First period: Two early chances for Taylor Hall, then a frantic series in the Windsor zone at about the 3 minute mark in which Engelage is down and out and Adam Henrique collapses to the front of his goal (I think) and makes a terrific block on a sure goal from Riendeau. Drummondville is buzzing; I believe they have the generally superior team speed. If they are able to keep that kind of pace up, Windsor will be in trouble. On the other hand, if the Spitfires are able to keep the pressure on Drummondville over the entire ice surface, disrupting their flow, the Spitfires will win.
Things seem to be settling down a wee bit; the teams are racing back and forth a bit. It is encouraging to see the Spitfires breaking up some of the Drummondville rushes, but these wide open opportunities at the feet of Engelage are obviously not on the menu. As an aside, why the hell are we doing an in-game interview with coach Bob Boughner less than seven minutes in to the game? Is he really likely to have gained a lot of insight into the game at that point?
Dale Mitchell is down and hurt at the Drummondville blue line after a collision with Drummondville defenceman Ryan McKiernan, resulting in the game’s first penalty (for kneeing). Nemisz blasts one wide left from the slot. The power play – for a change – is actually maintaining control of the puck in the offensive zone. The PP is over now, Cousineau wasn’t seriously challenged, but he was required to make a couple of quick saves; the penalty has been served. Windsor seems to have begun dictating play once again, but then a loose puck is recovered by Jonathon Brunelle in the Windsor zone and a battle for the puck in the corner leads to a Windsor penalty. Engelage makes a huge save on a wide-open Vachon to keep the game scoreless. Timmins and MacDermid manage some good pressure down ice while shorthanded and force a couple of face offs. The penalty is killed successfully. A minute or two later, Johnathon Brunelle is trying to do a preview of the Indy 500 in the Windsor zone; he’s carrying the puck around and around the perimeter of the zone, occasionally centring the puck dangerously and – just as often – recovering it himself. Thankfully, that little flurry ends harmlessly.
With four minutes remaining, Taylor Hall finishes off a give and go after a nice feed from Cundari; 1-0 Windsor. The Spits follow up that goal with a decent energy shift from MacDermid, Mitchell and Loktionov. Drummondville is forced to ice the puck to relieve the pressure. Nemisz, Hall and Henrique are thrown out for the draw. Another faceoff gets forced and Ben Shutron scores on a nice feed from Loktionov on a wrist shot from just inside the top of the circle. With 1:50 to go in the first, the Spits have a 2-0 lead. Windsor goes right back to the attack, cycling the puck effectively in the Voltigeurs’ zone, and the period comes to a close. As it stands, the Spits have the Voltigeurs on the ropes; we need a third goal early in the next period to crush Drummondville’s will to rally.
Second period: The Hall/Nemisz/Henrique unit begins the period. Timmins, MacDermid and Watson follow up; Drummondville is pressing and Samson Mahbod scores a meaningful goal early in the second. The Timmins unit seemed uncharacteristically lackadaisical on the Drummondville puck carrier on that sequence. Samson Mahbod and Jessie Blacker are both injured on a play where Mahbod checks the Windsor defenceman from behind; I have no idea how Mahbod injured himself, but he seems to have taken a blow to the knee. Mahbod can’t even go to the box to serve his own minor. A good powerplay opportunity is foiled by Cousineau and Drumondville goes down shorthanded and forces Engelage to make a good stop of his own. Windsor pushes back and Rob Kwiet walks in to the top of the circle and hammers a slapper that Cousineau snares with a nice trapper save. Timmins, Mitchell and Henrique (line change?) are finishing up the powerplay and get another couple of good chances; they force a draw in the Drummondville zone. Windsor controls but loses posession, regains and advances once again into Drummondville territory but can’t get an opportunity. Eric Wellwood rushes the puck up ice but coughs it up at the blueline, and the play heads back in the other direction; that rush is foiled, but there soon follows another that looked like a partial 3 on 1 defensed brilliantly by Mark Cundari; he prevents a clean pass across to the open Levesque until the very last moment, giving Engelage a chance to cheat a bit and get across to make the stop. Engelage makes another stop at the top of his crease. Drummondville is definitely carrying the balance of the play at this point; Engelage has come up large so far.
