BRANDON, Manitoba – The Windsor Spitfires have done every team at the Memorial Cup a big favor.
One year ago at the tournament in Rimouski, Quebec, the Spitfires lost their first two games and went on to win the CHL’s national championship. So far in the tournament this year, every other team has suffered at least one loss and have pointed to that performance as inspiration to not give up hope.
One year ago they were facing elimination against the Kelowna Rockets, who already had the bye into the championship game. The Spitfires won that game and used that momentum to win the next three – including a win over the Rockets in the final.
This year, the Spitfires have turned the tables and won their first three games to clinch a spot in the championship game. They defeated the QMJHL champion Moncton Wildcats (0-3) with a 4-3 victory in overtime on Tuesday. Eric Wellwood scored the winner for Windsor at the 12:22 mark of the first extra period.
Adam Henrique, one of 12 returning players, said that the Spitfires gathered a lot of momentum from their win against Kelowna last season that carried them right through to the title.
“We got the win last year and that really turned the tide for us and got us on a run,” Henrique said.
Moncton has been without regular-season scoring leader Nicolas Deschamps while playoff leaders Kelsey Tessier and Gabriel Bourque were held off the scoresheet in all three games of the tournament.