Toffoli has Kilrea talking

MIKE KOREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

KINGSTON -- Brian Kilrea thinks his friends in the NHL scouting fraternity should keep an eye on 67's rookie winger Tyler Toffoli.

The 67's coach and GM won't be shy about singing the praises of his 2008 first-round pick if Toffoli continues performing like he did yesterday in a 4-3 win over the Frontenacs at the K-Rock Centre.

"I think Toffoli is going to be a star in the league and definitely a player who won't have to sit a long time for his name to be called in the (NHL draft)," Kilrea said after Toffoli led the 67's to a sweep of a home-and-home series against the Frontenacs with two goals yesterday.

The Toronto native, who has 23 points in 29 games, drove to the net with zeal yesterday and was rewarded with two goals from in close.

Toffoli opened the scoring when he banged home a beautiful pass from linemate Ryan Martindale, himself a two-goal scorer in Saturday's 5-2 win over the last-place Fronts.

Then, in the second period, Toffoli fought off fellow first-rounder Erik Gudbranson to knock a rebound past Frontenacs goalie Mavric Parks on the power play, making it 3-1.

"We've just been working hard and the line has been playing well," Toffoli said. "(Yesterday), I was just fortunate enough to get some goals."

Riding their youngsters, the 67's (15-12-0-2) have won three of their past four games to move into sole possession of third place in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

"Sometimes when you ask kids like Martindale (a sophomore) and Toffoli to play three (games) in three (days) like they are, you're asking a lot," Kilrea said. "But they did a good job."

It wasn't a stress-free day behind the bench for Kilrea. Seemingly in control with a 4-1 lead after two periods, the 67's gave up two goals before the third was 10 minutes old to put the outcome in doubt.

But the 67's killed off a penalty late in the game, with goalie Adam Courchaine making several big stops. He made 35 saves on the day.

"I thought when they made it 4-2 with that bouncing puck (Nathan Moon put the puck in off an Ottawa player's skate), they took all the life out of it," Kilrea said. "They applied all the pressure and we were lucky. We just hung on."

Corey Cowick and Cody Lindsay also scored for the 67's.


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