Henrique, Hall and Nemisz get a great chance in the Drummondville zone but can’t convert. Energy is needed, and like clockwork, here comes Timmins’ line. MacDermid drills Ryan McKiernan and knocks him silly; the camera briefly shows one of McKiernan’s teammates trying to grab him and pull him on to the bench as he wobbles in the direction of safety. Here’s a TV timeout: let’s see if that hit gets the Spitfires a little more focussed on the job at hand.
Drummondville coach Guy Boucher looks like he could shoot lasers out of his eyes as he’s interviewed on the bench. Note to self: don’t mess with that guy. Taylor Hall and Dmitry Kulikov draw coincidental penalties as Hall stupidly shoots the puck after a whistle and Kulikov hammers him into the boards after that. Lots of soon to be high-priced NHL talent in the sin bin here. Windsor controls the draw and Nemisz has another great chance in tight on Cousineau that he can’t convert. The game is getting decidedly more chippy as the Voltigeurs were ( a few moments ago) treating Ryan Ellis like a paddle treats a pinball and Ellis has now decided to try and intimidate a guy who’s about a foot taller than him. I wouldn’t say it’s working, but I wouldn’t say it’s failing either. Play enters the Drummondville zone, the Spits cycle the puck for a couple of great chances but can’t get a shot, then Loktionov just misses a bouncing puck to the right hand side of a wide open net. The pace is picking up again. TV timeout.
Most of the next sequence is played in the Drummondville zone. Ryan Ellis has a couple of good wrist shots directed at the net through traffic, and Nemisz has a good chance too. The sequence ends as Windsor turns the puck over at the blueline, almost surrenders an odd man rush the other way, but recovers the puck and turns it in to a wrist shot attempt by Taylor Hall. Nice save by Cousineau. On the following shift, Drummondville rushes the puck up ice and Harry Young hauls Riendeau down. Voltigeurs powerplay. Masse just misses Riendeau for a dangerous attempt. Scott Timmins makes a brave shot block off each of the Voltigeurs defencemen. Excellent penalty killing by Windsor leaves Drummondville unable to recover the puck and gain unchallenged possesion in Spitfire territory. Cundari gets a delay of game penalty after making a terrific play to recover the puck, but slapping it over the glass at the other end of the ice. Drummondville will be up two men for about twenty seconds. Timmins is out with Nemisz and Ellis (interesting: two forwards and a D-man). Yannick Riendeau recovers a loose puck and bangs it home past Engelage before the first Windsor penalty expires, leaving a lengthy Drummondville powerplay still to come. With four and a half minutes to go in the second, it’s tied at two.
Engelage denies Masse and Riendeau in front on a scramble. Henrique makes a nice play to recover a loose puck without his stick and kick it back to a defenceman; the Spitfires look like a lock to kill the rest of this penalty, but there is another mad scramble moments later in front of Engelage as the Spits fail to clear a loose puck. Penalty killed. TV timeout.
Hall and Nemisz have a shift with heavy pressure, ringing one shot off the bar. Boughner follows up with Loktionov and MacDermid, and Loktionov has a chance off the rush that Cousineau has to make a nice save on. Drummondville generates another couple of chances from behind the net. Windsor better close that area up in the third, Drummondville has killed them from behind the goal. As the period ends, Nemisz fires the puck on goal and Riendeau thumps him to the ice afterwards. Henrique foolishly gets involved with Gabriel Dumont in a post-buzzer scrum – we’ll see if he draws a penalty too. The replay shows Taylor Hall was wide open at the side of the net but Nemisz likely didn’t have time to pass to him; he had to shoot in order to have any chance to beat the rapidly expiring clock. Should be a good third period coming up; here’s hoping the Spits start on a power play.
Just checked the Memorial Cup website: according to the gamesheet posted there, the refs have called coincidental minors – two to each team – and the clubs will be at even strength to start the 3rd. Dammit.
