Oceanic vs. Knights will be memorable

Sidneyy Crosby whoops it after scoring one of his three goals in last night's Memorial Cup...

Sidneyy Crosby whoops it after scoring one of his three goals in last night's Memorial Cup semi-final at London against the 67's. Crosby also added two assists as the Rimouski Oceanic star led his team to a 7-4 win and a berth in this afternoon's final against the powerful London Knights. (Morris Lamont, SUN Media)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:13 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Call it what you want.

The best player in junior hockey, Sidney Crosby, versus the best team in junior hockey, the London Knights.

The Ontario Hockey League champion Knights versus the champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Rimouski Oceanic.

Or, simply, the final of the 2005 Memorial Cup (4:30 p.m., Sportsnet).

Providing more evidence that the best players are those who come to play in the biggest games, the 17-year-old Crosby ensured the championship game most observers wanted with a scintillating five-point performance as the Oceanic beat the Ottawa 67's 7-4 last night in the semi-final.

"This is the Memorial Cup and it's what you dream of," said Crosby, who had three goals and two assists and will play in his last junior game today.

"If we can say we brought our best game, that's all we can do. You can talk about playing two in less than 24 hours, but for a lot of us this is our last game and we're going to leave it all out there."

Patrick Coulombe, with two goals, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Mario Scalzo Jr. also scored for Rimouski. Jamie McGinn, with two, Derek Joslin and Julian Talbot scored for Ottawa.

In the tournament opener, the Knights beat the Oceanic 4-3 in overtime after Rimouski had a 3-1 lead.

Knights defenceman and captain Danny Syvret, one of the more astute players in the event, was anticipating competing against Crosby one more time at the major junior level.

"He makes everything exciting," said Syvret, a teammate of Crosby with Canada's junior team this past winter. "He is a challenge to us as defencemen and you want to be challenged when you are out there. He is so quick and smart and strong. I enjoy playing against him."

Crosby, who strangely did not have to put up with much physical abuse last night, leads the Cup in scoring with 11 points. He and his linemates, Dany Roussin and Pouliot, have combined for 29 points.

The Knights, who never have seemed happy with just the fact they are an excellent hockey club, allegedly complained about the skates of Oceanic goalie Cedrick Desjardins. They were upset earlier this month when 67's goalie Danny Battochio used Overdrive blades, and he had to take them off.

Desjardins has not used the blades since bantam.

"They made a complaint and it was absolutely false," Oceanic coach Doris Labonte said.

"We don't appreciate that."

Many expect Corey Perry and other Knights to expose the Oceanic's suspect defence today and the general feeling is London, a deeper club, will win its first Memorial Cup.

Last night marked the end of the fifth Cup appearance for 67's Hall of Fame coach Brian Kilrea. He has won it twice.

"We didn't do a lot of things well, but there is no use naming anybody because they are the fellas who got us here," said Kilrea, who made a point of thanking the city for the well-organized tournament.


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