LEWISTON – The Lewiston Maineiacs may have played their best game in recent weeks Wednesday night at the Colisee, but that effort was not enough to overcome nine Rimouski power plays and 17-year-old phenom Sidney Crosby.

Crosby scored two goals and added an assist and the Oceanic went 4-for-9 on the power play, upending the Maineiacs 5-3 in front of 3,285 fans at the Colisee.

“We battled hard,” said Maineiacs coach Clem Jodoin. “The kids, with the short lineup, played really well tonight.”

Crosby did more than score twice for the Oceanic. Three of the goals that Rimouski scored with a man advantage came after penalties drawn by the speedy Rimouski forward, all of which were called into question following the game.

“There are two sets of rules,” said Jodoin. “There are those for him and those for the rest of the teams, but it has been the same with everyone in the league this year.”

Lewiston forward Alexandre Picard, last year drafted eighth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL, had several opportunities to score along with linemates Mathieu Aubin and Alex Bourret in the final period of play, during which the Maineiacs outshot the Oceanic 18-3, but could not find the net.

“We had great chances, me Bourret and Aubin,” said Picard. “I think we had something like 15 shots (they had 17) and couldn’t finish all the time.”

As for Crosby, Picard, too was frustrated.

“They say he is the next Wayne Gretzky,” said Picard. “You cannot touch Crosby at all. Every time we touched him, they called us for a penalty. We had a good game and took some penalties that hurt. It’s part of the game, I guess.”

As for Crosby himself, the two goals he scored Wednesday amounted to his best game ever at the Colisee, a place at which he had struggled to play in the past.

“I got to play a little center tonight,” said Crosby. “It really depends on where the team needs me. Lewiston is a tough team to play against and you always have to move your feet to do well against them. It’s always a tough game here.”

Crosby’s teammate, Michal Sersen, got the puck bouncing the Oceanic’s way at 10:24 of the opening period when he followed a Mark Tobin miss at the top of the crease on the power play to put the visiting team ahead 1-0.

Crosby followed with his first on the night at 16:17 on a third-chance rebound, again on a power play.

Lewiston battled back just 40 seconds later, though, and Aubin tipped the puck past netminder Cedrick Desjardins to pull the Maineiacs within one at 2-1.

“He played well and made a lot of good saves tonight,” said Jodoin of Desjardins. “He was there when he had to be.”

Desjardins finished with 40 saves, while counterpart Jaroslav Halak had 31 for Lewiston.

In the second, Crosby ping-ponged a shot off of Jonathan Paiement’s stick, off of Halak’s mask and off the post into the net from the left corner to give the Oceanic a two-goal cushion, and Mario Scalzo put Rimouski up 4-0 at 18:22 of the middle frame on a snap shot from the top of the right circle.

In the third, though, despite allowing four more power plays, Lewiston pulled to within one on goals 1:07 apart from Bourret and Nick Cowan, lifting the crowd to its feet.

“We have a great crowd and it was great that they got into it for us,” said Jodoin. “It was too bad we could not get another one there.”

Marc-Antoine Pouliot re-established his team’s two-goal cushion at 11:14 of the third on a wrister that dinged off the left post and beat Halak. Despite two power plays of their own later in the third, the Maineiacs could not gain any ground.

The team leaves for Baie-Comeau this morning and will play against the Drakkar on Friday night before returning home to play Chicoutimi next Wednesday.


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