Crystal ball department: thus far, Drummondville hasn’t been able to maintain the pace they started the game with, but neither has Windsor been able to keep up the early forechecking pressure. The Voltigeurs were the better club in the second, but they got a couple of lucky breaks, in particular the penalty to Cundari – I don’t think I’ve ever before seen a defenceman shoot the puck out of the opposite end of a hockey rink for such a penalty. If I were forced to lay a bet, I’d lay a wager that before the game is over, Taylor Hall will score. I have a hunch that the Spits are going to pull it out, but this one is very even and may be headed for overtime. The major area of defensive concern for the Spits has to be behind their own goal; for some reason the Voltigeurs are recovering pucks there very frequently and centring them for big opportunities. Those of you paying attention will recall that it was just such a play that resulted in the winning goal when these teams met in the round robin.
Third period: Twenty minutes to play for a berth in the finals. Loktionov makes a great play to Wellwood who tries to roof it – and does, but the roof in question is not in the net, but rather the arena. On another rush shortly thereafter, Hall has yet another chance, stopped by Cousineau. Masse rushes back in the other direction and walks into the slot unchallenged for a clear chance, stopped by Engelage. The nerves seem to be getting to both teams as there follows a minute or two of play back and forth between the blue lines; both teams seem a little tentative and neither is generating a lot of speed through the middle of the ice. Wellwood generates a great chance with outside speed and a good puck recovery; a minute or two later, Dale Mitchell gets a semi-breakaway by splitting the defence and goes in on Cousineau who makes a great pad save, coughs up a rebound that Mitchell retrieves and fires at the net while moving in the wrong direction. Moments later, Mitchell has another quasi-breakaway but fires it wide. The Timmins unit is on and ramping up the pressure. Mike Hoffman tries to go wide on Rob Kwiet, who loses his stick as he pokes at Hoffman’s feet; Hoffman goes down like he was shot and Drummondville will go to the powerplay once again. TV timeout, and I won’t be breathing for the next few minutes.
They show the replay of Hoffman’s dive; I am convinced he is related to Dustin Hoffman now more than ever. Windsor wins the draw and clears it out. Timmins, Cundari, Young and Nemisz are on the ice for the Spits. Hoffman the big cheater is out there with Masse, Riendeau, Vachon for Drummondville. A very dangerous Drummondville rush is broken up and Dany Masse takes a hooking penalty to make it four on four. Before play is stopped, Windsor has a dangerous three on one but the shot is high over the crossbar. Windsor goes to an abbreviated poewrplay with about 11:40 to go in the game. The puck is in the Drummondville zone, then knocked out, then back in again, where it is recovered by Hall and cycled along the wall. Ellis gets it to Kwiet, to Ellis, to Loktionov, to Ellis and tipped by Nemisz on a wrist shot from the point. Nemisz carries it in and is dumped driving to the net, no penalty. Ellis retrieves the puck and drives in deep, Drummondville is barely holding on here. The penalty is over, teams are at full strength.
Lane MacDermid, Scott Timmins and the rookie Austin Watson are out there against Frenette and Couturier for Drummondville (can’t make out the other forward). Windsor is carrying the majority of puck possession here. With 8:47 left, TV timeout.
Right now, the Spits are outshooting the Voltigeurs 7-0 in the third. Loktionov wins a faceoff against Masse in the offensive zone. It’s cleared out, then carried back in by Loktionov, who tries to go five hole on Cousineau but the Drummondville goaler is equal to the challenge. Another draw in the Drummondville zone is won by the Spits. Windsor is owning the puck right now; they need to cash it into a goal and soon. With seven and a half minutes to go, we’re surely approaching next goal wins teritory.
Another draw is won by Windsor in the neutral zone and hammered in to the offensive zone. A Drummondville counter is broken up at centre and MacDermid carries in on the left wing. His shot is blocked, and the Spits fail to recover but break up another counter immediately. Shutron’s pass to Wellwood fails to produce a goal, but it’s a good one. It’s cleared out and recovered by Windsor. Cundari carries in one on four and forces Cousineau to make a terrific glove save. Drummondville is standing around and watching right now. Drummondville wins the faceoff to Cousineau’s right, but can’t get the puck through centre. They recover the puck again and get a rush that fails to produce a shot. Hall gets the puck on a Windsor rush and has a glorious chance to win it, but can’t get good wood on it. On the next foray, the puck lies loose at the feet of Cousineau for a tantalizing second before it’s chipped out and recovered again by the Spits. Ellis clears it deep and Masse mounts a rush that ends with a weak wrist shot from just inside the blueline; that might be the Voltigeurs’ first shot on goal of the period. TV timeout.
