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The comeback of the Windsor Spitfires continues. Adam Henrique's overtime goal gave the Spitfires a 3-2 overtime victory over the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs. Windsor now takes on the WHL's Kelowna Rockets in Sunday's championship game....
The Spitfires acknowledge they are certainly not doing things the easy way when it comes to their quest for the Memorial Cup. After dropping their first two games of the tournament they have won three in a row and can now become the first team in Memorial Cup history to win the title after going through the tiebreaker route.
Hear from OT hero Adam Henrique on Windsor's current streak at the Memorial Cup and heading to the final on the Loosepucks video player.
In game Updates:
The injury and flu riddled Voltigeurs who knocked off Rimouski Wednesday night to advance to the semifinal while Windsor had to go through the tiebreaker route. Could it be as simple as afternoon versus night games for Windsor? They are 0-2 during afternoon games and 2-0 during night games.
The first seven minutes were fairly uneventful as both teams want to avoid an early mistake. The Spitfires would get the first powerplay as Dale Mitchell was sent airborne on a Ryan McKiernan hit - he was sent off for kneeing. Windsor was unable to capitalize on the first chance with the man-advantage. Drummondville would get their first chance after a Mark Cundari hooking penalty. Andrew Engelage was strong in the Windsor net when facing his first test of the night helping the Spits kill off the penalty. The Spitfires would then get on the board when Taylor Hall completed a nice pass from Cundari to score his second goal of the tournament. Then it was defenceman Ben Shutron who came up with the big goal, scoring his first of the Memorial Cup with a well-placed wrist shot between the legs of Drummondville netminder Marco Cousineau. It was a big period for Windsor who went to the room with a 2-0 lead and outshot their opponents 16-7
WSR Hall (Cundari, Nemisz) 15:47
WSR Shutron (Loktionov, Wellwood) 18:02
Penalties: McKiernan DRU (Kneeing) 7:50, Cundari WSR (Hooking) 10:53
Drummondville needed an early goal if they were going to get back into the game and they got it at 1:13 as Samson Mahbod came in off the point and buried a shot behind Engelage. But right after the goal Mahbod went to the penalty box for boarding Spitfires defenceman Jesse Blacker. Both players went down awkwardly and were slow to get up with Mahbod taking the worst of the exchange. The Spitfires were looking to regain the two goal lead but Cousineau was up the task, making a nice glove save off a point shot from Rob Kwiet. The Spitfires looked to throw the body around at times as Lane MacDermid laid out McKiernan right near the Drummondville bench. He was slow to leave the ice, hurting a team that already has many injuries. The Spitfires were about to get a penalty as Hall shot the puck after the whistle on an offside, leading to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. But Dmitry Kulikov gave Hall push, which he sold very well, to draw a roughing penalty. With about eight minutes to go in the period the Spitfires turned it up a bit, generating more chances on Cousineau and holding the puck in Drummondville's end. The Voltigeurs finally escaped their own zone and drew a Harry Young hooking penalty. Cundari then picked up a delay of game minor, but did it in a rarely seen way. He shot the puck from just inside his own blueline all the way down the ice and into the netting at the far end. The Voltigeurs would take advantage as Riendeau hammered in a rebound in tight after Engelage made the first save on a one-time shot. The goal came during the two-man advantage. Windsor killed off the remainder of the Cundari penalty. Nothing too eventually towards the end of the period other than at the final buzzer. Greg Nemisz took a shot that was well after the horn. He was bumped by a Drummondville player, which lead to more pushing and shoving, and diving. But the two teams went to the room tied at two apiece. During the intermission Mahbod could be seen walking through the crow, still in uniform but without skates, presumably to get treatment.
DRU Samson Mahbod (Riendeau, Randazzo) 1:13
DRU Yannick Riendeau (Kulikov, Hoffman) 15:10 PPG
Powerplays: Mahbod DRU (Boarding) 1:42, Hall WSR (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 8:32, Kulikov DRU (Roughing) 8:32, Young WSR (Hooking) 13:17, Cundari WSR (Delay of Game) 14:51, Henrique WSR (Roughing) 20:00, Nemisz WSR (Roughing) 20:00, Riendeau DRU (Roughing) 20:00, Dumont DRU (Roughing) 20:00
Both teams started the period with a pair of players in the box after the happenings at the end of the second period. The play went more than an extra 90 seconds without a whistle, which was more costly to Drummondville considering it was two of their top players in Riendeau and Dumont in the box. The first good scoring chance came after those players were freed, but were on the ice, Mitchell had a break but he was denied by Cousineau. Windsor took the first penalty of the period with Kwiet going off for tripping. With 41 seconds to go on the powerplay, Dany Masse turned the puck over in Windsor's zone and was forced to take a hooking penalty rather than allow the Spitfires an odd-man rush. This evened things up at four-on-four and would eventually give Windsor a powerplay. But back on even strength the game was still tied at two apiece. Cundari made a nice solo rush for the Spits but Cousineau proved that his glove hand was still working well. Then the injury woes continued for Drummondville as Riendeau was hurt when his skate got tied up with teammate Patrik Prokop. Riendeau stayed on the ice but you could tell he was moving slower. With under four minutes remaining the Spitfires would go on their fourth powerplay of the night as Hoffman went off for hooking (hooking seems to be the infraction of choice in this tournament). With 45 seconds to go on the powerplay the Spits called timeout to rest the number one unit and draw up a play off the faceoff, but we returned to five-on-five without a goal being scored. Shots through regulation were 41-20 Windsor.
Penalties: Kwiet WSR (Tripping) 6:06, Masse DRU (Hooking) 7:25, Hoffman DRU (Hooking) 16:05
There seems to be many more empty seats than there were throughout the game. About two and a half minutes into overtime, Cousineau made a game-saving save when he denied Nemisz with the left pad. The Windsor forward made most of an open net to shoot at when the puck bounced off the back boards. The Spitfires looked like they were on the powerplay throughout the 4:31 of overtime. Finally Adam Henrique banged in a rebound, a shot that Cousineau finally could not stop to give Windsor a 3-2 overtime win and a spot in the semifinal. Henrique looked like he was trying to find a place to celebrate and turned his attention towards the Windsor fans that had gathered. A nice moment during the post-game handshakes when members of the Spitfires went over to shake hands with Drummondville star Chris DiDomenico who missed the tournament with a broken leg suffered in the Quebec League final.
WSR Henrique (Hall) 4:31
Shots on Goal:
Referees: Jean Hebert (QMJHL), Chris Savage (WHL)
Linesmen: Stefan Capano (QMJHL), Serge Carptentier (QMJHL)
Attenance: 4,576 at Colisee Rimouski
We all know that team officials are a superstitious bunch and the Spitfires are no exception. During the first two games of the tournament GM Warren Rychel and Goalie Coach Bill Dark sat upstairs on the press level with video coach Mark Turner. Now it is just Turner who utilizes the space while Rychel sits with Head Scout Terry Doran and Dark wanders around the rink.
The number of Windsor fans in the building seems to have swelled as the week went on, especially after Windsor finally won a game on Tuesday against Kelowna.
Hopefully this is only a sign of QMJHL pride and does not turn into something political, but a fan in Section 12 at Colisee Rimouski waves a Quebec flag at various times of the game. After Granby won the 1996 Memorial Cup in Peterborough, the players skated around the Memorial Centre with a Quebec flag, drawing boos from many of the fans.
Right before starting overtime the song "Down with the Sickness" was played, seems ironic considering how sick many of the Drummondville players are.
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