Braves searching for chemistry
The Brockville Braves are going into this week trying to work out the kinks of adding so many new players to the lineup.
The Braves pulled three out of a possible six points in the standings from their three games last week despite being, arguably, the better team in each of those matchups.
Here’s what you need to know about Brockville going into this weekend:
CAROUSEL CONTINUES Every Friday night for the last few weeks you can see and hear the people at the Memorial Centre trying to figure out who the new players on the team are and who was shipped out.
Last weekend it was defenceman Chace McCardle playing his first game, while Nicholas Wildgoose, who played just three games with the Braves, and Spencer Cosway, who played nine games, were out.
The week before that it was forwards Sam Allison and Justin M cC rae added, as well as Wild goose beginning his short-lived stint. Veteran Philippe Gilmour and Curtis Abbott, playing just six games in a Brockville jersey, were the odd men out that week.
Before that it was Cristophe Cote, who played last year for the Braves, returning to the team, while defenceman Jonathan Balah and forward Payton Schaly were the ones leaving.
The week before that saw forward Bailey Kirwin dealt and just before that was Abbott’s introduction to the team.
All these moves, and a few more, have been since just November. ANY LINES FIGURED OUT? A couple of weeks ago Winchester jokingly said he needed a bingo machine to decide the forward lines with so many new players on his roster.
He has liked aspects of certain lines – particularly last week’s line of Nicholas Hawkins, Parker Casey, and Fred Allaire – but has no plans of securing anything in pen on his chart.
For now, and the foreseeable future, it’s expected that Winchester will continue to mixand-match his lines regardless if he finds one or two he really likes. The goal appears to be to put the players through their paces and let them gel as a team before figuring out who works well together on a line.
“We’ll talk amongst the coaches and figure out some different combos and we’ll be fine,” said Winchester. FALLING DOWN THE RANKS The Braves fell down the CJHL rankings for the second consecutive week. Brockville fell six spots in the weekly standings and now sit No. 12 in the country.
They’re one spot ahead of the Carleton Place Canadians – the only other CCHL team in the rankings. The Braves have steadily been on the decline in the Canada-wide standings since earning the top spot in late October.
Winchester has always contended, even when his team was No. 1, that they were a good team, but needed to figure out a way to be great in order to be sure of beating some of the CCHL’s top teams – like Carleton Place and the Hawkesbury Hawks – in a seven-game series. So truthfully, where Brockville is on the rankings doesn’t seem to even be on the coach’s radar.
MOUNT ALLISON Brockville needed a bit of a scoring touch and they may have found it in Sam Allison.
There was a lot of curiosity and confusion when the Braves announced they traded Philippe Gilmour to the Cornwall Colts. He had built some good chemistry with team point leader Eric Faith, but in the end he probably wasn’t finding the back of the net as much as management, and likely himself, wanted and expected with just seven goals in 23 games.
When Gilmour was moved, Allison was brought into the fold in a separate deal with the Nepean Raiders.
The Cole Harbour, N.S. native has been a huge bright spot for Brockville, particularly in terms of filling the net. Allison had just two goals in 26 games this season during his time with Carleton Place and Nepean. In just five games with the Braves he already has six goals, as well as one assist.
That’s really good considering the Braves have scored a combined 16 goals as a team since Allison has started suiting up for them.
NOTHING SPECIAL The Braves started the season hot on the power play and penalty kill. These days both seem to be going in a different direction.
Maybe it’s to be expected with so many new parts, but this is something fans should keep an eye on.
Since the beginning of November (over 11 games), the Braves have scored seven goals on 57 power play chances, while the penalty kill has allowed 11 goals on 49 chances.
WHAT’S NEXT… Brockville will host the Kemptville 73s on Friday at the Memorial Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. The Braves have beat the 73s in the two games they’ve played against each other this season with the last matchup going to overtime.
Brockville will then hit the road to take on the Kanata Lasers on Sunday. The Braves have also beat the Lasers the two times they’ve met.