Spitfires dump Hitmen

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

BRANDON -- Last year, the Windsor Spitfires snuck through the back door.

This year, they went straight to the front door, didn’t bother knocking, and kicked it down.

The defending Memorial Cup champions ran their record to 2-0 Monday night after dispatching the Calgary Hitmen 6-2.

Taylor Hall, well on his way to another Memorial Cup MVP award, scored a pair of goals and added an assist for the Spitfires, who started last year’s tournament 0-2 before rebounding to win the title.

“We’ve put ourselves in a great position,” Hall said after a second dominant performance.

“All we have to do is win one more game.

“That makes things a lot easier on us than last year.”

Dale Mitchell, Justin Shugg, Kenny Ryan and Adam Wallace also scored for Windsor, which locked up a spot in Sunday’s final.

They’ll play the winless Moncton Wildcats Tuesday night (6 p.m., Sportsnet).

Jimmy Bubnick had both goals for the Hitmen (1-1), who will meet the host Brandon Wheat Kings Wednesday.

“I wanted to put myself in good scoring positions,” Bubnick said after finding the net for the first time since

Game 7 of the opening round of the WHL playoffs against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

“Any time you can contribute with offence, it feels great.”

If Windsor beats Moncton Tuesday, the Hitmen/Wheaties game will mean nothing other than who will be the home team in Friday’s semifinal.

German import Philipp Grubauer kicked out 25 pucks to post the victory while Martin Jones was beaten five times on 36 shots. Jones said he would have liked to have the first two back.

“I thought we played better at the start, but there were a couple of goals I don’t want to give up,” Jones said.

“It was a tough spot to put my team in.”

The Hitmen began the third period trailing 3-2 but were looking to build on the momentum they gained by scoring two straight to end the second.

Those hopes disappeared when Hall stripped Giffen Nyren of the puck, skated in on a breakaway and deked Jones for his second of the night at the 12-second mark.

“I think that goal was really big for our team,” Hall said.

“It let us relax.

“I think, in the second intermission, some of the guys were a little antsy.”

Nyren made up for the mistake on the next shift when he took a puck off the goal-line that was rolling into the net.

Ryan made it 5-2 with just over three minutes remaining before Wallace iced it into an empty net.

Just as they did in the tournament opener against Brandon, the Spitfires wasted no time hitting the scoreboard.

Mitchell took a pass in the high slot and beat Jones five-hole on the club’s first shot just 2:38 after the opening faceoff.

The OHL champs were back for more 1:17 later.

Hall roared down the left wing and unleashed a slapshot from the top of the circles that found the short side.

But Jones, who was beaten twice on the first three shots, settled down and turned aside the remaining 11 pucks he saw in the period to keep it 2-0.

Hall helped stake the Spitfires to a 3-0 lead in the middle frame when he gained the zone with speed and dropped a pass to Shugg, who picked the top corner.


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