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Monday, May 26, 2008 - Page updated at 07:15 AM

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Broken Memorial Cup trophy still beautiful to Spokane Chiefs

KITCHENER, Ontario —

The Memorial Cup was in two pieces, so it was easier for the Spokane Chiefs to hoist above their heads after they beat the host Kitchener Rangers 4-1 to win the 90th Memorial Cup.

Team captain Chris Bruton lifted the trophy over his head twice Sunday and kissed it. Then, as he was about to hand it to teammate Trevor Glass, the cup became separated from its heavy base, which fell to the ice, drawing boos from fans at Memorial Auditorium who already were disappointed that their home team lost.

The good news is that it's a replica trophy. The one that has been handed out to the junior hockey champion since 1919 is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"It just kind of crumbled in my hands and I'm sure I'll be all over YouTube and I'll get e-mails for the rest of my life over that, but I don't care because we won the cup and that's all that matters," Bruton said. "It's just as beautiful and maybe more beautiful that we have that top off and we can drink from the cup a little easier."

Chiefs goaltender Dustin Tokarski, currently rated No. 9 among North American goaltenders by Central Scouting for the NHL draft next month, will likely see his stock soar after a 53-save performance.

Tokarski, 18, of Watson, Saskatchewan, was named most valuable player of the tournament. The Rangers were all over him in the third period as they outshot Spokane 25-7, but Tokarski weathered the storm.

"That was the longest third period of my life," he said. "When we got that fourth goal, it was an amazing feeling."

Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Drayson Bowman, Judd Blackwater and defender Trevor Glass scored for the Chiefs and Jared Cowen added an empty-net goal. Bruton had two assists.

Brandon Mashinter scored the lone goal for Kitchener.

The Rangers were favored going into the tournament after being ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Hockey League 15 of the last 16 weeks of the season. Spokane, despite being ranked No. 2 at the end of the regular season, entered the tournament somewhat under the radar.

The Chiefs didn't have as potent an offense as Kitchener but countered by taking away time, space and the middle scoring lanes and by making the most of turnovers and power-play chances Sunday.

It was the fourth time a U.S.-based team has won the Canadian Hockey League championship. Spokane won in 1991 and the Portland Winterhawks in 1993 and 1998.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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