Monday, May 26, 2008

Spokane picks up the pieces to a Memorial Cup victory

As things turned out it’s a replica trophy that they handed out at the centre ice ceremonies of the 2008 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Kitchener, a little known but now relief filled fact. as the Spokane Chiefs almost had portions of a treasured trophy to share with the entire line up.

The Chiefs broke the Memorial Cup on Sunday afternoon, a fumbled hand off from Captain Chris Bruton leaving the trophy tumbling to the ice and the bowl portion flailing in mid air, as the excited Chiefs had a brief brush with terror before returning to their celebratory skate.

The Cup faux pas, was perhaps the only bad move on the Chiefs part in the whole game and tournament, as they finished the tournament undefeated and now undisputed champions of Junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League.

Chiefs goaltender Dustin Tokarski provided for a fifty three save performance to lead his Chief team mates to junior hockey’s most cherished trophy, a display of goaltending that will surely move his stock up in the NHL amateur draft in a few weeks. Tokarski frustrated the Kitchener Rangers time and time again, refusing to yield but once to the Ranger attack and giving Spokane growing confidence as the periods rolled along.

The Chiefs victory marked only the fourth time in the 90 year history of the Memorial Cup that the trophy will be awarded to a team from below the 49th parallel, Spokane last won the Cup in 1991, while Portland has been winners twice as well in the nineties.

The result provided a disappointing final score and turn of events for the hometown Ranger fans, some of whom had paid over 200 dollars in scalper fees for tickets to what they had hoped would be a hometown celebration.

The Rangers provided those fans with what they had hoped to see as they took charge of the first ten minutes of play, scoring the games first goal in the first five minutes of play, however the Chiefs were patient and regained their balance and moved forward from there.

Spokane was not to feel the pressure, as they effectively rebuffed the fast paced Ranger attack, the Chiefs owned the neutral zone for the bulk of the game and while allowing the Rangers time to work with the puck, the home side couldn't put the goals in behind Tokarski .

The Chiefs took advantage of a string of Ranger penalties and made the best of turnovers to punish Kitchener for the lapses of judgment that can be costly in a championship game.

Kitchener paid the price for the turnovers and ran into a hot goaltender that seemed at the peak of his game in the most important game of the season. For Spokane at the end of the day, all that was left was to pack for home and maybe stop in at a Home Depot for some Crazy glue..

Maybe they can use their Mastercard, we hear when it comes to hockey memories it's priceless!

Associated Press-- Chiefs win Memorial Cup
Spokane Spokesman Review-- Chiefs win Memorial Cup
Kitchener Waterloo Record-- Chiefs bringing it home to Spokane

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