
“We’ve worked at it and (assistant coach Devin Payne) and I have kind of stepped away and let them figure it out. We have this structure, but we let them practice,” said Winchester. “We’ve talked a bit about them being more dynamic, so have different looks and I think we saw that tonight.”
Brockville led for most of the matchup, starting with a quick goal from Mike McArthur about three minutes into the game before the Colts and Braves traded shots in the last two minutes of the first period.
Brockville extended their lead 4-2 by the end of the second frame.
Holland picked up an early goal in the third period that pushed the Braves over the winning edge, but when Colts Tommy Tanner scored a pretty goal midway through frame it sparked a late-game surge for Cornwall and they dictated the pace from there for the most part.
Braves captain Andrew Jarvis rounded out the scoring when he shot the puck just outside his own crease and scored an empty netter.
“It was a complete effort up-and-down the lineup tonight and even then Cornwall came with some pushes and we got on our heels a little bit, so it’s about teaching the guys to keep the level of intensity but also slow it down in your head so you can bail each other out of those,” Winchester said.
The Braves have started what is a busy month consisting of 13 games with three straight wins and all of them against playoff caliber teams.
Brockville hosts the Pembroke Lumber Kings on Friday. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
Original Story at Recorder.ca