Good backup plan

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Chris Perugini already had made the team going into yesterday's 67's Black and White intrasquad game.

After stopping 48 shots in the Black team's 2-1 win at the Civic Centre, the little 16-year-old goaltender validated the decision by 67's coach and general manager Brian Kilrea and his scouts.

"He's the best of the new bunch and we went with what we saw," said Kilrea. "He beat the test."

Perugini backstopped the Black team yesterday, which got both goals from a trim Scott Cowie. Perugini, taken in the third round of last spring's OHL draft, will back up Adam Courchaine in the 67's net.

Size hasn't been an issue so far for Perugini and his genes seem good. He's the brother of goaltender Andrew Perugini of the Barrie Colts.

"All I know is he is taller than the crossbar," said Kilrea, when asked Perugini's size, which is about 5-foot-9 and 145 lbs. "He reminds me a lot of (former 67's goaltender) Darren Pang."

"I thought I had a good chance of making the team and the way I played really closed the deal," said Perugini. "I feel really good. I played well in the scrimmages and again (yesterday)."

Perugini will be one of four 16-year-olds on the team this year, joining top pick Michael Latta, second-rounder Ryan Martindale (who won't be 16 until the end of next month) and fourth-rounder Jonathan Carnevale.

With veteran Matt Lahey out indefinitely with a knee injury, Latta got the chance to play with first-liners Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn yesterday. Kilrea wants Latta to play at centre, though.Martindale and Carnevale played on a line with Cowie and showed well.

"They'll contribute this year. It's the same old story. Adjust in the first half and contribute in the second," said Kilrea of the new crop.

Kilrea made his final cuts after yesterday's game and expects to carry 22 or 23 players. D Rene Lamoureux, W Shane Innes and C Zachary Laroche were released. Kilrea said he wanted to talk to 19-year-old D Jamie Craig before deciding what to do with him.

Lahey is expected to see the doctor about his knee on Thursday and Kilrea will see him in Kingston on Sunday when the 67's take on the Frontenacs in pre-season action.

The 67's open their exhibition schedule Friday night at home with the Bulls (7:30 p.m.) and travel to Belleville on Saturday.

OTTAWA 67'S ROSTER

Goaltenders-- Andrew Courchaine, Chris Perugini.

Defence -- Tyler Cuma, Martin Paryzek, Sean Ryan, Julien Demers, Radim Ostrcil, Matt McDougall, Jordan Gallea.

Forwards -- Jamie McGinn-Logan Couture-Michael Latta; Matthieu Methot-Thomas Kiriakou-Jason Bailey; Matt Ribeiro-Cody Lindsay-Thomas Nesbitt; Scott Cowie-Ryan Martindale-Jonathan Carnevale

Injured -- Matt Lahey (knee).


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