As part of the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup Memories series between May 25 and June 21, CHL on Sportsnet talent including RJ Broadhead, Sam Cosentino, and Rob Faulds will recall some of their most memorable moments from tournaments over the last decade, and we’ll recap the highlights to help set the stage for 10 championship game rebroadcasts on CHL.ca.
After bowing out early in OHL playoff action, the 2017 Memorial Cup host Windsor Spitfires turned the tables at the year-end tournament to capture CHL supremacy for the third time in nine years.
Initially falling in a seven-game opening-round set versus the rival London Knights, the Spitfires led by head coach Rocky Thompson were faced with in essence a 44-day training camp that the club used to its advantage to rest and prepare for when it mattered most in May.
The formula evidently worked as Windsor rifled off a 3-0 showing through round-robin play in which it outscored its opponents by a 14-5 margin. That stretch counted a 7-1 victory over the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds in which the team tallied three times in 38 seconds in the opening frame to tie a Memorial Cup record for the fastest trio of goals originally set by the 1978 New Westminster Bruins.
But the Spitfires weren’t the only team rewriting the record books at the 2017 Memorial Cup. Round-robin action also saw the OHL champion Erie Otters defeat the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs 12-5, marking the most goals by a single team in one game at the annual showdown, while then Arizona Coyotes prospect and eventual Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy recipient as Memorial Cup MVP Dylan Strome put on a clinic with a single-game seven-point performance counting four goals and three assists to top the tournament’s previous high-water mark of six points shared by three players.
In the first championship final between OHL opponents since 1993, it was the Otters on the heels of their CHL record fourth straight 50-win season against the host Spitfires who had won 11 straight Memorial Cup games dating back to 2009. The closely battled contest ultimately ended in a 4-3 victory for Windsor before the home crowd that counted a handful of key performances including a 32-save effort from netminder Michael DiPietro, who later earned recognition as the tournament’s top goaltender before hearing his name called by the Vancouver Canucks in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft only weeks later. Aaron Luchuk scored the game-winner 5:07 into the third period, and Jeremy Bracco had a goal plus two assists and became the 24th player to win both the Memorial Cup and World Junior gold in the same season.
In all, the two squads also split the six slots on the Memorial Cup All-Star Team, with DiPietro, defenceman and then Montreal Canadiens prospect Mikhail Sergachev, and 2017 NHL Draft hopeful Gabriel Vilardi who was soon selected 11th overall by the Los Angeles Kings representing the Spitfires, while recognized from the Otters were blue-liner Darren Raddysh, and brother and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh at forward alongside Chicago Blackhawks up-and-comer Alex DeBrincat.
May 19 – Windsor 3 vs. Saint John 2
May 20 – Seattle 2 vs. Erie 4
May 21 – Seattle 1 vs. Windsor 7
May 22 – Saint John 5 vs. Erie 12
May 23 – Saint John 7 vs. Seattle 0
May 24 – Erie 2 vs. Windsor 4
May 26 (Semi-Final) – Erie 6 vs. Saint John 3
May 28 (Final) – Windsor 4 vs. Erie 3
Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (MVP) – Dylan Strome, Erie
Ed Chynoweth Trophy (Leading Scorer) – Dylan Strome, Erie
George Parsons Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike) – Anthony Cirelli, Erie
Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Top Goaltender) – Michael DiPietro, Windsor
Forwards: Alex DeBrincat (Erie), Taylor Raddysh (Erie), Gabriel Vilardi (Windsor)
Defence: Darren Raddysh (Erie), Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor)
Goaltender: Michael DiPietro (Windsor)
D – Erik Cernak
F – Anthony Cirelli
F – Alex DeBrincat
F – Warren Foegele
F – Dylan Strome
Saint John Sea Dogs
D – Thomas Chabot
D – Jakob Zboril
F – Julien Gauthier
F – Matthew Highmore
F – Mathieu Joseph
D – Ethan Bear
F – Mathew Barzal
F – Keegan Kolesar
F – Alexander True
G – Michael DiPietro
D – Mikhail Sergachev
F – Logan Brown
F – Gabriel Vilardi
Relive the action between the Spitfires and Otters on Monday’s rebroadcast streaming live at 7 p.m. ET on CHL.ca.