Braves search­ing for chem­istry

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - JONATHON BRODIE

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.

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