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Henrique scores, Windsor wins Memorial Cup

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
Henrique (r.) defends against a Kelowna attacker.

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The Windsor Spitfires scored on their first three shots of the game and went on to defeat the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 and claim their first MasterCard Memorial Cup championship on Sunday.

Adam Henrique, Dale Mitchell and Rob Kwiet scored in the first period, while Ryan Ellis got one in the second for the Spitfires, who opened the tournament with a pair of losses and then ran off four straight wins to take the title.

Colin Long scored for Kelowna, which won the Memorial Cup in 2004.

Henrique, the Devils' fourth pick, 82nd overall in 2008, had an outstanding showing at the tournament. He had a goal and an assist in the title game, and tied Kelowna's Jamie Benn for the overall scoring lead with nine points (4g-5a) in six games.

Henrique's overtime goal lifted the Spitfires past Drummondville in Friday's semifinal.

Windsor defenseman Harry Young, New Jersey's eighth pick in '08, finished the tourney with an assist.

Windsor's victory ended the reign of the Western Hockey League as Canadian junior hockey champions after wins in 2007 by the Vancouver Giants and 2008 by the Spokane Chiefs. Windsor is the first Ontario Hockey League club to win since the London Knights in 2005.

The final capped a tournament that had featured closely contested games, including three that went into overtime, after Kelowna's easy tournament-opening 4-1 win over the host Rimouski Oceanic.

The Spitfires jumped on the rusty Rockets, who hadn't played since Tuesday, for three goals in the opening 7:11 of play, chasing starting goaltender Mark Guggenberger in favor of Adam Brown. Little-used Brown last played three periods on March 14.

It started at 3:22, when Greg Nemisz stripped Mikael Backlund of the puck from behind and fed Henrique in the slot for his fourth goal of the tournament.

Mitchell raced down the right side, bumped Tysen Dowzak aside and scored at 4:58.

Young captained Windsor to its first Memorial Cup title.

Guggenberger was caught napping as Kwiet scored on a soft shot from the point that slipped between the goaltender's pads on a power play at 7:11

Lane MacDermid was sent off for kneeing Long with six seconds left in the first period and the Kelowna center struck back eight seconds into the second on the rebound of Jamie Benn's backhander.

The puck rarely left the Windsor end in the middle period until Windsor produced a killer goal at 12:46. Good work in a corner by Henrique and Taylor Hall got the puck to Ellis at the right point for a precision blast in off the goalpost at 12:46 to restore a three-goal lead.

Windsor opened the tournament 0-2 before beating Kelowna 2-1 in their final round robin game.

After that win, the Spitfires beat Rimouski in a tie-breaker game, then dumped Drummondville in the semifinal. The final was their fourth game in six days. They are the first team to win the Cup after having to play in a tie-breaker game.

Next year's Memorial Cup will be held in Brandon, Manitoba.

Past winners have included Devils head coach Brent Sutter, who coached the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) to the 2001 title, and forward David Clarkson (Kitchener, 2003). Defenseman Bryce Salvador advanced to the finals with Lethbridge (WHL) in 1996-97.

Former Devils Scott Stevens (Kitchener, 1982) and Scott Niedermayer (Kamloops, 1992) have also won the coveted 91-year-old trophy.

with Canadian Press wire services

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