Toffoli helps 67's beat back Bulls

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

It's been a while since a rookie has made Brian Kilrea's eyes light up the way they do when he speaks about Tyler Toffoli.

No wonder.

The 16-year-old winger scored on his third of three great chances in the opening period last night as the 67's wrapped up their pre-season schedule with a 4-2 win over the Belleville Bulls in front of 6,524 at the Civic Centre. Toffoli added another goal in the third period, giving him four in the last three games.

"Nobody's wondering why we took him first," Kilrea said of his top draft choice. "We knew he was good, that he had great hands and a great head. But he's played on different lines, with everybody. He's worked well with (Mike) Latta and (Ryan) Martindale .. that could be a good line for us."

The 67's, who went 1-1-1 in exhibition play, open the regular season with a road trip to Brampton and Niagara, next Friday and Saturday.

"I think it's just hard work ... and I've been playing with good players. That always helps," Toffoli said of his recent scoring streak. "I came into the season not expecting too much, but I'm getting a chance and I have to prove I can be on the better lines and compete with the older, stronger players."

Greely rookie Dylan Anderson added a goal and an assist for the 67's last night. Also scoring was veteran Matt Lahey, who was playing his first game since off-season knee surgery. If Lahey can finally stay healthy, he should provide the 67's with a huge boost this season.

Cory Tanaka and Matthew Tipoff scored for the Bulls, who suffered their first loss of the pre-season.

Chris Perugini had a strong game in the 67's net, stopping 26-of-28 shots.

Against the defending Eastern Conference champs, who had many of last year's stars in the lineup, the 67's were without veterans Logan Couture, Julien Demers, Tyler Cuma and Corey Cowick, all of whom left for NHL camps this week.

Goalie Adam Courchaine will do likewise when he heads to Boston on Monday.

The 67's have learned they'll also be without winger Adam Zamec for the first six games, as he serves a suspension for an illegal hit in the team's first pre-season match. Also questionable is rookie Pieter Schinkelshoek, who is sidelined with a concussion.

Meanwhile, Kilrea has decided to keep 16-year-old Ryan Hanes with the club for the season. Originally, he had planned to sign the Kanata native to an affiliate card, allowing Hanes to play a 10-game maximum with the 67's then spend the rest of the season with the CJHL's Gloucester Rangers.


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