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Taking the Kirkby out of Kemptville – R&T

Recorder & Times – Jonathon Brodie

It was like nothing had changed.

Tyson Kirkby scored his 18th CCHL goal exclusively at the North Grenville Municipal Centre on Sunday.

Goal No. 18 was different from the previous ones, though. That one was the first time Kirkby had scored at the Kemptville arena wearing a jersey different from the home 73s sweater. It was his first goal as a Brockville Braves player since getting traded by the 73s last week and it was as if he never left, picking up the goal 27 seconds into the game.

“I played here for three-and-half years, so it’s weird to come back and sit on the visitors bench and not be in that home locker-room,” said Kirkby, who has a goal and two assists in three games with the Braves.

It might have felt weird, but he certainly didn’t look it on way to the Braves losing 5-4. It all looked very natural the way he pushed Kemptville’s Jacob Thousand in front of the net, plowed Ben MacDonald – who was traded to the 73s as part of the Kirkby deal – from behind, grinded along the boards against Jared Patterson, and hugged now-teammate Nicholas Hawkins after scoring.

Kirkby won just about every faceoff he lined up for Sunday and coach Jesse Winchester is already showing his faith in his newest veteran as he put Kirkby on the ice for some of the biggest draws and late in the game.

“You can’t play with any friends on the ice,” said Kirkby. “The (73s) are a good group of guys off the ice, but I still got to go out there and compete and you got to want to win.”

It was fitting the game was played in Kemptville considering it was Kirkby’s 200th regular season CCHL game and 197 of those matchups were with the 73s.

The move from Kemptville, a team he had spent parts of four seasons with and was named captain this year, didn’t exactly surprise him. The 73s are sitting in the basement and he said he knew a trade “could be a possibility” considering he’s in his final year in the CCHL.

The 20-year-old Kirkby showed what he can do for the Braves on Sunday. If that game was just a taste of his potential with Brockville then fans should be excited to watch him as he continues to grow on a new team, bringing his mix of grit and grace to the Braves top-six forwards.

“It was slow at the start getting line chemistry, but I think we’re starting to come together and we should start making a push here to separate ourselves from the middle of the pack,” said Kirkby. “You don’t have to change your style of play, I think you just have to communicate at first to know what each other are going to be doing out there and where guys are going to be.”

While bringing in the veteran gives the Braves lineup more depth, it also makes the Kirkby household a little bigger too with the talented forward moving back in with the his family in their Prescott home.

“The family likes to have me back home,” Kirkby said. “Dad was happy to have me home, for sure.”

Braves fans should be happy too.
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