Rimouski, QC – Dale Mitchell scored three goals in the third period to lift the Windsor Spitfires to a 6-4 comeback win to eliminate the Rimouski Oceanic Thursday night in the tie-breaker game of the 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The host Oceanic led 4-2 heading into the third period before a highly energized Mitchell powered the Spitfires to the lead in a span of less than four minutes in front of a stunned and dejected crowd of 4,478 at the Colisee. Mitchell’s first goal came at 4:11 when he grabbed a loose puck in front of the net and made a move around goaltender Maxim Gougeon to his backhand for the goal. He tied the game at 6:00 on the power play when he accepted a cross-ice pass and roofed a wrist shot glove side. The game-winner came at 7:44 again on the power play when a point shot hit Gougeon in the chest and sat in front of the net where Mitchell slammed it home.
The two teams played another high scoring game much like the round-robin contest that resulted in a 5-4 win in favour of the Oceanic. The first period of Thursday’s game had seven goals between the two teams. Eric Wellwood got the Spitfires on the board first at 7:13 when he broke in alone and made a nice move past Gougeon. Sebastien Piche drilled a one-timer home at 8:02 to tie the game for the Oceanic. Scott Timmins regained the lead for the Spitfires less than 30 seconds later at 8:30 to silence the crowd. The fans quickly rose to their feet again to cheer Jordan Caron who capitalized on a Spitfires turnover at 12:47 on the power play and they remained lively when Emmanuel Boudreau gave them a 3-2 lead when he scored his first of the tournament at 16:15.
The lone goal of the second period was the third for Patrice Cormier this tournament when he snuck behind the Spitfires’ defence and took a pass from Piche and scored on a terrific breakaway move at 17:25 on the power play.
Greg Nemisz scored with less than one second remaining in the third to complete the scoring for the Spitfires. Rimouski took two late penalties in the third period and could not create any offensive chances.
Andrew Engelage made 17 saves in the win while Gougeon stopped 31 shots in the loss. The Spitfires outshot the Oceanic 37-21 in the game. Mitchell was named first star of the game with three goals and now has five points in four games. Piche was named second star with a goal and two assists, while Wellwood was the game’s third star with a goal and an assist. Both teams were strong on the power play with the Oceanic scoring two goals on four opportunities, and the Spitfires capitalizing on three of their seven chances with the man advantage.
The Spitfires (2-2) will now face the Drummondville Voltigeurs (2-1) in the semi-final of the 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup Friday night at 7:00 pm in a game shown live on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS. The winner will face the Kelowna Rockets Sunday in the Championship Final with a 4:30 pm puck drop.