Jeremy Bracco had a goal and an assist as the host Windsor Spitfires opened the 2017 Memorial Cup with a 3-2 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday.
Jeremiah Addison and Aaron Luchuk scored the others for the Spitfires (1-0-0), who got a 20-save outing from Michael DiPietro.
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Nathan Noel and Thomas Chabot scored for the Sea Dogs (1-0-0), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions. Callum Booth stopped 20-of-23 shots in defeat.
Windsor went 44 days between games after being eliminated in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, but the rest looked to be a benefit rather than a negative for the tournament’s hosts.
Eight of the last nine Memorial Cup champions have won their league titles, with the 2012 host Shawinigan Cataractes being the last club to lift the trophy after bowing out in their league playoffs. The Spitfires are trying to buck that trend.
Saint John nearly opened the scoring five minutes into the game when the puck bounced off the endboards to an open Samuel Dove-McFalls at the side of the net, but DiPietro got his glove hand up to take away a sure goal.