I am strangely uninterested in the adventures of the Russell family at Boston Pizza at this time.
Sporstnet shows a clip that indicates Riendeau may have hurt himself in a collision with a teammate.
Austin Watson carries two on one with Shutron, Watson shoots, Timmins follows up and can’t get the rebound past Cousineau. Windsor wins another draw, Ellis fires from the point and it’s tipped. Mitchell has an opportunity in the slot, Drummondville penalty coming with 3:55 to go in the 3rd. This, as they say, is it. Windsor has had all the mojo this period; it’s time for the powerplay to put this game in the bag. Loktionov, Nemisz, Kwiet, Ellis and Hall are out there. Ellis dishes to Hall who just misses low and to the left of Cousineau. It’s cleared. Ellis shoots it in, Dumont can’t clear, it’s blocked on a shot from the point. Hall carries in, Ellis can’t shoot it in to the corner cleanly and there will be a faceoff outside the zone as the puck goes over the glass. Windsor takes its 30 second time out to keep the number one unit out there. Drummondville has Vachon, Levesque, Kolikov and one other player I can’t make out on the ice. It’s Prokop; he recovers a shoot in and clears it out. Twenty seconds remaining in the PP, just over two minutes in the game. Hall carries up the right wing. Nemisz keeps it onside, dishes deep to Mitchell who feeds it over to Lotionov who fans off the right post. The penalty is killed. Riendeau carries up ice and fires wide off of Cundari, out of play. 1:25 remaining.
Wellwood carries up the left wing but is knocked over. Windsor has the puck in the neutral zone and shoots it deep with a minute to go. Wellwood tries to send it back to the point, but it’s turned over, then recovered by Windsor. A pass is deflected over the glass and there are 30 seconds left. Hall faces off against Vachon at centre ice with MacDermid and Nemisz on the ice too. It’s flipped out of play. There’s another draw at centre, Harry Young shoots it from the point and MacDermid has a great chance but seems to kind of fan on the puck. The period is over and it’s official we’re going to overtime.
According to the online scoresheet, the shots were 16-2 in that period for Windsor; the Spitfires dominated and deserved more than they got in that frame. Credit Marco Cousineau for some tremendous work in the Voltigeur net.
Overtime: I am going to bet on Dale Mitchell as the goal scorer for the Spits. I choose to disregard the glaring 41-20 Windsor shot advantage and I tell myself that the history of such shot imbalances leading to the team that got outplayed winning it means nothing.
Windsor wins the draw and Henrique has a drive saved by Cousineau. Shutron can’t hold it in, Drummondville’s rush is broken up at centre and it’s carried in by Hall and shot off Cousineau’s glove and out of play. Windsor wins the draw. Carried in by Mitchell and when the Voltiguers reover, they almost clear it over the glass. It’s back in the offensive zone, Hall, Nemisz and Loktionov on the ice. Nemisz carries up the right side, followed by Hall, it’s flipped out and Couturier has it, banged at the net and a scramble in front that’s cleared. Cundari from the point, Nemisz at the side of the net is robbed by Cousineau. MacDermid shoots it in and chases. Watson and Timmins are there with him, to Ellis at the point, over to Young, back in deep. Watson in front sweeps it past the far post. Ellis has a long drive stopped by Cousineau’s pad.
Loktionov carries over the line and shoots, directed to the corner by Cousineau. Windsor cycling the puck, a shot from the point is taken in the belly by Cousineau in the butterfly and frozen. Nemisz wins the draw, Henrique carries it in front, gets it to Hall, who takes the shot on Cousineau and the rebound is tucked home by Henrique for a Spitfire win.
The Spits will get a chance to make history!!!! They need to win one to be the first team to come from down 0-2 to win the Memorial Cup. Go Spits Go!!! Go Spits Go!!! Go Spits Go!!!