RIMOUSKI, Que. - There's life in the Rimouski Oceanic after all.
Logan MacMillan's short-handed goal 34 seconds into the third period stood up as the game-winner as the Oceanic bounced back from a tough loss to upset the Windsor Spitfires 5-4 on Sunday at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The host club of the four-team tournament looked dead in the water after a 4-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday, but they jumped on the mistake-prone Spitfires to even their record at 1-1 going into their final round robin game against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Drummondville Voltigeurs on Wednesday.
"It's huge," said MacMillan, an Anaheim Ducks prospect. "If we lost this one, there wasn't much chance of us making it through.
"And it's also great for our confidence. After Game 1, the guys were kind of skeptical - that maybe we were off too long - but we bounced back great. We played really well."
The Oceanic, swept by Drummondville in the QMJHL semifinals, had not played for 22 days before the tournament began.
But while they lacked legs against Kelowna, they had energy to burn against the Spitfires, the Ontario Hockey League champs, who came in as the favourites but are now 0-2. Windsor has a must-win game Tuesday against Kelowna.
"If you don't play your game, you're not going to win," said Spitfires star defenceman Ryan Ellis, expected to be high pick in the NHL draft in June. "I don't think we have played our game up to now and that's how it goes.
"We're 0-2, and yeah, we'd love to be 2-0. But we've done it all year. We've faced adversity against London and other teams. We've been through a lot in the last two years with everything that's happened on and off the ice, so I hope our team can come together. It hasn't been a problem in the past."
Patrice Cormier, Jordan Caron, Patrick Delisle-Houde and Luca Cunti had goals as Rimouski scored four times on only eight shots against Andrew Engelage in the second period.
With Cormier serving a roughing call to start the third, MacMillan jumped on the turnover and went in alone. His first shot was stopped, but Engelage failed to cover the post for a second, bad-angled shot to give Rimouski a 5-3 lead.
Andrei Loktionov, with his second of the night, made it a one-goal game at 9:34 of the third when he banked a pass in off a skate. The Spitfires pressed for the equalizer, playing six attackers for the final 1:25, but failed to beat outstanding goaltender Maxime Gougeon.
Ellis and Dale Mitchell also scored for the Spitfires, who for a second straight game looked nothing like the No. 2-ranked junior team in Canada. Windsor was beaten 3-2 in overtime by the Voltigeurs on Saturday.
Drummondville and Kelowna, both 1-0, face one another on Monday night.
To prepare for the game, Rimouski coach Clement Jodoin put his players' jerseys on the dressing room floor and told them to pick them up.
"I said 'guys, when you have a knee down, you have to get up,"' the veteran coach said. "I had to refocus their mentality, rebuild their confidence."
Spitfires coach Bob Boughner was happier with his club's effort than he was after their loss to Drummondville, but was still mystified by their uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns.
Time and again, the Oceanic recovered pucks and had the Spitfires on their heels in their own zone.
"We've been exposed defensively in the last couple of games," said Boughner, a former NHL defenceman. "All year we were a pretty tight defensive team and I haven't seen that yet.
"We're a defence-first team and we haven't played that way. We know the contest we have Tuesday. Kelowna's a heck of a team with a lot of offence and the only way we're going to get any life out of this tournament is that we have to throw a defensive gem at them. I'm convinced of that."
A scoreless first period with chances at both ends was marked by defenceman Ellis's open-ice hit 2:49 in that sent Oceanic star Keven Veilleux to the dressing room briefly for repairs to his mouth.
At the buzzer, Cormier drew two penalties as he was roughed up in a corner, giving the home side a long power play to start the second. It produced the first goal, as Cormier was sent in alone to beat Engelage.
Ellis tied it with a blast from the point on a power play at 6:19 and Mitchell trailed in to fire Scott Timmins' pass behind Gougeon just as a Rimouski power play ended at 8:50.
The draft-eligible Caron looked sharp as he carried the puck in from his own blue-line to score at 10:45 and the crowd of 4,744 at the Colisee erupted when Deslisle-Houde made it 3-2 on a shot from the slot after a face-off win in the Windsor zone at 14:48.
Pittsburgh prospect Veilleux made a nifty move to feed Cunti for another Rimouski goal at 16:32, but Loktionov got it back at 18:22 after some strong forechecking by the visitors.
The Spitfires started the third on a power play, but MacMillan scored to restore the two-goal lead. Windsor got only one back despite some furious late pressure. They outshot Rimouski 39-25, including 18-5 in the third.
"Our goalie made some awesome saves and everyone did their job," said Oceanic defenceman Marc-Andre Bourdon, who had three assists. "We stayed calm."
Notes: Jodoin said veteran defenceman Maxime Ouimet will not play in the tournament due to mononucleosis. Defenceman Ryan Kavanagh returned to the line-up after missing the opener with a virus, taking William Plourde's spot. Ilya Silik and Nicholas Samoluk sat out a second game. . . . Forward Austin Watson was replaced by Adam Wallace in the Spitfires' line-up.