KITCHENER -- It doesn't matter that the game didn't mean anything.
The Belleville Bulls see red when they fall behind by three.
Then they charge.
Buoyed by a 54-save performance by undraftedgoalie Mike Murphy, the Bulls rallied from yet another 3-0 deficit and got a Keaton Turkiewicz overtime winner to shock the host Kitchener Rangers 4-3 in the final Memorial Cup round-robin game last night at the Memorial Auditorium.
The same two teams meet in tomorrow night's semifinal. As Belleville star Shawn Matthias indicated, the OHL final is going to a Game 9 -- and the Bulls reward for nearly 70 minutes of sweat is final line change.
"Everyone's been talking about a Kitchener-Spokane final, but the last time I checked, the Belleville Bulls are still alive and have something to say about this tournament," said Murphy, who has faced 50-plus shots in three of his last four games.
"It's not going to be easy. There's two other teams that have both won trophies to get here and we know Kitchener's going to come out hard."
The Rangers couldn't have started with more jump. But the No. 1 team in the Canadian Hockey League has shown a shocking inability to hold onto three-goal leads.
Clawing back from those is Belleville's specialty. They rallied from three games down in the OHL final to force a Game 7. They bounced back against Spokane, but lost in overtime. This time, they finished the job.
"I don't what it is -- we feel like we're prepared for every game," Turkiewicz said. "If we can play the whole time like we do when we're down by three, we wouldn't have to be worried."
Turkiewicz played the hero minutes after slick forward Jan Mursak was helped off the ice after a knee-on-knee hit from Kitchener's Nick Spaling. Belleville coach George Burnett thought he'd be OK.
"That can spark the guys and Jan's been a big part of our team since the trade deadline (when he came from Saginaw)," Turkiewicz said. "It was a close call. The refs didn't see it (as dirty). We're just hoping he's not hurt."
As the two OHL teams slug away, both are aware that Spokane is sitting back and awaiting the winner. The Chiefs will have four days of rest before the final.
"I think the happiest guy in the building is Bill Peters (head coach) of Spokane," Kitchener bench boss Peter DeBoer said. "The more overtimes George and I play against each other, the better it is for them."
DeBoer admitted he's tired of playing the Bulls.
"I'm sick of George," he quipped.
"OK," Burnett said. "I'm sick of Pete."
Even the Kitchener players are sick of surrendering big leads. In their only win of the tournament, the Rangers blew two three-goal edges, but knocked off Gatineau in overtime.
"We haven't done very well with three-goal leads in this tournament," Ranger captain Matt Pepe said. "We came out and played well but it was good for them they got the win and we're going to have to come back and do it again."