Aquino playing to impress

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

Luch Aquino wears a New York Islanders workout shirt under his uniform, but for now, it's all about the crest on the front of his sweater.

Drafted by the Islanders last summer, Aquino has been on a tear since re-joining the Brampton Battalion last month with 23 points in 11 games.

"You don't want to come back here and look at it as a slap in the face," Aquino, a Mississauga native, said. "I wanted to work as hard as I can so (the Islanders) could watch and say, 'This kid is a player.' "

The Isles picked Aquino in the seventh round in July and he began the season with their top farm affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. But in short stints with Bridgeport and Trenton of the ECHL, Aquino did not get much ice time. A return to Brampton, where he had 71 points in 65 games last season after leaving the University of Maine, was his best option.

"He's a game-breaker," Battalion coach Stan Butler said of the 5-foot-9, 200-pound overager. "One thing he does is he competes hard all the time. He will make mistakes like everybody will but he will compete in every situation."

Eight games ago, Butler moved his most talented player, Colorado Avalanche 2004 first-rounder Wojtek Wolski, to centre and inserted Aquino on the wing. Along with Aaron Snow, the line has been dynamic. Wolski has 20 points in those games, in which Brampton (third in the East) went 6-2.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

David Shantz has had a resurgence as a Peterborough Pete, with 22 wins and a .910 save percentage. The Petes got Shantz from the Mississauga IceDogs after he lost the starter's role to Michael Ouzas ... Rob Schremp of the London Knights has 90 points in 31 games, which would have put him on pace for 197 in 68 games had he played in all of them. Bobby Smith set the record with 192 points in 1977-78 with the Ottawa 67's. Schremp is on pace for 171 points.


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