Facing a sweep at the hands of the Kitchener Rangers, the Windsor Spitfires felt all they needed was a win to get on a roll.
They did more than that. They fashioned a seven-game winning streak that took them all the way to their second straight Ontario Hockey League title.
Cam Fowler and Taylor Hall each had two goals and an assist and Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves as the Spitfires defeated the Barrie Colts 6-2 Tuesday night to sweep the OHL championship series in four games.
The Spitfires advanced to the Memorial Cup, where they will try to defend their Canadian Hockey League title. The tournament opens May 14 in Brandon, Man.
"Even when we were down 3-0 to Kitchener in the previous round, all the boys had a weird feeling that we were going to come back and get things done," Spitfires forward Scott Timmins said. "We did it in the Memorial Cup last spring and knew that once we won a game against the Rangers that we were capable of going on a roll, and here we are."
Luke Pither opened the scoring for Barrie in the first period with the Colts on a two-man power play. Pither one-timed a pass from Alex Hutchings while standing just outside the right side of the Windsor crease.
Fowler pulled Windsor even with 25.3 seconds left in the opening period. The Spitfires scored on a five-on-three power play awarded when Colts netminder Peter Di Salvo was caught playing with an illegal stick.
Hall scored a power-play goal 13 seconds into the second period to give the Colts their first lead of the game.
Matt Kennedy tied the game 2-2 for the Colts, but Fowler scored his second power-play goal of the game and Adam Henrique scored even strength to give the Spitfires a 4-2 lead after two periods.
3rd OHL championship
Timmins and Hall, into an empty net, scored in the third period to give the Spitfires their third OHL championship in franchise history.
Henrique, who scored 20 goals and added five assists in 19 OHL post-season games, was named the OHL playoff MVP.
"It's the cherry on top of winning the OHL championship, but it really isn't something I was looking for," Henrique said. "We have a dressing room full of guys who could have won the award."
The New Jersey Devils prospect added he expects his team's experience to be beneficial in their quest for a second consecutive national major junior title.
"We have 14 guys who have played in the Memorial Cup, and that is going to be huge," Henrique said. "Anything can happen in a short tournament, but we are going to be as prepared as we possibly can be."
Special teams went a long way in deciding the outcome of the game. The Colts, who led the playoffs in power-play goals, went 1-for-6 with the man advantage while the Spitfires went 3-for-7.
"I feel very fortunate to play on such a great team," said Timmins, who will be playing in his third consecutive Memorial Cup tournament, his second with Windsor. "A lot of guys play their entire OHL career without ever winning a single round in the playoffs."