Soo sweet for 67's

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

There was no beer to toast the occasion, but at least 67's coach/GM Brian Kilrea was able to celebrate his 2,100th OHL game with a victory.

Providing the spark that kicked off the festivities yesterday was another homebrew: Corey Cowick.

The Gloucester-grown left winger scored twice -- bringing his team-leading total to eight -- and started the ball rolling toward a 6-2 victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds with a first-shift fight.

It was moments after Cowick's dance with Jake Carrick that Thomas Kiriakou scored the power-play goal to give the 67's a lead they would never even come close to relinquishing.

"Sometimes to get the boys in the game, you've got to do what you've got to do," said Cowick, obtained in what is looking more and more like an outstanding off-season trade with the Oshawa Generals. "We came out a little bit flat the last couple of days, and Carrick was willing to go, so I just kind of responded.

"Sometimes a fight does a lot more than some of the words in the room. I know it fires me up watching (one). I just tried to fire the boys up a little bit and it seemed to work."

The Civic Centre crowd -- considerably smaller than the 6,263 tickets sold -- quietly watched without the privilege of sipping suds as the rink served the second of a two-game penalty for selling alcohol to a minor. Similar punishment has been levied at Scotiabank Place, but the Senators are appealing.

Kiriakou's was one of four first-period power-play goals for the 67's.

With former Soo coach (and current Senators bench boss) Craig Hartsburg watching from the press box, the Greyhounds responded to the intermission words of coach (and former Senators plugger) Denny Lambert by playing the 67's even the rest of the way.

But with a solid performance by goalie Chris Perugini and the strong play of "Big Two" defencemen Tyler Cuma and Julien Demers, the 67's were easily able to maintain their lead and improve their record to 6-6, three points back of first-place Belleville.

It was also Kilrea's 1,159th victory against 756 losses and a whole bunch of ties and overtime games.

The Greyhounds fell to 6-5-1.

"They're a hard-working team and they proved it," said Kilrea. "They kept hammering, they kept finishing checks and they kept working. The difference ... was our power play in the first period."

Agreeing and expanding on that sentiment was Cuma, the day's best player.

"Our power play has been clicking really well the whole season, and especially (yesterday)," said the Minnesota Wild first-rounder.

"Right now we have one of the best power plays in the league, and we're one of the best penalty-killing teams. If we keep our special teams up like this and play hard 5-on-5, we'll be a great team."

PLEADS IGNORANCE

Also scoring for the 67's were Cuma, Demers and Ryan Martindale. Rookie Tyler Toffoli had three assists and first-year blueliner Marc Zanetti added a pair of helpers.

Matt Caria and Simon Fischhaber scored for the Soo.

Of his latest milestone, Kilrea pleaded ignorance.

"I didn't even know about it," he said of No. 2,100. "(Owner) Jeff (Hunt) told me before the game. All I know is I've coached a long time."

Asked about having two-thirds of a Gordie Howe hat trick before the halfway mark of the first -- then never getting the assist -- Cowick admitted thinking about accomplishing the second such feat of his OHL career.

"Especially when you have it in the first, a lot of things cross your mind and that's something that does," said Cowick, who had a goal, assist and fight in a game against Brampton as a General. "It's the type of game I play.

"But I think the two points are a little better than a Gordie Howe hat trick."


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