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Brockville Braves Tyson Kirkby pretending to pull out an arrow and shoot it after opening the scoring in Friday’s game. (Jonathon Brodie/The Recorder and Times)

Braves resiliency comes through in a 4-3 shootout win over Canada’s top team – Recorder & Times

Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times

Whether the Brockville Braves have their hot streak end Sunday or have it continue for another four games, Friday’s 4-3 shootout win against the Carleton Place Canadians at the Memorial Centre will be the cherry on top of it all regardless of when it ends.

These days if an opponent walks away from a Canadians game with a point then it’s a big win. Snag two points from the No. 1 ranked Canadian Junior Hockey League club and you’re on cloud nine.

“They’re fun games to play and we got to learn how to play in them, so I think it’s a learning experience and we had fun,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “As far as meaning, I think we can take something away from it defenceman-wise. Our younger guys stepped up and hopefully they can grow, but that team (the Canadians) is a classy team and they’re the cream of the crop for a reason and we stole a point from them tonight.”

When the tally gets put in the win column in the standings you don’t have to fill in an explanation of how the game went and that’s a good thing for the Braves who were outmatched for the better part of two periods, but Brockville showed some resiliency when they needed it most.

Despite the Braves getting dominated in the first period, they managed to sneak out of it tied 1-1 with Tyson Kirkby scoring on the Braves first shot of the game.

It looked like things were deteriorating quickly for Brockville after giving up two goals within four minutes of the second period starting, but from there the Braves started to pick up their play. Brockville caught a break when Carleton Place’s Connor Hill missed an open net on a 2-on-1 situation. The puck slid around the boards right to Mike McArthur who skated down the wing and took a wrist that got by Michael Leach just past the midway point of the second period.

The third frame might have been the only period the Braves won the entire game and they showed something about themselves in the period.

Three minutes into the final period of regulation Brockville defenceman Simon Kerr took a slap shot to the back of the head and didn’t return. Less than two minutes later captain Andrew Jarvis was kicked out for fighting and the Braves were down to just four defencemen with two of those being 16-years-old and one 17-years-old.

With a team as strong with skill and as physical as Carleton Place it would have been easy to forgive the Braves for crumbling, but they only seemed to get stronger and it was 16-year-old Zac McMahon tying the game 3-3 with nine minutes left in regulation on a slap shot just inside the blue line on the power play.

Brockville’s power play, which had been their worst feature for most of this season, stayed hot Friday and scored in their fourth consecutive game, again showing how much of an asset it can be for them when it’s clicking.

“I was impressed with the way McMahon, Theo Citrullo and Simon Mack handled being double shifted in the last 10 minutes,” Winchester said about his young defencemen. “That should give each of them more confidence. Hopefully that can build and we’re going to lean on them going forward.”

Overtime solved nothing followed by Justin Evenson adding four more stops to his shot count in the shootout before Philippe Gilmour put away the game-winner.

Evenson again proved in Friday’s game why he’s such a big component to the Braves. He gave up three goals on 15 shots to start the matchup and then turned away the next 35 pucks fired his way.

The loss for the Canadians snapped their win streak at six games, but continued their streak of picking up a point in the standings for 22 straight game dating back to Oct. 1.

The Braves will take on the Kemptville 73s on the road Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. before returning home next Friday to take on the Navan Grads.
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