Spokane Chiefs win Memorial Cup with 4-1 win over Kitchener Rangers
KITCHENER, Ont. - The Spokane Chiefs won the 90th Memorial Cup with a 4-1 win over the host Kitchener Rangers on Sunday.
A U.S.-based team won the Canadian Hockey League championship for only the third time in history after Spokane (1991) and Portland (1998).
Drayson Bowman, Judd Blackwater and defenceman Trevor Glass scored for the Chiefs and Jared Cowen added an empty-net goal.
Captain Chris Bruton had a pair of assists and goaltender Dustin Tokarski made 53 saves for the victory.
Brandon Mashinter replied for the Rangers and goalie Josh Unice made 22 saves.
It was the first meeting of a WHL and OHL team in the MasterCard Memorial Cup final since Ottawa and Calgary in 1999.
The Rangers were ranked No. 1 in the CHL 15 of the last 16 weeks of the season, while the Chiefs were No. 2 at season's end.
The Chiefs went 3-0 in the round robin of the Memorial Cup and thus earned the bye to Sunday's final.
Spokane had four days of rest before the championship, while Kitchener (2-1) played Belleville twice during that span in a preliminary-round game and the semifinal.
The Rangers carried the play for the first 10 minutes as they used their speed to relentlessly pressure the Chiefs in their own zone. They scored five minutes in to take a lead for the fifth time in five games in the tournament.
But Kitchener then ran into penalty trouble, which opened up the ice for the Chiefs as two of their next three goals came on a man advantage.
While the Rangers had problems defending leads earlier in this tournament, the defensive-minded Chiefs have no such trouble. They were 41-3 when leading after two periods during the regular season.
The Chiefs' checking line of Levko Koper, Tyler Johnson and Justin McCrae silenced Kitchener's top trio of Matt Halischuk, Justin Azevedo and Nick Spaling, who had combined for 28 points heading in the final.
Tokarski, an 18-year-old from Watson, Sask., did not give up many rebounds and weathered the storm in the third period when Azevedo, the CHL's top scorer, Halischuk and Spaling repeatedly swarmed his net.
The Rangers were not as airtight in front of Unice, as Spokane scored two goals on rebounds.
Spokane held Kitchener scoreless on four power-play chances.
Glass, who was on the losing side of last year's Memorial Cup final with the Medicine Hat Tigers, made it 3-1 at 5:12.
Bruton won the faceoff and sent it back to Glass, whose wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Unice high glove side.
Bowman scored his sixth of the tournament just over a minute earlier. His off-speed shot through traffic from the high faceoff circle beat Unice five-hole.
Blackwater tied it up 1-1 with a power-play goal at 16:10 of the first period. Ondrej Roman wheeled the puck along the low boards and dished it out front to a waiting Blackwater who beat Unice upstairs.
Scott Timmins won the faceoff in the offenzive zone and Mike Mascioli's sharp-angled shot on Tokarski deflected out front to Mashinter, who scored low glove side on the Spokane goaltender at 5:01.
Notes(at) - The 2009 Memorial Cup will be held in Rimouski, Que. . . . The WHL has won the Memorial cup 18 times, the OHL 11 and the QMJHL seven . . . Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz was the team's GM on the Cup-winning team of 1991 . . .. . . The Memorial Cup trophy has been handed to the junior hockey championship since 1919 in honour of those who died in the First World War . . . Former Kitchener Rangers and Memorial Cup winners Derek Roy (2003) and Scott Stevens (1982) took part in the pre-game ceremonial puck drop.