LEWISTON – Even 16-year-old hockey phenom Sidney Crosby didn’t have this many points in 31 games.

Colby Gilbert and Kyle Smith, senior forwards at Edward Little High School, teamed up to score 201 points to lead the Red Eddies to their second consecutive state title in 2004.

Statistically speaking, Smith had the better numbers, compiling 58 goals and 47 assists for 105 points.

“He’s just a first-class hockey player,” EL coach Jamie Belleau said of Smith. “He is a strong skater, he moves the puck well and he has good vision on the ice. His instincts are great.”

And while Smith was a marked man all season, drawing physical play from the top defensive pairings in the state, he kept his penalty minutes to a minimum. With 62 penalty minutes, Smith averaged two minutes per game.

“The thing that makes his numbers that much more impressive is the fact that he got more than 100 points with players draped all over him,” Belleau said. “He put up those numbers and played with a tremendous amount of discipline.”

Gilbert, meanwhile, also showed that discipline, accruing 42 penalty minutes while scoring 46 goals and adding 50 assists for 96 points.

“Colby is the full package,” Belleau said. “He can shoot the puck, he can skate fast, he sees the ice well and he plays well in the defensive zone. He’s a gamer.”

But while individually they impressed their coaches and fans, it was as a tandem that their abilities really shone through. When the season began, however, Belleau wasn’t sure that his two star players would even play together on the same line.

“At the beginning we though that we may have to balance things out and split them up,” Belleau said. “But with the rest of the team emerging like it did, we were able to keep all of the lines consistent the way we started the season. That in itself helped them out tremendously, as well.”

Together with linemate Joel Pepin, who had more than 50 points, Smith and Gilbert tore through opponents’ defenses at will.

“They have played together for so long,” Belleau said. “All of last year, and on top of that they played at Hockey Night in Boston together last year. Starting the year, we knew that if both of them could remain unselfish that they would be scary to watch.”

As evidenced by their numbers, with both goals and assists being relatively equal, the tandem didn’t let talent go to their heads. Instead, as the season progressed, the duo just got stronger.

For leading Edward Little on an impressive run to a second consecutive state title, for combining to score nearly seven points per game between them and for their dedication, Colby Gilbert and Kyle Smith are the 2003-04 Sun Journal High School Hockey Players of the Year.

Next year, Smith plans to play for the Manchester Junior Monarchs, while Gilbert continues to weigh his options, including a potential invitation to the Lewiston Maineiacs’ training camp in August.

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