Kilrea has goalie battle on his hands

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Matthew Spezza dropped a load of weight during the off-season and is pushing for the backup goaltending job to Danny Battochio with the 67's.

Either that, or he's playing well to put on a good show for the scouts from other OHL teams who could contact Brian Kilrea about making a deal.

From all accounts, Spezza has been steady in Ottawa's pre-season schedule, and that continued last night in Kingston during a 3-2 win over the Frontenacs.

Spezza started in net and didn't allow a goal on 19 shots before Anthony Guadagnolo in took over in the third period.

"He's been playing well and he's doing well for himself," said Kilrea, whose team is undefeated in four exhibition contests. "These guys know that they need to play well, because you never know what will happen. It could be that another team is going to need a goalie down the road."

Spezza joined the 67's before last season's trade deadline in a deal with Kingston to give the club an extra goalie in case of an injury to Battochio or backup Anthony Guadagnolo.

He wanted more playing time, but saw action in only three games.

RARE LUXURY

Kilrea has the rare luxury of having three good goalies heading into this season.

Battochio was lights-out spectacular during his team's playoff run last year and almost single-handedly carried the club to the Eastern Conference title and a trip to the Memorial Cup.

He attended the Chicago Blackhawks' rookie camp and has returned to Ottawa as the 67's top goalie and one of the club's three overage players.

That leaves a battle between Guadagnolo and Spezza for the backup role.

Spezza has been making a statement so far in the pre-season. He played well during Ottawa's two exhibition wins against the St. John's Fog Devils in Corner Brook, Nfld., last weekend.

Last night, Guadagnolo allowed two goals early in the third to the Frontenacs, but made several important saves to keep the game tied at 2-2.

Jamie McGinn, the club's top rookie last year, scored his second goal of last night's contest on a 2-on-1 give-and-go with Pat Ouellette eight minutes into the final period for the winner.

Overage winger Chris Hulit opened the scoring for Ottawa in the first. Rookie Logan Couture had two assists.


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