RIMOUSKI, Que. - Dale Mitchell scored three goals in the opening eight minutes of the third period to lead the Windsor Spitfires to a comeback 6-4 victory over the host Rimouski Oceanic in Thursday's tiebreaker game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The Spitfires, who opened the tournament with two straight losses, including a 5-4 loss to Rimouski, advanced to the semifinal against the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Friday, with the winner facing the Kelowna Rockets in Sunday's final.
Eric Wellwood, Scott Timmins and Greg Nemisz, with a goal on a two-man advantage with one second left to play, also scored for the Ontario Hockey League champions who have run hot and cold from period to period thus far at the tournament.
Defenceman Sebastien Piche scored once and set up goals by Emmanuel Boudreau and Patrice Cormier, while Jordan Caron also scored for Rimouski, which looked out of energy in the third period in their second game in as many nights.
Mitchell, a 2007 Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, saw goalie Maxime Gougeon push a puck onto his stick at the edge of the crease for a goal 4:11 into the third period.
Only 19 seconds later, Cormier was called for hooking and Mitchell was left alone on the right side to beat Gougeon with a high wrist shot.
Logan MacMillan was sent off for hooking 35 seconds after that and Mitchell struck again, this time jamming in a Ryan Ellis rebound.
Windsor outshot the Oceanic 37-21.
It was noticeably quieter in the Colisee de Rimouski than for the previous night's rousing 3-2 overtime win by Drummondville over the home side in the final round robin game, and the intensity on the ice dropped with the decibels.
The result was loosely played hockey and five first-period goals for a 3-2 Rimouski lead.
Wellwood opened the scoring at 7:13 on a feed from Adam Henrique, who had blocked Ryan Kavanagh's shot at the point with the teams each a man short.
Piche picked the top corner from the point only 49 seconds later, but another turnover at the Windsor blue-line saw Timmins beat Gougeon with a wrist shot only 28 seconds after that.
Caron one-timed a goal on the power play at 12:47 and Boudreau had a Piche shot go in off his skate at 16:15 on only the seventh shot on Windsor netminder Andrew Engelage.
The Oceanic caught Windsor on a line change during a second-period power play as Piche hit Cormier at the far blue-line for a breakaway goal at 16:25 for a two-goal lead.