(Rimouski, QC) The Windsor Spitfires were crowned national champions after a 4-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets in the 91st edition of the MasterCard Memorial Cup final Sunday afternoon.
The Spitfires win their franchise’s first MasterCard Memorial Cup and become the first team in MasterCard Memorial Cup history to win the title after starting the tournament 0-2, and the first team to win both the tie-breaker game and the Championship Final. The win came in front of a crowd of 4,811 who heavily favoured the Spitfires club throughout the game.
The Spitfires were flying right off the opening faceoff and scored three goals on the first three shots of the game past Rockets’ goaltender Mark Guggenberger in the first period.
Adam Henrique scored his fourth goal of the tournament to open the scoring from the high slot at 3:22 off a pretty feed from Greg Nemisz, who stripped the puck off Mikael Backlund to keep the play alive in the Rockets’ zone. The Spitfires continued to pressure with Dale Mitchell scoring his fifth goal of the tournament at 4:58 when he finished a strong rush up the wing and fought off a check to roof a shot glove side for the eventual game-winner. Defenceman Rob Kwiet scored on the power play at 7:11 with a shot from the point that beat Guggenberger who was then replaced by Adam Brown.
The Rockets came hard out the gates in the second period scoring eight seconds into the frame when tournament top-scorer Jamie Benn grabbed the puck off the centre ice draw and carried it hard to the net. He backhanded a low shot producing a big rebound that went right to Captain Colin Long who buried it to put the Rockets on the scoreboard. The Spitfires got their final goal at 12:46 when Mark Cundari extended his reach to keep the puck in at the line and passed it over to Ryan Ellis who blasted a slap shot top corner to bring the score to a 4-1 final.
Andrew Engelage made 21 saves in goal for the Spitfires earning his fourth straight victory. The Rockets’ Adam Brown made 24 saves in relief.
Taylor Hall was named the games first star with an assist while Cundari was named second star with two assists. Henrique, who was named the game’s third star, led the Spitfires in tournament scoring with nine points.
Story and photo courtesy Aaron Bell, CHL