The OHL was guaranteed a Memorial Cup when the Erie Otters defeated QMJHL champion Saint John in the tournament’s semi-final; the Otters met fellow Western Conference team Windsor–who was eliminated in the OHL conference quarter-finals by the London Knights–in the Memorial Cup championship game. Windsor, the host team, went 3-0 in the round robin and eventually secured the 4-3 win against the Otters.
The OHL rivals were intimately familiar with each other coming into Sunday night’s matchup, having played each other multiple times during the regular season and once in the tournament. Windsor used this familiarity to force the Otters’ offensive zone entries to the outside, giving goaltender Michael DiPietro plenty of time to see the puck; their defensive zone secure, the Spitfires went to work on the power play late in the first period, and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco sent a shot into the net during a scramble in front of the Erie goal for the early 1-0 lead. Not to be outdone, however, Dylan Strome and his Otters came right back–and Strome tied the game off a quick snap-shot inside the slot. He sent Erie and Windsor into the second period with the score 1-1.
Erie headed to the power play early in the second period with a chance to take the lead: it didn’t take long for the Otters to strike, as Warren Foegele redirected Strome’s shot with the skate to put Erie up 2-1. In a mirror image of the first period, however, Windsor retaliated under a minute later: Logan Stanley’s shot from the point found its way through traffic and Erie goalie Troy Timpano to tie it at two apiece. In a game of momentum swings, short leads, and ties, Erie’s defense chipped in with a goal near the end of the second period: T.J. Fergus sent a wristshot from the blue line that deflected off two bodies and past DiPietro, giving Erie a 3-2 lead. But Windsor secured another tie heading into the third period, when Graham Knott scored on the power play two minutes after Fergus’s goal.
The third period was a tightly contested affair, with both teams getting their chances. The difference was a few inches and a couple posts for the Erie Otters, who would fail to score on their man-advantage opportunities and hit more than a few posts as time clocked down. Aaron Luchuk scored the eventual-deciding goal, giving host team Windsor the Memorial Cup win.
Dylan Strome scored a goal for the Otters and was named the tournament MVP. Troy Timpano made 18 saves on 22 shots.
Aaron Luchuk scored Windsor’s game-winner and Michael DiPietro stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced.
The Otters won their first J. Ross Robertson Cup trophy in fifteen years this season, giving them their Memorial Cup berth–where they went 3-2, eventually falling to the OHL host team, Windsor, in the championship game.