Charley horse checks Czech

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Just when things started to get rolling for Czech import Lukas Kaspar, his introduction to North American junior hockey ran into a road block.

The first-round San Jose Sharks draft pick missed the 67's game in Peterborough last night and might remain out of action for tonight's game at the Civic Centre against the Guelph Storm (7:30 p.m.).

Kaspar, who led the club with five goals prior to last night's game, suffered a charley horse during last Sunday's 4-1 loss to St. Michael's.

He crumpled to the ice in pain, a sight that sent shivers up and down the 67's bench.

'WAIT AND SEE'

"We thought it was bad at first, but there's no structural damage and that's the good news," said 67's coach Brian Kilrea. "He might be able to go (tonight). It's one of those wait-and-see things."

The 67's could have used Kaspar last night when they lost 3-2 to the Petes. The hosts scored two goals within 19 seconds in the last 2:01 of the third period to beat Ottawa (2-4-0).

Kilrea blamed a combination of defensive breakdowns for the loss, but he said the club worked hard and praised Danny Battochio for producing another stellar effort in the 67's net.

"All I can say is we're getting closer," the coach said.

Kaspar and linemate Jakub Petruzalek had been flying high during their initial Ontario Hockey League games. They were most impressive during a road win in Sault Ste. Marie where they combined for six points on the team's top line, including a hat trick for Kaspar.

That success continued in the home opener last Friday against Sudbury when both Czechs rallied the club in the third period for a 5-3 win. Petruzalek scored the tying goal, then Kaspar got the winner and added an insurance marker, both on great feeds from Petruzalek.

Mark Mancari moved to the team's top line last night, joining Petruzalek and Peter Tsimikalis.

Ottawa native Jeremy Akeson moved from the third line to the second line with Julian Talbot and Bryan Bickell, who scored both 67's goals last night.

SALUTE TO CHAMPS

Meanwhile, 3,000 tickets remained available for tonight's game as of yesterday morning. The 67's will honour the 1984 and 1999 Memorial Cup championship teams tonight. Members of both clubs, including Gary Roberts, Darren Pang and Brian Campbell, will be on hand for pre-game autographs.

NOTES: The Storm, defending OHL champs, are 2-3-1 this season ... Danny Taylor, a Los Angeles Kings draftee and the CJHL's goalie of the year in 2003 with Cumberland, set Storm records last season for rookie wins (16) and goals-against average (2.71) ... Guelph rookie defenceman Brent Mackie tallied 178 penalty minutes in 45 games with Smiths Falls of the CJHL last year ... Ottawa defencemen Elgin Reid and Robbie Lawrance could return to the lineup before next weekend's games. Both have not played this year due to shoulder injuries.


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