When taking stock of his club these days, 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea has some options.
The greatly improved play of rookie goaltender Lukas Flueler -- he's won his last four starts -- now puts him in a position to push veteran Brady Morrison down the stretch for some games.
Morrison will get the nod tonight against the Barrie Colts, first in the Central Division and first in the Eastern Conference, while Flueler will play Sunday afternoon against the Sarnia Sting.
"Lukas has been making a case for himself with his fine play," said Kilrea yesterday. "Brady's played well, too, so it's a push. Hopefully they are going to push each other and make it difficult to determine who gets the spot (to start the playoffs).
"We have 18 games left and both players are going to get the chance to take a run at it. If a guy gets extremely hot, it becomes really easy: You just put his name in."
The 67's (23-24-0-3; third in the East Division; sixth in the conference) need both Morrison and Flueler, or both, to keep improving their game as the 67's continue to be in the thick of the race for playoff spots in the OHL's Eastern Conference.
METHOT SET TO RETURN
They should get some more help tonight with the return of big winger Matthieu Methot, who has been out with a leg injury.
"He skated (Wednesday) and if there's no swelling or pain (today), he'll play (tonight). That'll be good for us because he's a big body and a good skater."
Defenceman Sean Ryan (charley horse) could also be ready to return.
Having Methot back will also create some more competition for jobs up front where Kilrea hasn't been happy with the consistency of some players.
"We've got a couple of guys who haven't done much in the second half," said Kilrea. "We expect more from them. When the time comes, we'll put somebody else in there. When you do that, they'll say, 'Oh, I was just in a slump.' It's too late in the season now to say it's just a slump.
"But it's like a pitcher in baseball. If you slump long enough, you go to the bullpen. You slump long enough here and you go to the bench."