Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
Don’t call it a controversy.
When Henry Johnson, arguably the Brockville Braves best goalie in the team’s history, graduated to the NCAA ranks, it was expected to leave a huge hole for the local CCHL team.
The Braves might have a problem in their net right now, but it’s not the kind fans expected. Brockville doesn’t have just one good goalie filling in Johnson’s pads. It appears they have two more-than-capable netminders.
Yaniv Perets played more like a soon-to-be-graduate instead of the 16-year-old goalie he actually was as Johnson’s understudy last year.
He looked like the reliable heir to Johnson’s throne and in three games this season he’s allowed eight goals on 92 shots and that includes getting a bit roughed up against the Ottawa Jr. Senators in a matchup Braves coach Jesse Winchester didn’t put the blame on him.
Then 18-year-old Justin Evenson came along – a year after posting a .938 save percentage with the Minnehaha Aacdemy in U.S. High School hockey – and in just two games he’s looked every bit as good as any top-end CCHL goalie in the league.
Winchester said in the pre-season he thought he had two strong netminders on his roster and he would let them duke it out to see who’s going to play more.
If the pair are battling for the top spot, though, they’re letting their pads do all the talking instead of their mouths.
You’ll have a hard time goading Perets and Evenson like a skater would on a breakaway trying to get them to bite on a move, but like the pair usually do in a game, they deflect questions like they’re an easy shot.
You can ask them if there’s a goalie controversy? How much do they look at these early-season games as a tryout to get named the full-time starter? Do they need to at least match the other goalie’s performance when they get their chance to play? They won’t bite the bait. “There’s no goalie controversy.
He’s a great a goalie, so…” said Perets shrugging his shoulders, leaving his answer open-ended and implying that if you’re a great goalie, like he believes Evenson is, then you’re going to see time on the ice.
Both Braves goaltenders are complimentary to the other, praising their on-ice flair as much as their off-ice personality.
The pair feed off each other in an almost yin and yang way.
Perets, from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., is more mildmannered. Evenson, from Minneapolis, Minn. and 1,200 kilometres away from Perets home, is more outgoing.
“We feed off each other, right buddy,” Evenson directed to Perets and slapped his pads with his stick, while the quieter one of the pair smiled and nodded. “All the time (we feed off each other), that’s what we do.”
There is a common thread between the two goalies and it’s probably the single reason why there isn’t a goalie controversy on the Braves and instead is looked at as two quality goaltenders complimenting each other.
Perets and Evenson don’t necessarily think about their own individual performances. They’re concerned with how their team does. When asked how they would grade themselves in the games they’ve played this season, a show-stopping save or a stellar performance isn’t mentioned by either of them.
When the question is brought to them, how do you think the season is gong for you personally? They responded: “Things are going alright for now. The team is playing well and I think we’ll only get better with the season. I think the team will go really far this season. We work really hard, so I think everything is going to pick up while the season goes on,” Perets answered.
“I think we’re doing pretty well.
We have to a score a little more goals, but we’re playing really good defensively. We’re gelling as a team a lot better than I thought we were going to at first, so it’s been going well for the most part,” said Evenson.
They both seem pretty nice, so let the better man win the job.