Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Wildcats Out

The Moncton Wildcats saw their MasterCard Memorial Cup came to an end Tuesday night in dramatic fashion.

Eric Wellwood scored 12:22 into overtime as the Windsor Spitfires downed Moncton 4-3, leaving the Wildcats with an 0-and-3 round-robin record.

Moncton started the tournament with promise, having 3-0 and 4-2 leads against Calgary in their opener on Saturday.

However, the Hitmen scored three times in the final six minutes Saturday to win 5-4 and the Wildcats never seemed to fully recover.

"It was definitely tough to rebound. We had a big lead and we sat back too much and let them back in it," says Moncton defenceman Brandon Gormley, "We played Brandon the next day and, in a short tournament, it's really important to re-focus and I don't think we did a good enough job of that in preparing for Brandon. I thought we battled hard today against Windsor and gave them everything they could handle."

Scott Brannon and Gormley scored goals 29 seconds apart early in the third period to give Moncton a 3-2 lead while Randy Cameron had scored a power-play goal late in the first period for Moncton.

Shane Owen got the start in goal for Moncton in place of an ailing Nicola Riopel (illness) and stopped 48 shots including 31 over the final 20 minutes and regulation and overtime.

For Windsor, they finish with a 3-and-0 record and have earned a spot in Sunday's Championship Final.

The Spitfires knew they had clinched going into Tuesday's contest but, for the most part, played the game straight-up.

"It was in our pre-game speech not to let this creep in, knowing that we were going to the finals and not let up," says Wellwood, who got his first of the tournament in extra time, "It's just human's hard not to let up."

Cam Fowler, Justin Shugg and Stephen Johnston scored the other goals for Windsor while Philipp Grabauer stopped 38 shots in the Spitfires' net including 15 in a busy first period.

The Spitfires will now have four days of rest before Sunday's Final and when I asked head coach Bob Boughner what his plans for the rest of the week were Tuesday morning, his indication was that the team would likely take a full day off on Wednesday and then try to set up a visit to a school or hospital, and try and give back to the City of Brandon for their hospitality.

Chaff...attendance Tuesday was 5,160, pushing total attendance for the week to 25,880...QMJHL scoring co-champion Nicolas Deschamp, who had been sidelined since April 23, was a game-time decision to Moncton but was ultimately scratched...QMJHL playoff MVP Gabriel Bourque ended up pointless in three games...had to be an emotional night for Moncton Play-by-Play man Les Stoodley. You see, he had said before the tournament that he was retiring from the business after the Memorial Cup, so Tuesday's contest was his last call. His son, who works for CBC, had flown in to do the broadcasts with Les for the opening two games...the Wildcats are set to leave Brandon at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

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