Jeremy Bracco, Spitfires beat Otters in Memorial Cup final

Troy Timpano stopped 18 shots in defeat. Vilardi earned an assist on the play.

Windsor Spitfires left wing Graham Knott (37) celebrates after scoring past Erie Otters goalie Troy Timpano (33) during second period Memorial Cup final hockey action in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

The Spitfires held on to beat the Erie Otters 4-3 Sunday night, becoming the first host team to win the Memorial Cup since the Shawinigan Cataractes did so in 2012.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco led the way with a goal and two helpers in the win, registering the lone assist on Luchuk's game winning goal while Michael DiPietro made 32 saves and came up big late in the game. "The crowd was so loud and played a big part in this, threw the momentum in our favour".

"Different perspective, more enjoyment, obviously", DiPietro said in between hugs with family and friends who met him on the ice post-game.

Graham Knott snaps home a shot from off the crease to tie the 2017 Memorial Cup final at 3 apiece at 14:53 of the 2nd period.

"Truly special, especially being from here", DiPietro said after his team downed the Erie Otters 4-3 on Sunday for the Canadian Hockey League championship.

"Erie is a great team and we had to be great to beat them, and we were tonight". Everybody bought in no matter who it was, staff, management, ownership, and the players. "Credit to them, they played well, but it's unfortunate it comes down to something like this, one game".

He says winning a Memorial Cup as a coach ranks up there with his accomplishments as a player, including winning a goal medal at the 1997 World Junior Hockey Championship.

In the second, Warren Foegele gave Erie their first lead in the second, but once again the game was tied quickly as Logan Stanley scored for Windsor just 52 seconds later.

That goal proved to be the victor as the Otters couldn't find the equalizer.

Erie pushed for the equalizer and controlled the puck for the majority of the third. Immediately after, Fergus took a penalty that put Windsor on the power play and they capitalized, tying it up once again, Graham Knott (Blackhawks) finishing a shot from Gabriel Vilardi (2017 National Hockey League entry draft eligible) to make it 3-3.

Shots were 24-17 Otters after 40 minutes, with six coming from DeBrincat alone.

After trading chances early, Bracco got Windsor on the board 1t 16:07 of the first period when he gathered up a loose puck on a Spitfire power-play chance and buried it from the slot. Luchuk managed to get free from his check as both clubs were in the midst of line changes, giving the speedy veteran ample time to pick a corner. The 20-year-old set a tournament record scoring four goals and three assists during the Otters 12-5 round robin win over the Saint John Sea Dogs on 22 May.

"He has been in those tough situations", Spits coach Rocky Thompson said. "We hit two goal posts in the third, but you don't always win them. It's insane. We were underdogs, we embraced it and I'm so happy and so grateful".

  • Zachary Reyes