Veteran winger's return helps jumpstart 67's

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

An old face has given the Ottawa 67's a new look.

As the team prepares for a weekend homestand at the Civic Centre against the Belleville Bulls tonight and the Owen Sound Attack Sunday, coach and GM Brian Kilrea couldn't be happier about right winger Jason Bailey's return to the lineup.

Bailey, 20, resumed playing last weekend after missing 17 games with mononucleosis. Kilrea says his leadership has given the club a much-needed boost.

"Getting Bailey back has been a big help," Kilrea said before last night's 3-2 loss to the Petes in Peterborough.

'ALL-OUT EFFORT'

"He's so good in the room and he's so good with the kids. When he's on the ice, it's an all-out effort. There is nothing halfway. It doesn't matter whether he's forechecking, backchecking or hitting.

"Sometimes that stuff rubs off on somebody else because they see a guy working that hard and they want to follow the leader."

With Bailey back, the 67's won two of three games last weekend, including back-to-back victories over the Oshawa Generals.

Kilrea said players with Bailey's experience and work ethic are hard to replace.

"You get a guy that you haven't had (in the lineup) and you know he's good," said Kilrea.

SOLID GOALTENDING

"You have different guys trying to fill in. We have a 16-year-old like Michael Latta trying to fill in and play that role. Well, Latta is going to be good, but it's tough for a rookie to play that role."

The 67's coaching staff has also been pleased lately with the efforts of goaltenders Adam Courchaine and Chris Peruigini.

Courchaine will start tonight vs. the Bulls while Peruigini will likely start against Owen Sound.

"The goalies have been superb," said Kilrea.

"The guys have played like they know the saves are going to come. That gives everybody else a little bit of lift because you can gamble. We've got the goaltending that is going to save us and keep us in games."


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