Grimaldi adjusting well to life with 67's

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

After a crash course in everything about junior hockey in Ottawa -- including learning about Brian Kilrea -- Joe Grimaldi is starting to fit right in with the 67's.

The 19-year-old defenceman, who defected from NCAA hockey to major junior earlier this month at the OHL trade deadline, had some quick learning to do when the 67's acquired his rights from Windsor.

"When I found out I might be coming to Ottawa, I did some research," said Grimaldi. "I didn't even know who Brian Kilrea was."

The Long Island, N.Y., native got to know the 67's coach quickly last week, arriving in Toronto from Omaha, Neb. last Thursday to play against St. Michael's.

And he made a sudden impact in his first OHL appearance, scoring on his first shot for the tying goal during a power play in the third, and the 67's went on to a 4-2 victory.

"I was telling myself earlier in the game that if you get just one shot, make it count," he said. "I didn't go out there just wanting to score, but I wanted to just play solid. I guess if you play well on defence, then everything else like scoring will take care of itself."

His efforts have received praise from Kilrea and his coaching staff.

Along with Grimaldi's efforts, Kilrea also liked what he saw from newcomer Brett Liscomb, a Long Sault native who joined the club from the Spitfires after being traded to the 67's with a second-round draft pick for winger Bryan Bickell.

"They both worked hard and they both added to our team," said Kilrea.

Both players will make their Civic Centre debut with the 67's tonight against the Peterborough Petes.

Grimaldi joined the club after suddenly leaving the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks and the subsequent trade of his rights from the Spitfires to the 67's.

He's looking forward to experiencing tonight's East Division rivalry match against Peterborough.

"I've heard it gets pretty rowdy in here," said Grimaldi. "I'm looking forward to seeing the building packed because I've seen it empty all week."

The 67's will get a break during home games with the installation of new, taller glass along the side boards between the player benches and goal lines.

The new glass extends six feet from the top of the boards -- two extra feet than the previous barrier -- to give players an easier time clearing pucks out of their zone.


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