Spitfires top Otters to win 2017 Memorial Cup on home ice
WINDSOR, ONT – It was an all-OHL finale to the 99th MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament on Sunday at the WFCU centre. The reigning OHL champion Erie Otters(3-1) faced off against the undefeated host Windsor Spitfires.
Windsor defeated Erie in round robin play on Wednesday by a score of 4-2 to earn a bye directly to the MasterCard Memorial Cup final, while the Otters defeated the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3 in Friday’s semi-final to get a berth in the final.
Windsor was looking to add a third Memorial Cup championship in nine years. Despite failing to win a round in the OHL playoffs, they looked very impressive in the Memorial Cup tournament having never trailed a game going into the final. The Spitfires won the Memorial Cup in 2009 in Rimouski, and again in 2010 in Brandon.
For the Erie Otters they were looking to win their first Memorial Cup title in their 21 year history as a franchise. They have won the OHL championship twice.
The game was a very even affair throughout the first two periods. The first strike of the game went to the host Spitfires, as Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco buried his third goal of the tournament from Gabriel Vilardi and Mikhail Sergachev, on the powerplay at 16:07 of the opening frame. The Otters would strike back less than a minute later as Dylan Strome was left wide open in the slot and the Arizona Coyotes first-rounder made no mistake burying his seventh goal of the tournament. Assists on that goal went to Dylan Raddysh and Alex DeBrincat. The first period would end tied at one, with the Otters out-shooting the Spitfires 13-12.
5:30 into the second, Warren Foegele would score after a brief review as he redirected a pass from Dylan Strome with his skate past Michael DiPietro. Kyle Maksimovich would get the other assist on Foegele’s second of the tournament. Erie enjoyed that lead for a minute before Logan Stanley wired his first of the tournament behind Troy Timpano with Jeremy Bracco and Logan Brown drawing assists, The game remained tied at two until the Erie Otters took a 3-2 lead at the 12:41 mark on a goal by TJ Fergus. Ivan Lodnia and German Poddubnyi drew assists on Fergus’ first goal. Fergus would then take a costly penalty leading to Graham Knott’s third goal of the tournament on the powerplay assisted by Logan Stanley and Gabriel Vilardi. The game would remain square at three heading into the final period of regulation.
Aaron Luchuk buried a two-on-one pass from Jeremy Bracco to give the Windsor Spitfires a 4-3 lead five minutes into the final frame. Windsor’s defence would keep the Otters in check despite a late charge by the Otters as Spitfires claimed the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup in front of their hometown fans. Windsor becomes the first host team to win the tournament since the Shawinigan Cataractes did it in 2012. Michael DiPietro made 32 saves to backstop the Spitfires to victory.
Dylan Strome was named MVP of the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The Otters captain finished the Memorial Cup tournament with seven goals and eleven total points. It is Strome’s final year of junior play.
Photo credit: Tim Cornett/WindsorSpitfires.com