Recorder & Times
The Brockville Braves were doing some scoreboard watching Sunday.
The Braves had to wait until the final day of the regular season to find out who they would play in the first round of the playoffs with the list of teams narrowed down to three before the first 2 p.m. puck drop Sunday.
A Cornwall Colts win in the afternoon sealed the macthup between the No. 3 Braves and No. 6 Kanata Lasers in the post-season. Game 1 is Friday at the Memorial Centre.
“We’ve played them enough and we know they play really hard,” said Braves coach Jesse Winchester. “They’ve had a great year and we’re going to have to do a little video on them to find their biggest points of weakness, or areas that we can exploit anyway, but we’re excited to play.”
Home-ice advantage could be huge for the Braves. Not necessarily for what it can do for them, but for what it doesn’t do for the Lasers.
The two teams split the season series with three wins apiece and the home team winning each game, but there’s a big drop in the Lasers’numbers when they play outside Tom Flood Arena. Kanata has a 12-12-7-0 road record this season compared to their home record of 19-10-1-1 and they’ve given up 28 more goals in their away jerseys. The Braves road numbers dip a bit compared to their home statistics, but not nearly as drastically.
On paper Brockville looks like the deeper team with Kanata only having three players compiling more than 40 points this year. The Braves, on the other hand, have eight with 40-plus.
When you take out the likes of the injured Tyson Kirkby, Michael Locatelli’s changing roles since moving to Brockville at the trade deadline, and Michael McArthur questionable for Game 1 then the numbers are little closer. Add rookie defenceman Simon Mack, who is out with an injury, to that list as well.
Brockville is going to have to lockdown Luca Nocita, who finished sixth in the CCHL for assists, and top prospect of the year Jack Quinn. The Braves won two of their three games against the Lasers when they were able to hold both of them off the scoresheet.
“(Nocita and Quinn) are going to get their looks and I think that’s something our team has learned throughout the year. If you’re going to play good teams then you’re going to play good players. You can’t get frustrated by one good player making good plays,” said Winchester.
Maybe the past doesn’t even matter much. The Braves are different team – their roster and the way they play – than the one that suited up against the Lasers back in September and October.
Brockville is rolling into the playoffs, picking up a 13-4-0-1 record since February. That one shootout loss came against the Lasers. Kanata owns a 7-4-1-0 record over that same time frame – Brockville winning 5-0 during that stretch – so they’re no slouches either.
The Braves probably aren’t even sure what exactly they’ll see in the future. Will it be Gabrielle Carriere or Logan Bateman tending twine? Maybe the pair continue to split the action in net.
The two goalies have split time since joining Kanata in early November and have been with the Lasers for three games against the Braves. Carriere, though, has suited up for four games against Brockville this season – two in an Ottawa Jr. Senators uniform – and in his last three starts against them he’s allowed 10 goals on 75 shots (.865 save percentage) and was chased out of the net on Feb. 2. Bateman’s overall statistics are a little down from his counterpart, but against Brockville he’s only given up four goals on 75 shots (.947).
Playoff schedule for No. 3 Brockville Braves and No. 6 Kanata Lasers
GM 1 – FRI MAR 16 – 7:30 p.m.- BRO
GM 2 – SUN MAR 18 – 6:30 p.m.- KAN
GM 3 – TUE MAR 20 – 7:30 p.m.- BRO
GM 4 – THUR MAR 22 – 7:30 p.m.- KAN
GM 5 – FRI MAR 23 – 7:30 p.m.- BRO
GM 6 – SUN MAR 25 – 6:30 p.m.- KAN
GM 7 – TUE MAR 27 – 7:30 p.m.- BRO
Original Story at Recorder.ca