What: 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship
Who: Windsor Spitfires vs. Kelowna Rockets
When: 3:30 PM CDT, Sunday May 24
Television/Radio: NHL Network | 1150 AM
After cruising through the WHL playoffs, including a finals win over the heavily favorited Calgary Hitmen, the Kelowna Rockets entered Memorial Cup play on fire. Two quick wins in round-robin play assured the Rockets of an appearance in the championship game, and they look to continue their roll this afternoon against Windsor.
Kelowna will be facing a Spitfires team that is also riding a big wave of momentum. After losing their first two games in the tournament, Windsor won three straight games to secure a spot in the final. The first of these wins came against Kelowna on Wednesday night.
The championship will be a big test for Kelowna, who haven't played in four days. Jamie Benn, still leading all Memorial Cup players in goals with five, says that he's expecting a tough game from the hard-working Spitfires.
"They've been playing for their lives the last three games," Benn told Sun Media. "We know how they play and we've watched their last few games on TV. We didn't play very well when we had a chance to knock them out and hopefully, we bring more energy today. There's no reason we shouldn't."
This will also be the final game Benn will play with his Kelowna teammates before making the transition to the Dallas Stars system next system. He has been nothing short of spectacular for the Rockets, continuing to lead all players in the postseason in goals and assists. Not only is he his team's top scorer, but he is also the leader of a team playing for the highest honor in Canadian junior hockey. One more victory and he will secure one of the greatest individual careers in WHL history.
In 136 regular-season, playoff and Memorial Cup games, the 6-foot-2 left winger has tallied 100 goals and 99 assists for 199 points, while also earning 163 penalty minutes. Benn is currently tied for the tournament scoring lead with eight points.
On Monday, though, those numbers will be quickly turned aside, as the Victoria product focuses on making the NHL.
"My time here has gone by pretty quick," said Benn, selected by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round, 129th overall, of the NHL's 2007 entry draft.
"It's been a heck of a ride, and there's no better position to be in than playing for the Memorial Cup."
This will be Dallas Stars fans last chance this summer to see Benn in action before prospect camps start in a few months.