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Braves Streak Ends After 3-2 Loss to Nepean – R&T

Recorder & Times – Jonathon Brodie

It’s not something that’s been said many times this season at the Memorial Centre, but on Friday the Brockville Braves got beat by the better team.

The Braves had five consecutive wins at the Magedoma Madhouse going into their game with the Nepean Raiders, but that streak came to an end Friday after losing 3-2 to a team closer to the bottom of the standings.

“It, obviously, wasn’t pretty,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “We got beat by the better team tonight. They stuck to their system and we didn’t.”

On paper Brockville appeared to have the edge going into the game.

The Braves had more than twice as many points in the standings than the Raiders. Brockville had three wins in October, while Nepean had just four the entire season.

But, there’s no mistake about it. The Braves were flat-out beat.

Brockville wasn’t completely out-matched by any means. The two teams went toe-to-toe at times. The shot count stayed close the entire game and most of the matchup was played in the middle of the ice.

Nepean, however, just did a lot of the little things — particularly grinded in the corners and cleared Brockville players from in front of their net — more consistently and better.

When the Braves would score, the Raiders had a response.

Brockville opened the scoring early in the second period when Eric Holland found the back of the net before Nepean followed it up with a pretty power play goal of their own exactly two minutes later.

Holland scored his sixth goal of the year midway through the second period, but Nepean responded with a shorthanded goal early in the third period and then put the finishing touch with 15 minutes left in regulation.

The Braves played desperate late and collected five shots in the final three minutes, but some solid defensive tactics and shoving, a great blocked shot, and a few nice saves by rookie Liam Souliere, playing in just his third CCHL game, sealed Brockville’s fate in the late-goings.

“They came as advertised. They’re a hard working bunch and that starts with their coach. Darcy (Findlay) is a hard working guy that demands respect and we respect him, unfortunately we didn’t answer with the same effort we’ve had on most Friday nights here. We got handed exactly what we deserved.”

Although it was far from a train wreck, Friday’s game is one Winchester wants his team to “park” and forget about when they head to Ottawa on Saturday to take on the Jr. Senators — a team that has beaten the Braves twice already this season and a club Brockville has only beaten once in the last 13 matchups dating back to last season.

“On most night I’m pleased with our effort. Tonight is not one of them,” said Winchester. “Actually, two out of our last three haven’t been good efforts, so hopefully we can right the ship and get things going in the right direction again.”
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