Windsor off to Memorial Cup, Shawinigan still alive
Taylor Hall scored on the power play 2:09 into overtime as the Windsor Spitfires beat the Brampton Battalion 2-1 on Friday to win the Ontario Hockey League championship series 4-1.
The Spitfires followed up a league-best 57-10-0-1 regular season with a 16-4 mark in the playoffs, including four overtime victories over the London Knights in the OHL's western conference finals.
"I just swiped at the rebound and I didn't see the puck go in right away," he said. "It was all a blur … I had to look a second time before I finally saw the puck in the net, and I still couldn't believe it for a moment."
After a scoreless first period, Dale Mitchell scored on the powerplay for Windsor 13:06 into the second, tapping home a Hall rebound past Brampton goalie Thomas McCollum.
Andrew Engelage made 37 saves for the Spitfires while McCollum made 34 at the other end.
Matt Kang scored at 16:14 of the third period from Thomas Stajan to set the stage for Hall's heroics.
With Brampton's Matt Duchene in the penalty box for checking from behind, Hall beat McCollum with his 16th goal of the playoffs to send Windsor to the Memorial Cup, which begins May 15 in Rimouski, Que.
The first game for Windsor at the tournament will be on May 16.
The Spitfires last competed at the championship in 1988 and have never won.
Hall, who scored 16 goals and 20 assists in 20 games to win the OHL playoff scoring title, was named the winner of the Wayne Gretzky Number 99 Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
"There are a lot of great players who would have been great choices for this award, including a few on our own team too," said Hall. "I'm thrilled and honoured to win the award."
Shawinigan 4, Drummondville 1
The Shawinigan Cataractes staved off elimination with a victory on Friday night in Drummondville in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final.
Maxime Macanauer scored a short-handed goal and added an assist, with Philippe Paradis, Michael Bournival and Charles-Olivier Roussel also finding the mark.
Mike Hoffman opened the scoring for the Voltigeurs, which lost for just the second time in the playoffs, before the Cataractes responded with a three-goal second period.
Game 6 will take place in Shawinigan on Sunday.
In the Western Hockey League final, the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday will try and hold off the Calgary Hitmen, who are looking to tie the series after dropping the first three games. Game 7 if necessary would be on Monday.
The Western and Quebec champs will join Windsor and Quebec host Rimouski Oceanic at the Memorial Cup.