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Windsor Spitfires claim Memorial Cup with 4-1 win over Kelowna Rockets

NHL.com @NHL

RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Windsor Spitfires scored on their first three shots of the game and went 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.

The win 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 uneventful, one-sided final was anti-climax to 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 favour 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.

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 centre 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.

Many among the 4,811 Colisee fans sporadically booed the Rockets, apparently on the premise that they didn't try hard enough to eliminate Windsor when they had a chance in their final round robin game, a 2-1 Spitfires win over a Kelowna side that let down after having already clinched a berth in the final.

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.

Kelowna star Jamie Benn was hurt six minutes into the game when he crashed into the boards while trying to hit Hall. He limped to the bench, but was able to return right away, although he appeared to be off his usual game.

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

Notes: Rogers Sportsnet has signed a five-year extension with the Canadian Hockey League to continue broadcasting the Memorial Cup and other junior hockey events. It includes 10 national regular season games, one OHL playoff game, 12 regional games the six ADT Canada-Russia Challenge games, the top prospects game and the OHL all-star game.

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