Where's the grit?

Dave Andreychuk of Montreal takes a backhand shot against Boston during their OSHL game last night...

Dave Andreychuk of Montreal takes a backhand shot against Boston during their OSHL game last night at the Brampton Sports Centre. Boston won 14-11. (Fred Thornhill, Toronto Sun)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

There is nothing within the rules of the Original Stars Hockey League that states breaking a sweat could lead to a penalty. Makes you wonder, though.

The third game in the fledgling league was played before a few hundred fans at the Brampton Sports Centre last night and let's just say the OSHL is a work in progress.

Attendance has dropped in Sarnia and Brampton following a crowd of 2,176 at the inaugural game in Barrie this past Friday and whether it's by lack of promotion or word of mouth, people quickly are coming to the conclusion it's not worth their money.

The players say they are having fun and why shouldn't they be? If you're Dave Andreychuk, you've spent an NHL career getting pounded in front of the net. But it's safe to say no one has even breathed on Andreychuk, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain, in the two games he has played.

"We're going through it right now just to get a feel of how things are going to go," Andreychuk said. "The pace will pick up, you'll see guys get their legs under them. I think when word gets out, you're going to see a lot more people in the stands."

The four-on-four concept of league president Randy Gumbley is not a bad one, except hockey fans like a little bit, just an teeny-tiny bit, of sandpaper in their hockey. Can you believe Matthew Barnaby (listed as Mike Barnaby on the lineup sheet), Jody Shelley, Eric Cairns, Chris Neil and Darcy Hordichuk all played last night and no one suffered even a glare? And who knew Barnaby and Neil could shred defencemen, as they did more than a few times?

"When the score is tight at the end of the game guys start whacking a bit and go a little harder after the puck," goalie Andrew Raycroft said. "That's what we need to do more consistently."

And guard against developing bad habits, which is next to impossible in this kind of hockey.

"That's just part of it," Mike Comrie said. "Whether you are practising every day and scrimmaging, you are going to do things you are not normally doing when you are playing in the NHL. That's just the way it is."

By the way, the final score was Boston 14, Montreal 11. Next game is tomorrow night in Kitchener.


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