Aaron Luchuk broke a tie 5:07 into the third period and the Windsor Spitfires beat the Erie Otters 4-3 on Sunday night to win the Memorial Cup.
Jeremy Bracco had a goal and two assists, Logan Stanley and Graham Knott also scored and Michael DiPietro made 32 saves for Windsor.
“It comes down to Mikey in the net,” said Bracco, the Toronto prospect from Freeport, New York, who helped the United States win the world junior title.”He made some timely saves, he was a rock for us all tournament, all year. … Crazy, unbelievable feeling.”
Also the champions in 2009 and 2010, the Spitfires became the first host team to win since the Shawinigan Cataractes in 2012 and the 10th since the round-robin format was introduced in 1972.
“Truly special, especially being from here,” said DiPietro, from 35 minutes south of Windsor in Amherstburg. “Family, friends, billets, everything about it, so blessed and grateful.”
Before the four-team Canadian Major Junior Hockey Championship, the Spitfires went 44 days between games after being eliminated in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. They were 4-0 in the tournament, also beating the OHL champion Otters 4-2 on Wednesday night to the reach the final.
Dylan Strome, Warren Foegele and TJ Fergus scored for Erie. Strome, the third overall pick of the NHL draft in 2015 by the Arizona Coyotes, was the tournament MVP.
“Great hockey game,” said Stromme. “Just sucks to be on this end of it.”