MISSISSAUGA, Ont. –The blue and blue are back, eager to make a strong playoff run, if they can stay in the race by ensuring their top dogs keep bringing the heat.
The club is on fire by winning their last four games, especially since three of them were against a conference rival.
Riley Brace is especially shooting with a hot hand, tallying eight goals and 15 points in his last eight games. He also collects 71 points in 58 games this season and ranks in the top eleven in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
It’s one of the reason for their stability in the winning column thus far.
All season Brace contributed into the Majors’ success and his own streak helped push them to sixth in the Eastern conference and only four points away from fifth place Sudbury Wolves.
But when Brace doesn’t score in a game, it seems they aren’t likely to win, according to to some of their past loses.
In five of their last six loses, Brace couldn’t tally one point, calculating an 83 percent probability that the Majors could lose if Brace doesn’t knock a goal or an assist.
It’s almost like a bad superstition if Brace finishes a game scoreless.
But when he’s scoreless his leadership qualities roll out. He says when times are down, he tries to motivate the team and as a veteran in the league, it’s something he tries to do every game.
Brace says he feels pressure, but its not from the club, it’s self-inflicted. He forces himself to perform every night, he said.
“I put pressure on myself to perform at the highest ability,” Brace said. “You know, to score goals, make plays, make things happen, and not turnover pucks.”
Brace also praises the other piece of the Majors’ recent success, goalie Brandon Maxwell, who’s been stellar in his last four starts stopping 147 out of 151 shots in the last four games.
On Sunday, Maxwell recorded a 6-0 shutout over the Erie Otters and was named the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Player of Week.
His arrival only benefited the club after trading former long-lived Majors goalie J.P. Anderson for Maxwell and draft picks to the Sarnia Sting.
“He’s been outstanding ever since coming out here, making 40 saves almost every night,” Brace said about Maxwell. “It’s frustrating as a team when you give up that many shots, but great when you have a goalie to bail you out.”
“We have a good relationship since him coming over. We hang out away from the rink and we hang out at the rink,” Brace said about Maxwell. “We tell him to just focus and to do his thing… just make the easy save and we will be there to clear out the rebounds.”
It’s a duet every game with these two. Maxwell stops the puck and Brace picks it up and skates for gold, along side their dynamic teammates.
On another positive note, captain Stuart Percy returned for a second game to the Majors’ lineup.