Sharing top line part of Perry dream

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The 2005 world junior hockey championship was Corey Perry's coming-out party.

The London Knights forward played on the top line with 17-year-old sensation Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic and Patrice Bergeron, on loan from the Boston Bruins organization.

Perry, an Anaheim Mighty Ducks first-round draft pick, never once looked out of place and didn't miss a step in his first and only world junior appearance.

The 19-year-old was the last player cut from the 2004 team's selection camp and was even on the bubble during this camp.

He was listed as the 13th forward when the 22-player roster was named, but got his big opportunity when Jeremy Colliton of the Prince Albert Raiders suffered a knee injury.

Perry made the most of it and showed he belonged on the No. 1 line.

He finished the tournament with two goals and five assists, while Bergeron topped all tournament scorers with five goals and seven assists and was named tourney MVP.

Crosby had six goals and three assists.

"Sidney has everything going for him right now, and Patrice is already a well-established NHL player. Luckily I happened to be playing along- side of them," Perry said.

"This is an unbelievable feeling for me -- to make the team, to being beside Bergeron and Crosby. They were saying I was the 13th guy and unfortunately Jeremy got injured, but somebody had to step up, and thank God it was me."

Perry said it was a dream come true to win the gold medal.

"You never ever get to feel like this again. The team in that dressing room was committed from Day 1. Everyone knew what was at stake.

"All we had to do was look in the eyes of the (12) guys who played last year to see how bad they wanted the gold medal after being robbed last year."

Crosby paid his linemates a compliment.

"This is a dream come true, and it was a great opportunity to play with Patrice and Corey," he said.

Perry has 23 goals and 40 assists in 30 games with the Knights. His 63 points withstood being away at the world juniors as he continues to lead the OHL scoring parade.

The Canadian players reported to camp in Winnipeg on Dec. 12. They fly home today and Perry said he can't wait to return to the Knights.

He plans to be in the lineup tomorrow night when the Knights play in Windsor.

A hero's welcome awaits Friday night at the John Labatt Centre when the Knights play Oshawa.

AWARDS, ALL-STARS

MVP: Patrice Bergeron, F, Canada

Top goaltender: Marek Schwarz, Czech Republic

Top defenceman: Dion Phaneuf, Canada

Top forward: Alexander Ovechkin, Russia

All-star team

Goal: Schwarz

Defence: Phaneuf; Ryan Suter, U.S.

Forwards: Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Canada; Ovechkin


Photos