Defenceman makes good point
Jakob Brahaney is being used on the point on power-play in absence of the injured Sean Day
Defenceman Jakob Brahaney has had a breakout year for the Kingston Frontenacs this Ontario Hockey League season and now he’s adding to his role.
The 18-year-old Brahaney, easily the most improved player on the team, is being used on the power play in the absence of the injured Sean Day.
“Somebody needed to step up and I think I have been working toward that [power-play time],” Brahaney said. “I just kind of move the puck. I have two phenomenal players on my left and right [Jason Robertson and Gabe Vilardi]. Get them the puck and let them do the rest is how it has worked for me.”
Brahaney had little bits of powerplay time earlier in the year, but with Day out, he has become the defenceman manning the point with forwards Robertson, Vilardi, Cliff Pu and Linus Nyman.
“He’s earned it. All year he has been a guy that we have depended on to play big minutes,” Frontenacs assistant coach Kurtis Foster, who played defence in the National Hockey League, said.
“He seems to be getting a little more confident with the pucks, making plays that earlier in the year he wasn’t,” he said. “The biggest thing we ask Jakob to do on the power play is just to skate with a lot of energy. To have a guy that moves across the blueline with a little more speed kind of puts [Robertson and Vilardi] in a position of having more time. That’s what we want.
“Brats has done a good job of coming in and keeping the power play going.”
The Frontenacs are tied for fourth with the Hamilton Bulldogs with a power play clicking at a 24 per cent success rate.
Brahaney has a goal and eight assists while on the power play. That’s added to his career-best numbers of five goals and 20 points in 51 games. Last year he had five points in 53 games.
“He has the ability to skate across the bluelne with his head up and distribute pucks. At the same time, he’s got petty good vision and can shoot from up there as well,” Frontenacs head coach Jay Varady said.
Brahaney is also the team leader with a plus/minus of +31 — he is tied for fifth in the league — and, along with Jacob Paquette and Eemeli Rasanen, he continues to be a bigminute player on defence.
“We’ve had a lot of minutes and we’ve all done well with that, and we just have to keep building off it,” Brahaney said.
“Those guys all season have played all situations. They have done a good job,” said Varady, who wants to see a better start defensively from his team in Wednesday’s game in Ottawa against the 67’s.
The Frontenacs got away with a slow start in Sunday’s 3-2 win over the North Bay Battalion by scoring three goals in the third period.
“I think we were a bit loose [at the start] and didn’t manage the puck great. For us, that is part of our identity,” Varady said. “It’s a possession game. If we can play offence more than defence, we’ll probably be in a better spot.”
Foster said what happened in the third period was that the defence did a good job on gap control and that was aided by good back pressure by the forwards.
“That gives our defence an opportunity to play 2-on-2 or 1-on-1 straight up and not worrying about [opponents’ forwards] crossing. When a team gets inside the blue and crosses, it makes it really tough,” Foster said.
“At the end of the day, when you are getting pucks deep and playing in their zone, that’s when good stuff happens for us.”
Sean Day was at Tuesday’s practice but was not on the ice. He moved freely in jogging to and from the area along the side leading to the bench. Day said his knee injury “is getting better.” Frontencs general manager Darren Keily said both Day and Max Jones are week-to-week in their path back to playing. … Tyler Burnie did not practise Tuesday. He missed Sunday’s game and is out with an upper-body injury. … The Frontenacs have won four of five against the 67’s, including twice in Ottawa.
Kingston Frontenacs defenceman Jakob Brahaney has “earned” the extra time he seeing on the power play.