Kilrea likes what he sees of 67's ... so far

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

For Brian Kilrea, there was much more to like than dislike as the 67's opened their pre-season schedule this weekend.

Even in a 2-1 road loss last night to Belleville.

"The effort was there, the result wasn't," the 67's coach said afterward. "Overall, I thought we played well."

In Friday's 3-2 victory at the Civic Centre over a Kingston Frontenacs team that was playing its third exhibition tilt, Ottawa's goals came from leaders Logan Couture, Thomas Kiriakou and Corey Cowick, a 19-year-old winger acquired by Kilrea in June.

First-round pick Tyler Toffoli -- who won't turn 17 until April -- showed off the skills that helped him to 68 goals and 174 points in 83 games with the Jr. Canadians last season.

And rookie defencemen Derek Hartwick, Brian Birkhoff and Marc Zanetti were solid while playing in every situation as the 67's outshot the visitors 49-25.

Kilrea felt the goaltending of Adam Courchaine and Chris Perugini, both of whom allowed one goal, was decent too.

The only real negatives were injuries to defenceman Tyler Cuma (shoulder) and 16-year-old winger Pieter Schinkelshoek, who left the game "woozy" after taking a hit. While Kilrea said it's possible the rookie could have a concussion, he was confident both players would be back in the lineup soon.

Kilrea will lose winger Adam Zamec to a suspension once the league deals with his hitting-from-behind penalty, but it should be a short one.

"I liked the way we worked," Kilrea said. "Both the goalies and the defence played well, and we had a lot of chances."

Impressing Kilrea extremely in the latter department was Toffoli.

"He must have had at least five good scoring chances," said Kilrea. "It seemed like every time he was on the ice he had one.

"He adjusted well."

Toffoli's made good on his chances in Belleville, scoring Ottawa's lone goal. The 67's lost their 1-0 lead when they surrendered a power-play goal during the last minute of the second period, then fell behind near the midway mark of the third.

"In the last three minutes we had the puck in their end a lot, but we couldn't tie it," said Kilrea, whose team outshot the Bulls 30-20. "I thought Courchaine played well. (On the winner) there was a turnover, a loose puck then a shot that went in off the post."

Couture and Cowick will be off to their respective pro camps next week, as will Courchaine and defencemen Julien Demers and Cuma. Whether they'll all be back for the regular season opener Sept. 19 in Brampton is doubtful.


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