Last year, the Windsor Spitfires lost their first game of the Memorial Cup in overtime, then rallied to win four of their last five games to win Canada's national junior championship.
This year, they started on the right foot, scoring five goals in the first period of their opener against the host Brandon Wheat Kings on the way to a 9-3 victory on Friday night.
Leading the charge was Taylor Hall. A consensus top-two pick for the 2010 Entry Draft scored a pair of goals, including one on a spectacular behind-the-back, between-the-legs move that came only minutes after he was crushed into the boards by Brandon's Travis Hamonic.
Hall is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2010 Entry Draft, June 25-26 in Los Angeles. He was the MVP of last year's tournament, when he had 8 points in six games.
"We learned from last year from having a slow start," said Windsor's Scott Timmins, who scored a pair of goals. "We definitely wanted to have a good start and take their crowd out of it early."
The Spitfires scored four times in a 2:44 span early in the first period to overwhelm Brandon. They led 5-0 after one period, and scored three times in the second to lead 8-0 before Brandon finally got on the board.
Adam Henrique scored twice for Windsor, and Justin Shugg -- No. 53 in Central Scouting's rakings -- and Marc Cundari had a pair of assists each. Cundari also was a plus-4.
Matthew Calvert, Aaron Lewadniuk and Jay Fehr scored for Brandon.