May 16 2014 ISN – The Val-d’Or Foreurs opened the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup with a 1-0 victory over the host London Knights before a sold-out crowd of 8,863 at Budweiser Gardens.
Despite registering 51 shots on goal, the Knights were unable to find the score sheet facing a strong performance between the pipes from Toronto Maple Leaf prospect Antoine Bibeau.
“Bibs was outstanding, our goalie was really good and there were no second shots most of the time,” said Foreurs’ Head Coach Mario Durocher. “The most important for us is the result, that win was the key thing.”
Detroit Red Wings’ prospect Anthony Mantha scored at the 16:20 mark of the first period as he charged hard to the net, finishing off a 3-on-2 passing play, which held as the game-winner.
“Winning this game gives us a little break, gives us two days off and we come back strong on Monday and I think it’s a confidence builder for our team,” said Mantha.
A pivotal point in the game came at the 6:07 mark of the third period when Knight’s forward Bo Horvat, a Vancouver Canuck first round pick, was awarded a penalty shot, but was stopped by Bibeau who made 18 of his 51 saves in the final frame to earn first star honours.
“I was comfortable, I was confident, and it was a key save in this game,” said Bibeau.
“He played an unbelievable game tonight,” said Horvat on Bibeau. “He moves quickly and he kept them in the game at times, and we need to find ways to start putting pucks in the net.”
Bibeau’s shutout marks the first in a MasterCard Memorial Cup since 2011, while his 51 saves is also the most ever recorded in a tournament shutout performance.
The Foreurs pick up their first win in a MasterCard Memorial Cup since May 26, 2001, when they defeated the Regina Pats 5-4 in the tournament Semi-Final.
The Knights’, who are competing in their third straight MasterCard Memorial Cup, become the sixth straight host team to open the championship with a loss.
Both teams have Saturday off before the Knights set their sights on a matchup against the WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday, while the Foreurs will return to action on Monday as they face off against the OHL champion Guelph Storm.
The Knights wore special opening night commemorative jerseys paying tribute to the Infantry School Corps. Pre-game ceremonies included Knights’ alumnus and Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, and a musical performance by The Trews.