Sunday, May 21, 2017

NOTEBOOK: Spits got off to great start

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Windsor Spitfires couldn't have asked for a much better start to their Memorial Cup tournament.

The Spitfires came flying out of the gate on Friday at WFCU Centre, going on to defeat the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs 3-2.

"I thought I had a really good start," said Windsor goaltender Michael DiPietro on Saturday. "We came out strong and we came out fast. I think it was all of the excitement we built up inside of us. As the game progressed we just kept it at that level and then translated it into a win."

The only real significant issue for the Spits was closing the game out. Saint John applied some steady offensive pressure in the final five minutes, scoring twice and nearly tying the game in the final minute.

"We haven't really been in that situation in a while and I think it was good for us that we did finally close it out," said DiPietro, who made 20 saves in the victory. "It was a good learning experience. We move on from it. Our focus is on Seattle."

The Spits take on the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds tonight at 8 p.m.


Getty Images has some cool photos from Friday's Sea Dogs Memorial Cup opener against Windsor. Check them out here.

The Spitfires are on a serious roll when it comes to Memorial Cup games. The team has now won nine straight games at the tournament, dating back to 2009 in Rimouski. Windsor went 4-2 at the '09 event and then went 4-0 in 2010 to win back-to-back titles.

This Michael DiPietro save off Spencer Smallman in the first period of Friday's game was really something.

Sportsnet has video of both of Saint John's third period goals, which came from Nathan Noel and Thomas Chabot.
There hasn't been a whole lot of talk about it, but there has yet to be a packed house at the WFCU Centre for this year's tournament. There were pockets of empty seats for Friday's game and several empty rows up high in the corners. Saturday's crowd was even smaller.
The announced crowds have been pretty good, though. The announced number was 5,926 on Friday and 5,259 on Saturday.

CTV Atlantic has a story on New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant writing a letter to the QMJHL and requesting a name change to involve the Maritime clubs.

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