Henrique's OT winner lifts Spitfires

Ryan Pyette

, Last Updated: 11:20 PM ET

When he was a little kid, Adam Henrique watched the Memorial Cup final on TV and dreamed how great it would be to play in it one day.

Sunday afternoon, he and his Windsor Spitfires teammates will find out.

The 19-year-old New Jersey Devils prospect banged home a rebound 4:31 into overtime as Windsor outlasted the Drummondville Voltigeurs 3-2 in the Cup semifinal before 4,576 Friday night at the Rimouski Colisee.

Windsor advances to Sunday’s Cup final against the well-rested Western champion Kelowna Rockets.

“You dream of getting here, but you never imagine you’ll get a chance to score the winning goal in overtime,” the Burford, Ont., native said. “This team has so much character. We’ve been through things like this all year and I just think it’s revealed in situations like this.

“With a day off (Saturday), we’ll be ready for Sunday’s final.”

Windsor started the tournament with two straight losses against Quebec entries Drummondville and host Rimouski. The Spitfires recovered by winning three straight elimination games kick-started by a tight-checking 2-1 decision over the Rockets.

Windsor knocked out both Quebec entries. They were the first team of the tournament to win both games played on consecutive nights.

Now, they have the shot at becoming the first club in Cup history to go from the tie-breaker to champion.

“We know about that and if there’s one team that can do it, it’s ours,” Henrique said.

With Ontario against West, it’s the first time in 21 years a Quebec team didn’t make the Cup final held by its league. That was the only other time the Spitfires have been to the tournament — and they lost 7-6 in the 1998 final to Medicine Hat in Chicoutimi.

“We gave ourselves the chance to win the last game of the season,” Windsor forward Dale Mitchell said. “That’s all you can ask for. I’m glad it was Henny (Henrique) who was the hero. He’s been great this week.”

Windsor fired 47 shots at spectacular Drummondville goalie Marco Cousineau, an Anaheim draft pick. The Voltigeurs managed just 21 on Windsor’s Andrew Engelage and only three after the second period.

No club has endured more emotionally over the past two years than Windsor. The Spitfires had to bury their captain Mickey Renaud in February, 2008.

But no team has been through a physical grind the last month like the banged-up Voltigeurs.

“You could see they didn’t have a lot left,” said Windsor forward Taylor Hall, whose shot led to Henrique’s heroics. “We just wanted to keep on them and force the play. We knew they were going to sit back at the end.”

Windsor jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead. But Drummondville tied it heading into the third.

It was the Cup’s fifth game decided by one goal. There were three overtimes and the Voltigeurs won the other two.

But they couldn’t deny Henrique and Co. his dream.


Videos

Photos