Memorial Cup: Chiefs beat Belleville 5-4 in OT
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Chiefs are back at it. A day after opening the MasterCard Memorial Cup with a 5-4 overtime win over the Belleville Bulls, Spokane will take on the host Kitchener Rangers at 1:30 PT in a battle of the unbeatens. Kitchener earned a 6-5 overtime win over Gatineau on Friday night.
The first two games of the tournament followed similar forms with the winner jumping out to 3-0 leads and then coming out on top following a scramble at the end to send it to overtime.
"I think there were a lot of nerves," Memorial Cup veteran Trevor Glass said. "We haven't played for 10 days and just wanted to get the game started. Both teams really played uncharacteristically."
Drayson Bowman had three goals, including the game equalizer after the Bulls scored four unanswered to take a one goal lead in the third period, and an assist to lead the Chiefs to victory.
"You talk a lot about guys like Bowman," Glass said about the type of player a team needs to be successful in the 12 day tournament. "He is a big game player for sure and came out with a strong game. We will need him to play like that throughout the week."
The Rangers have been hit by injuries over the past month and it is yet to be determined if defensemen Yannick Weber, their quarterback on the power play with a 99 mph slapshot, and 6'4" Robert Bortuzzo will play tonight. Team Canada netminder Steve Mason has played just five games in the playoffs, but Josh Unice has filled in admirably in net with a 2.41 GAA in the post season.
The Chiefs do know that opportunistic Justin Azevedo will be in the lineup. The 19-year-old had a breakout season with 43 goals and 124 points and another 36 points in 20 playoff games. Azevedo scored the game winner on Friday night and was named the OHL's Most Oustanding Player.