67's McGinn has step on foes

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

Remarkable is a good adjective to describe 67's winger Jamie McGinn.

Like, it's remarkable how, as a 16-year-old rookie, he has snuggled in so nicely on a line with the team's top scorer (Chris Hulit) and its best centre (Julian Talbot).

And it's remarkable how, playing in just his third OHL playoff game last night, he scored a goal and an assist in the first period of the 67's 3-2 victory at the Civic Centre.

In fact, right now it seems pretty remarkable that the Fergus native lasted until the third round (50th overall) before he was chosen by Brian Kilrea in the 2004 OHL Priority Selection.

But perhaps the most remarkable part about McGinn is his feet. Specifically, that a kid listed as a 6-foot, 166-pounder like him can wear a size-14 sneaker.

He's proving he's got game despite playing with small canoes attached to the end of his legs.

McGinn, in fact, is reminding scouts of the very guy he idolizes -- former 67's star Gary Roberts.

"When you watch him in the playoffs, he's an energy guy," McGinn said over the post-game stereo when talk turned to the Leafs winger. "I just try to go out and finish my check and play with energy.

"The atmosphere (of the OHL playoffs) is awesome and I feel like I'm doing all right. But I've got to prove I can do the job still. I've got to keep working as hard as I can."

And trying to emulate Roberts means he'll be following some pretty big footsteps.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Taking an early lead on Barrie proved to be a snap for the 67's. A snap shot, anyway. From just inside the blue line by captain Wil Colbert, 18 seconds into the game. To completely contradict earlier Colt claims, goaltending will ensure Barrie makes an early exit from these playoffs ... Ottawa's Nick Van Herpt switched to his left in scoring a solid victory over Mike Roelofsen in a first-period fight that turned out to be a lot more entertaining than it started ... The 67's batted .500 in their efforts to survive bad penalties by overage centre Brad Bonello ... Ottawa got a Little lucky while giving up the first Barrie goal. Right after he put the puck in the net, Bryan Little was clipped in the face by Talbot's stick. He responded with a gentle slash on Talbot. Only the slash was caught. With Little in the box, McGinn restored the 67's lead.

NUMEROLOGICAL STUFF: There's an odd reason to believe the 67's will have a long playoff run, and it has to do with the year. In Jeff Hunt's first year as owner, they hosted and won the Memorial Cup. In Year 3 of his regime, they surprised a lot of folks by winning the OHL championship and advancing to the Memorial Cup in Regina. In Year 5, they made it to the league final before losing to the Kitchener Rangers. If you didn't know it, this is Season 7 of the Hunt era.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Having just 5,908 turn out to the Civic Centre last night was a disappointment. Just because the NHL fools have deprived us of the most exciting time of the year doesn't mean you can't get your fix of playoff atmosphere. At a fraction of the cost, too ... 67's players had a "choice" whether to cut and dye their hair for the playoffs, which is why you see some imaginative and colorful styles in their dressing room and why others look a little too normal for this time of the year. Personally, it's better to see everybody on the same page. Like the Gatineau Olympiques, who are apparently totally blond and up 3-1 in their QMJHL playoff with Cape Breton ... 67's winger Lukas Kaspar appears to have all the skills justifying his first-round selection by the San Jose Sharks. How were they to know he would mostly disappear come game time -- in his first year of hockey in North America, at least? ... Making the criticism all the more valid was a particularly strong shift Kaspar had in the third. Why can't he play like that even a little more often, Sharks GM Doug Wilson has to be wondering ..... And how is it that the "Thunder Sticks" handed out to fans at playoff time aren't actually loud? ... In both Ottawa victories to date, 67's defenceman Brad Staubitz and Barrie captain B.J. Crombeen have celebrated the final buzzer by fighting each other. And why shouldn't Staubitz take the opportunity to send a message when the five minutes both get for their efforts can never be served? ... 67's mobbed goalie Danny Battochio after the victory, and with good reason. Without his sensational performance -- glove saves off Roelofsen and Little in the second and third period come to mind in particular --Ottawa could very well be trailing this series instead of leading it. The 67's have to start getting more rubber at the Barrie net if they want to ensure advancement.


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