Oceanic aid Knights

JIM KERNAGHAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

The London Knights didn't play last night, but still moved a little closer to Sunday's Memorial Cup final when the Rimouski Oceanic defeated Ottawa 67's 4-3 in a hard-fought battle at the John Labatt Centre.

The Knights, with two wins in two games, play the 67's, with a win and a loss in their two starts, tomorrow night.

Last night's game started like chess and turned into a trench war before the first period was over.

Had Sidney Crosby connected on a couple of clear-cut breakaways, Rimouski might have put the game away after two periods rather than holding a tenuous 3-1 lead.

"Yeah, that doesn't happen too much. He (Crosby) doesn't miss many," Rimouski's Mario Scalzo said.

"We're a more offensive team, they're a more physical team," he added, still in pain from a spear he took in the side.

Whatever the diversity of styles, however, the hockey was befitting two of the top four junior teams in Canada.

Crosby might have been surprised to find himself with open ice.

"They played me tight," he said. "Every game is important and they're going to do whatever it takes to win the game."

The 67's battled back to pour shots on goal as the game progressed and wound up sending 51 shots on goal to Rimouski's 39.

It paid off just 50 seconds into the third period when Brad Staubitz sent a point shot between a melange of bodies to give Ottawa a chance.

Then Dany Roussin, with his second goal of the game, slammed the puck over a prone Danny Battochio. Ottawa replied to that, too, 16-year-old Jamie McGinn tipping Staubitz' point drive to again keep Ottawa in it.

"We didn't play 60 minutes," Staubitz said. "We gave them too many chances and they capitalized."

Rimouski jumped to a 3-1 lead a minute into the second period when Crosby initiated a three-way relay that Marc-Antoine Pouliot converted over a sprawled Battochio.

The second was a period of rarities. Both goaltenders were penalized. Rimouski goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who did a good job of hip-checking his net off the moorings in the tournament's opening game against London, was called on it. Battochio was called for holding.

Fans saw a rare offensive thrust -- a three-on-zero by Rimouski. It ended when Crosby teed up Roussin and he shot wide.

Crosby opened the scoring with an off-speed shot on a power play in the first period. Waiting 10 metres out, he one-timed a pass from the side boards that caught Battochio on the stick side.

Roussin put Rimouski, which enjoyed last change as home team, up by two when he finished off a buzzing Oceanic attack with a short shot through legs that eluded Battochio before the gaze of veteran Ottawa coach Brian Kilrea.

Ottawa got that one back with Roussin off for sending 67's defenceman Staubitz into Battochio that left the Ottawa players and the net in a heap.

Lukas Kaspar pounced on an attempted Oceanic clearing pass, stepped in from the top of the slot and slammed a blast between Desjardins' pads.


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