67's Mrazek steps up as clear-cut No. 1 goalie

AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

The 67’s return home from a five-game road trip on top of the OHL’s East Division after picking up eight of a possible 10 points and running their record to 7-3.

Petr Mrazek started four straight — including three games in as many days — and responded well to his role as the undisputed No. 1 goalie after the trade of veteran Chris Perugini.

“We knew he was ready for it,” said coach Chris Byrne.

“We’re glad to see Chris has got off to a great start in Sault Ste. Marie (4-1, 3.38 GAA) and we’re glad to see Petr has taken the bull by the horns and done a great job here for us.”

Mrazek has rewarded the 67’s faith by posting a 3-1 record and .942 save percentage in four road starts since the trade.

After a 3-2 loss last Friday in Niagara, Byrne made a subtle switch in his top-six forward group, elevating Ryan Martindale to the first line with centre Dalton Smith and Tyler Toffoli, and putting Cody Lindsay with Shane Prince and captain Thomas Nesbitt.

The move paid immediate dividends, with the six accounting for 14 of the team’s next 16 goals, and combining for 31 points in three convincing road wins over Erie, Brampton and Kingston.

“We think we have good forwards that are interchangeable and I’m not a big believer in holding on to the same lines if things aren’t working, and for whatever reason things weren’t going,” said Byrne.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t see the lines changing back when maybe things aren’t going as well.”

Martindale and Toffoli were both named to the OHL’s Team Ontario squad that will take on Russia in London, Ont., on Nov. 11 as part of the 2010 Subway Super Series.

Other players selected from the Ottawa region include Calvin de Haan of the Oshawa Generals, Erik Gudbranson of the Kingston Frontenacs and Ryan Spooner of the Peterborough Petes.


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