RIMOUSKI, Que. - Young prospects Ryan Ellis and Taylor Hall scored as the Windsor Spitfires stayed alive at the MasterCard Memorial Cup with a 2-1 victory over the first-place Kelowna Rockets before 4,219 mostly neutral fans at the Colisee de Rimouski on Tuesday night.
The win puts 1-2 Windsor into a tiebreaker game on Thursday night against the loser of the final game of the round robin portion of the four-team tournament between the Drummondville Voltigeurs and the host Rimouski Oceanic. The two 1-1 teams from Quebec face one another on Wednesday night.
The Rockets had already clinched a spot in Sunday's final and looked to have lost a little edge in their play against the desperate Spitfires, who outshot Kelowna 34-17.
That let Windsor, which went into the Memorial Cup ranked second among teams in the three Canadian major junior leagues, back into a tournament in which they have struggled to find cohesion in their play.
Ellis, a stocky defenceman, is projected to be a first-round pick in the NHL draft next month in Montreal, while Hall, who had an assist but also took two needless penalties, is projected to be a top-three pick in the 2010 draft.
Both came through with goals when their team needed it.
The best chance in a scoreless first period was when Windsor's Greg Nemisz bumped big defenceman Tyler Myers off the puck and went in alone only to be stopped by Mark Guggenberger.
Kelowna struck on one of four second period power plays at 7:33 when Myers' point blast went in off St. Denis, who was planted in front of goaltender Andrew Engelage.
The Spitfires came close as Adam Henrique went around Myers to cause a scramble in front of the Kelowna goal. Moments later, Hall cut inside and rang a shot off the post while short-handed.
But the 17-year-old was at the net again to tip a rebound up and over Guggenberger to tie the game at 16:21 for his first of the tournament.
The Spitfires had pressure in the Kelowna zone for a long stretch before Ellis scored on a point shot through traffic 4:13 into the third.
A chance to stretch the lead came with consecutive two-man advantages, but Kelowna left-winger Cody Almond blocked four straight shots and the Rockets managed to kill them off.
Notes: Austin Watson replaced Justin Shugg, who fractured a collarbone in Windosor's 5-4 loss to Drummondville on Sunday. Watson moved onto a line with Taylor Hall and Scott Timmins. . . Hall of Fame goalie and Quebec Remparts boss Patrick Roy attended the game. The Rimouski Oceanic's star alumni Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards are expected to attend Wednesday night's game.