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Braves take down Rockland 6-3 – R&T

Recorder & Times – Jonathon Brodie

Friday’s 6-3 win for the Brockville Braves over the Rockland Nationals at the Memorial Centre was the kind of game that is beginning to be expected by the Braves.

Jordi Jefferson picked up his third shorthanded goal to open the scoring…Johnny Hill found the back of the net twice to give himself six goals this season and pencilled his name back to the top of the CCHL leaderboard for goals by a defenceman…the game was incredibly fast-paced with whistles coming at a premium…those are the sights Braves fans are getting accustomed to these days.

“We’re playing fast, we’re playing hard and we’re having a little bit of fun,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “Those are three pretty key ingredients. Mix them together and we’re going to win some games.”

The biggest thing, though, that Brockville seems to keep doing every game recently is improving and they did it again Friday. Over the last five games they’ve been doing a lot of things consistently, but their development, arguably, tops the list.

The line of Eric Faith, Mike McArthur and Jordi Jefferson has shined the last three games they’ve been put together — since McArthur joined the team last week — and they showed their best stuff Friday. Faith, who scored just six goals last year, got a hat-trick against Rockland.

The Braves power play has been rocky this season and they’re the only team below a 10 per cent success rate at 9.2, but they helped their rate Friday when Hill wired home a wrist shot in the second period.

Brockville right now is doing things that washes away the memories of their earlier problems and maybe the dismal power play is part of that.

Early in the season goals were hard to come by. Now in their last three homes games they’ve scored 16 times and have allowed just five goals.

They didn’t always gel to start the season, but when you see a play like when Jefferson sent a pass over to the other side of the net to McArther, who tapped it over to Faith coming in on the other side of the net to get a goal, it’s easy to forget that chemistry took anytime at all.

“The confidence is probably…I don’t want it to be too high, but I’m encouraged by some of the smart small plays I’m seeing on the boards late in games. We’re really wearing out in the corners, forcing the other teams to really have to work to get out, and then have to work extra hard to get it down the ice,” said Winchester. “Anytime you make it hard on the team you put the odds in your favour and they have done that recently and we’re looking to continue it.”

The Braves hadn’t won back-to-back games this season until this current stretch started with the win against Rockland extending their streak to three games.

Up next the Braves will hit the road to take on the Hawkesbury Hawks on Saturday before taking part in the CCHL Showcase on Monday in Rockland and facing off with the Navan Grads.

“As a player you feel on top of the world one day and then you play the next day. You have to learn to stay even-keeled and the best are going to, win or lose, approach the next day the same way,” Winchester said.
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