Breakthrough Brave – 90% Carbon, Low bow, 22mm at 200mm
L2 – 80% Carbon, Extreme low bow 24mm at 200mm
I am going to give a general review of all 3 but I will make some special notes as well.
Touch/Dribbling 8.5/10 All three sticks had a touch compound on the face of the head which gave very nice feel on the ball. The textured control area on the Breakthrough sticks continued all the way up the face of the stick, and while this sounds excessive I found it really good for getting flat and controlling the ball. All three sticks had a nice high balance point, making the head feel really light and making quick skills really easy, all 3 had a really nice bow for dribbling with and a thin head which made it easy to get under the ball for 3-D skills.
The stand out was the Valiant and the L2, with both having the Extreme low bow it was so smooth to transfer power into the ball and fire it into the corners. I found it was still relatively easy with the Brave to lift the ball into the roof of the net and into the corners but it just required a little more effort then with the low bow.
Hitting 9/10 These sticks didn’t half put some oomph on the ball when you hit. All three sticks were pretty stiff for their relative carbon percentage. I found it really easy to transfer the power to the ball through the large sweet spot with little to no vibrations. The L2 was a bit softer then the Breakthrough but I didn’t fell like there was a substantial drop in power between the 2 ranges. With all these sticks being low bows obviously you need to adjust your technique to make sure the ball stays flat.
I also want to note that the textured face on the Breakthrough range made them fantastic for playing slider passes, I found I could get a lot of spin/whip through, even when performing a disguised pass to the right.
Reverse 8.5/10 Though the head of the stick is very thin the edge is fairly thick. I found it really easy to put direction on the ball and keep it really flat to the ground hitting where the coloured stripe met the reverse edge on the Breakthrough sticks. I found it a lot harder to control the height on reverse hits with the L2 stick because there was no visual reference to aim for. I am sure with more time with the stick I would either work out a visual reference or work out the reverse edge sweet spot and put some tape at this point to aim for. Even though I found it harder to control the height hitting on reverse with the L2 I still found it easy to put in into the edge of the goal (they would have been corners if I had more height control but most went into the side netting about knee to waist high).
Dragflick/Aerials 9/10 The stand out was the Breakthrough Valiant, the XLB and the textured face made it really easy to pick up the ball and gave some real whip to the the release. I also swear it got some curve onto the flicks as well but that is just my opinion. The L2 was also very nice to dragflick with and the Brave was good too but the Valiant was fantastic. With regards to aerials they are low bow sticks, so this made throwing overheads really easy, again the stand out was the Valiant, again the textured face on the Breakthrough sticks in my opinion added to the control of the ball on the stick and allowed for a better transfer of power
My personal favorite out of the three was the Valiant. For me the textured face really helped with control on the ball when playing slider passes or dragflicking. The sticks I used for reviewing were also the Exclusive hockey demo sticks and had some wear on the face and head but the textured face was still fantastic and there were no clips on the sticks that I could find.