If there is one thing to learn from the Mastercard Memorial Cup is that no one should doubt the skill of the host team, including me. I originally predicted that the Erie Otters would win the Cup but was proven wrong by the Windsor Spitfires. I had heavily underestimated the power of the Windsor Spitfires and the skill level that this team possesses.
The Spits have a huge level of skill on their team, especially with Michael DiPietro in net. The 17-year-old, who is draft eligible this year, limited the high-scoring Erie Otters to just three goals in the final. He made a total of 32 saves, including a close call in the final minute of the game to stop Erie from tying up the game. He was awarded the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding goaltender of the tournament, finishing with a 2.00 GAA and .932 save percentage.
It was back and forth during the first and second period, no team having a lead for more than a few minutes of the game. Windsor Spitfire and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco opened the scoring but the lead didn’t last long as Dylan Strome tied it up 49 seconds later. It continued like this as Warren Foegele scored for Erie to give them the lead but Winnipeg Jets prospect Logan Stanley found the back of the net 52 seconds later. A TJ Fergus slapshot from the point gave Erie the upper hand but a penalty two minutes later allowed Windsor to tie the game. The skill of Aaron Luchuk did not go unnoticed as he buried the game-winner just 5 minutes into the third period.
There’s a lot of talk of how it was possible that Windsor won the Memorial Cup as the hosts when they didn’t even make it past the first round of playoffs – however, they aren’t the only host team to win the Cup, this win makes them the 10th in CHL history. Although they were a first round exit, Windsor proved that they were worthy of the Memorial Cup.
The Windsor Spitfires beat the heavily favoured Erie Otters to become the 99th Memorial Cup Champions. Will we see them defend their title in Regina at the 100th Memorial Cup? Only time will tell.