Rimouski Oceanic head coach Doris Labonte doesn't like the London Knights' head games.
After his team's 7-4 victory over the Ottawa 67's last night to gain a berth in today's Memorial Cup final against London, Labonte blasted the Knights for filing a complaint to the Canadian Hockey League about Rimouski goaltender Cedrick Desjardins' skates.
According to Labonte, the Knights have accused Desjardins of using an Overdrive blade, a small piece of steel placed on the skate that helps a goalie move side-to-side on the ice. It's favoured by butterfly-style goalies and Desjardins fits that bill. The blade was outlawed by the NHL in 2001.
During the OHL final, the Knights also made the same complaint about Ottawa goalie Danny Battochio's equipment. The 67's goalie was forced to alter his skates.
"We don't appreciate comments like that. I don't know if it's mind games but they accused our goalie of having illegal equipment," Labonte said. "We're just hoping for a fair game. If we get penalties and deserve them, we will take them and shut up. I just hope there's no more charging our goaltender like we saw in the first game (when London's Dan Fritsche ran over Desjardins twice). There was some diving, too. All we hope is the referee sees the calls and make them."
The Oceanic, who have trailed for only 11 minutes in their four Cup games, aren't worried about their short rest between the semifinal and today's final.
"When we left Rimouski, the only thing on our minds was to play on May 29 and we're there," Labonte said. "We're the challenger. They're the No. 1 team in Canada. They're at home. They're in their environment. We've been on the road for 11 days. They can't lose. They can't afford to lose. All the pressure's on them."
To win their second Cup since 2000, Rimouski needs its brightest star -- 17-year-old forward Sidney Crosby -- to have his top effort in his final major junior hockey game.
It'll be hard to top last night -- Crosby collected three goals and five points and the Oceanic rode their top line all tournament.
Crosby and linemates Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Dany Roussin, plus defensive pair Patrick Coulombe and Mario Scalzo, Jr., have scored 16 of Rimouski's 18 goals in this tournament. That five-man unit struck for a stunning 17 points against Ottawa.
"When the team needs you the most, you want to be there," Crosby said. "We really put it to ourselves to step it up (last night) but we have to realize that this one's over and we have a lot tougher test (today)."