WINDSOR, Ont. — Jeremiah Addison had a hat trick as the Windsor Spitfires beat the Erie Otters 4-2 on Wednesday to advance directly to the Memorial Cup final.
Erie will play the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs (1-2) in Friday’s semifinal, with the winner grabbing the second spot in Sunday’s championship.
Mikhail Sergachev also scored for the host Spitfires (3-0), who went undefeated in the round robin. Gabriel Vilardi assisted on all three of Addison’s goals while Michael DiPietro made 33 saves.
Kyle Maksimovich and Taylor Raddysh supplied the offence for the Otters (2-1), the Ontario Hockey League champions. Troy Timpano stopped 15 shots in defeat.
Addison opened the scoring four seconds after both teams returned to 5-on-5. Vilardi made a pass from behind the net to Addison out front and he roofed it over Timpano 5:50 into the first.
The high-flying Otters couldn’t get their first shot on net for over 10 minutes. They had 74 combined shots in their first two victories of the tournament, but only five in the first period against Windsor.
Their best early chance was a 4-on-2 break led by Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, but one too many passes led to a wasted chance. Ivan Lodnia put a wrister into DiPietro’s chest with 9:22 to go in the period.
Jeremy Bracco had a glorious chance to double his team’s lead with 4:29 to play in the first, but a desperate Timpano got across the crease and kept the puck out despite not knowing where it hit him.
Timpano couldn’t get a piece of an Addison shot only 30 seconds later, as the Canadiens draft pick snapped it from the top of the circle short side for his second of the game and a 2-0 lead to take into the first intermission.
Strome and TJ Fergus took minor penalties late in the period to give Windsor a 1:34 of 5-on-3 to start the second.
And the Spitfires made them pay for it as Sergachev, another Canadiens prospect, ripped a point shot blocker side 43 seconds into the period for a three-goal advantage.
DeBrincat, who scored 65 goals in the OHL regular season, nearly put Erie on the board only to have his shot hit the post, roll behind DiPietro and stay out.
Erie got its first power-play opportunity with 3:08 to go in the second, but it was the DiPietro show for the full two minutes.
With 38 seconds to go in the period DeBrincat collided with Addison and went down. He was attended to by training staff and went to the dressing room, but was good to go to start the third.
The Otters outshot Windsor 15-5 in the second period.
DiPietro had to be sharp early in the third as a Darren Raddysh point shot nearly made it through a crowd four minutes in.
But he couldn’t stop everything as the Otters kept pushing.
Maksimovich beat his defender to a loose puck in the crease and put it over the Windsor goaltender to make it 3-1 with 11:50 to play.
A breakdown in the Erie end with 6:29 to play led to Addison’s third goal of the game as he finished off a pass from Julius Nattinen.
The Otters pulled Timpano with 3:20 to go, and went up 6-on-4 after a Spitfires penalty at 17:28. Six seconds later Raddysh snapped it between DiPietro’s legs to make it 4-2.
Erie kept Windsor on its heels until the final buzzer sounded, with DiPietro coming up big on more than once occasion to send his team to the championship game.