Petruzalek scores rookie award

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

At this rate, the overseas long-distance bills will start piling up on 67's rookie Jakub Petruzalek.

The 19-year-old, who scored 10 times and added 11 assists during October in earning the OHL rookie of the month award, quickly called his mother back in the Czech Republic after learning of the news yesterday.

If he keeps up that kind of scoring pace, he'll be calling home several more times this season.

Petruzalek leads the 67's in scoring with 10 goals and 24 points and is ahead of all other OHL rookies in the scoring category.

The 2004 ninth-round pick of the New York Rangers also had two game-winning goals.

"It's a big honour for him because there are a lot of great rookies in the league this year," said 67's coach/GM Brian Kilrea. "He's been our best rookie."

That's great praise for Petruzalek, who started the year in the shadow of countryman and linemate Lukas Kaspar. The latter was a first-round pick of the NHL draft by San Jose.

While Kaspar has shown flashes of brilliance in his Canadian junior debut, it's Petruzalek who's stolen the show.

"He's come in here and played well because he's a feisty kid," said Kilrea, who picked up both Czechs in the first round of last summer's Canadian Hockey League import draft. "He could add life onto any line he plays on."

That same kind of emotion, Kilrea believes, would help Kaspar, too.

"We all know Lukas is a great player and we think he'll get going," said Kilrea of the 18-year-old, who has eight goals and 15 points this season.

"Sometimes he doesn't play with emotion, and that can make all the difference whether you make it (to the NHL), or you don't."

WALKING WOUNDED: Still early in the season, the 67's continue to experience a season from hell in the injury department. D Elgin Reid reaggravated a shoulder injury during the team's road trip to southwestern Ontario and Michigan last weekend and will miss tonight's game at the Civic Centre (7:30 p.m.) against Windsor. D Tyson Aitcheson will also be out with a groin injury, as well as LW Brody Todd (concussion). Anthony Guadagnolo starts in net for Ottawa tonight while No. 1 goalie Danny Battochio nurses a shoulder separation he suffered last Saturday in Saginaw. "It just seems to be one thing after another," said Kilrea. "We just haven't been able to get completely healthy."

IN THE CREASE: The OHL also honoured London F Corey Perry as October's player of the month, St. Albert native Andre Benoit of Kitchener as top defenceman, and London's Ryan MacDonald as top goalie ... Battochio said he'll be ready to play next week.


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