While the junior hockey world questioned what they’d be able to do coming out of a six-week layoff after they were eliminated in the first round of the OHL playoffs, the Memorial Cup hosts have defied most expectations by defeating all three league champions in the round-robin.
A 4-2 win over the Erie Otters on Wednesday booked Windsor’s ticket to Sunday’s final.
“Obviously you come to the tournament, you want to go 3-0,” said Jeremiah Addison, who scored a hat trick in the victory.
“We were able to do that and we’ve just got to focus on the task at hand now, which is the finals.”
The Spitfires will play in their first Memorial Cup final since winning their second of back-to-back titles in 2010.
Windsor can also pull off a rare feat on Sunday. With a win, they’d join the 2004 Kelowna Rockets as the only host teams to go undefeated at the Memorial Cup after not winning a league title.
Michael DiPietro played a major part in the victory with 33 saves as the Spitfires were outshot 35-19.
Gabriel Vilardi was also a big contributor, recording an assist on all four goals.
“I owe him a drink or coffee or something,” Addison said. “It was good to see and I’m happy for him.”
Mikhail Sergachev scored the other Windsor goal, putting them up 3-0 on a 5-on-3 power play early in the second period.
“I think we felt really good about ourselves after that 12-5 game,” he said.
“We had three of our lines playing probably the best hockey they’ve ever played in that previous game. I just don’t think our work ethic was where it had to be (against Windsor). I think we just felt it was going to be easy and we didn’t want to work as hard as we had to.”
The Otters finished second in the round-robin with a 2-1 record and will face the Sea Dogs again in Friday’s semifinal.
Saint John stayed alive in the tournament by knocking out the Seattle Thunderbirds in a 7-0 win on Tuesday.
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