Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
Philippe Gilmour has a prediction that will make Brockville Braves fans light up brighter than the goal lamp he plans to keep shining on a regular basis.
“I think 35,” said Gilmour about the goal mark he has his eyes on. “At least.”
That’s a bold statement considering only one person has hit 35 goals in each of the last two years in the CCHL, but it’s not an unrealistic forecast.
Last year the Montreal-born forward scored 25 goals and, if it’s possible, it was kind of a quiet 25 goals from him.
The tally was good enough to put him tied for ninth in the goals category in the CCHL last year, but it wasn’t easy keeping tabs on him.
The 20-year-old would explode for a hat-trick and then be held off the score sheet for a while with one goal in six games before turning hot again and getting five goals over seven matchups. Here’s a guy who scored 25 goals and went 12 games without finding the back of the net at one point.
Gilmour’s streaks were as wonky as the weather. Fans knew to just bundle up and sit tight when he was cold because things could turn hot at any second and when it did plenty of goalies got burned. Gilmour was the type of player you could easily forget what his goal count was at, but when he would go on one of his tears you would look at his stats and think, “Oh yeah, he had 15 before he went on this run.”
If Gilmour can find some consistency to his game then the sky is the limit for not just his goals, but his overall point total.
Gilmour came into the league last year with a fair bit of swagger that ended up getting knocked down a bit. He steamrolled through his first pre-season with five points in two games. When he joined the Braves he was billed as a highlyskilled player that oozes offensive talent.
He came in as advertised, but it was the defensive part of the game that took him some time to learn and when the 2017-18 playoffs came around it appeared he had both aspects clicking.
“There was a point where I was struggling offensively,” said Gilmour. “I realized that you got to do the little things right. It can’t just be hanging out at the blue line waiting for that stretch pass. You got to come lower, you got to make sure you’re getting that puck and not just hoping to get it. That was the main difference and playing better defensive coverage also.”
It looked like one of the biggest issues for Gilmour was finding the right fit of linemates. At-6-foot-1 he’s fairly big, he has great speed, and sharp puck-handling skills and, although ideal, you can’t just put anyone beside him and assume great things will happen.
Last year Gilmour found chemistry on a line with Eric Faith when the post-season came around and the pair were arguably the Braves top playoff performers. Faith ended up winning Brockville’s playoff MVP award. By the end of the post-season, Faith earned an assist on three of Gilmour’s seven goals, while Gilmour picked up a helper on three of Faith’s four goals.
“I set the bar high and put trust in my teammates. I finished the season with Eric Faith and we had a really good connection, so we’re just looking to build off of that and hopefully we’ll have a really strong start to the season,” said Gilmour.
So, 35 is the number to beat for Gimour. Braves coach Jesse Winchester is OK with him chasing the total because he thinks if his forward can catch it then it likely won’t be the only number on the rise for Brockville.
“He’s got a wicked shot, he’s hungry, and he’s competitive,” said Winchester. “He’s been in the league for a year, so I’m totally fine (with the 35-goal prediction). I hope he goes for it and, quite honestly, if he does I think we’re going to be a good team.”
Original Story at Recorder.ca