Monday, 24 May 2010

Windsor Takes Title

The Windsor Spitfires were crowned 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup Champions after defeating the Brandon Wheat Kings 9-1 in the Championship game on Sunday in Brandon, MB.

It’s the second straight Memorial Cup title for the back-to-back OHL champion spitfires, marking the first time a team has won two straight Memorial Cup championships since the Kamloops Blazers accomplished the feat in 1994 and 1995.

“I was a little worried with how we came out in the first five minutes…we kind of weathered the storm a bit,” said Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner. “But, as a coach, you want your guys to play like robots – everybody plays the same – and the guys did that tonight.

“All the guys were playing very unselfish and did what they had to do, and I was very impressed with how we played,” said Boughner.

In the end, the Spitfires were just too much for the tournament host Wheat Kings to handle, as they put on their second straight dominant performance versus the Brandon side. The Wheat Kings fell 9-3 to the Spitfires in the round robin opener, meaning they were outscored 18-4 by the talented Windsor outfit in two games.

“We got down 3-0, and we were lucky to get it to 3-1, but that fourth goal really took the wind out of us and it got a bit ugly,” said Wheat Kings’ veteran Matt Calvert, playing in what would end up being his last game as a Wheat King. “When we get down by three or four, we just don’t have the structure we need…when we got down with that fourth goal, we seemed to kind of shut it down.

“But, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished…we have a hell of a group of guys in that room, we had a lot of success this year, and I love every one of them,” he said.

The star-studded Spitfires put on an offensive clinic in the final, particularly in a dominant second period where they outshot the Wheat Kings 27-7, and left the home side without an answer. All of the Spitfires’ big guns produced, with Taylor Hall leading the way with a goal and two assists.

Hall earned his second straight tournament MVP award after putting up five goals and nine points in four games.

“It’s just an incredible feeling,” said Hall of his team’s second straight Memorial Cup Championship. “I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is the number one experience I’ve had…just with the adversity we’ve faced, the coaches, the group of guys we have here, everyone chipped in in their own way, and that’s what makes it so special.”

Unlike their round robin encounter, the Wheat Kings came out strong and put early pressure on the defending champs, with Travis Hamonic clanging one of the post less than three minutes in and Grubauer forced into making a few big stops early on.

“We did have a good start, but we gave up the second goal in the last minute of the first period, and I think that hurt us,” said Wheat Kings’ head coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon. “I think Windsor played very well, and we couldn’t get possession of the puck down low and generate any good chances.

“We lost to a very good team, so give credit where credit is due, but Windsor demonstrated throughout their four games that they were the best team in the tournament, by far,” he said.

However, it would be the Spitfires getting on the board first 6:34 into the opening period, with Adam Henrique sliding a shot through DeSerres’ pads after he found himself all alone in front of the Wheat Kings’ net.

The Spitfires made it 2-0 with just 33 seconds remaining in the first period. Eric Wellwood fired home from the slot after a nice three-way passing sequence following a Wheat Kings turnover at their blue line.

The Spitfires kept coming in the second period, and it would be Taylor Hall making it 3-0 on the power play just 4:34 into the frame. With Brent Raedeke off for slashing, Hall ripped a perfectly placed wrist shot that beat DeSerres high over the shoulder on the short side. It was Hall’s fifth goal of the tournament.

The Wheat Kings finally broke through on a power play of their own 8:16 into the second period, when Matt Calvert buried a rebound from the slot after Grubauer made an initial save on Scott Glennie, who had sped in from the right side.

The Momentum didn’t last long for the Wheat Kings, though, as the Spitfires regained their three-goal lead just 40 seconds after Calvert’s goal. With a crowd in front of DeSerres, Greg Nemisz squeaked one in after whacking away at the side of the net. The play needed review to determine if the whistle had gone before the puck went in.

The powerful Windsor side kept pouring it on in the second period, coming with wave after wave of offensive pressure, and made it 5-1 when Marc Cantin beat DeSerres from the right circle with another well-placed wrist shot.

Cam Fowler would add another before the end of the second period, putting the Spitfires comfortably in place to win their second straight MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship.

Zack Kassian, Adam Henrique – with his second of the game – and Dale Mitchell added goals in the third period for the Spitfires.

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