The Sid is all right

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- With his second Canadian Hockey League player of the year award in his back pocket and Gary Bettman watching from a corner box, there was no chance Sidney Crosby was going to wilt last night.

Crosby, who earlier in the day became the first player to be named tops in major junior hockey in Canada in consecutive seasons, had a goal and an assist as the Rimouski Oceanic beat the Ottawa 67's 4-3 at the Memorial Cup here at the John Labatt Centre.

Crosby, 17, endured relentless abuse from the 67's.

"That's the way teams play against me," Crosby said.

"They played me tight but I don't know if it is the roughest I have seen. They weren't letting me skate around. (A) couple of times you get hit, but that's part of the game."

Crosby took a wicked one-handed slash from Ottawa's Will Colbert and later was high-sticked in the face by the same player. Neither time did referee Richard Forest, who plies his trade in the Quebec league and was awful last night, call a penalty.

The Oceanic is 1-1 and can send the defending Cup champion Kelowna Rockets home with a win tonight. The Rockets, who are in their third consecutive Cup and have eight players who have played in each of the Cups, are 0-2.

The 67's also are 1-1.

Crosby and his linemates Dany Roussin and Marc-Antoine Pouliot have been on fire. Roussin had two goals last night and Pouliot also scored, giving the three, who were 1-2-3 in Quebec league scoring during the regular season, all seven of the Oceanic's goals in two games. Coach Doris Labonte was not concerned with the lack of scoring from his other lines.

The production is not just because of Crosby, who will be the No. 1 pick when the next NHL draft is held. Roussin is a Florida Panthers choice and Pouliot was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers.

Though he has been playing the right wing for a few months, Crosby played almost exclusively at centre last night. With less than a minute left and Ottawa goalie Danny Battochio on the bench for an extra attacker, Crosby won a key faceoff deep in Rimouski's end.

Battochio proved he bleeds red like everyone else. After a 62-save effort in Ottawa's first game here, a double-overtime win against Kelowna, Battochio allowed three goals on the Oceanic's first 15 shots.

Lukas Kaspar, Brad Staubitz and Jamie McGinn scored for Ottawa.

"To be honest, I didn't think we hit anybody," 67's coach Brian Kilrea said. "It was not one of those games that was well-played defensively. We made too many mistakes."


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