LONDON, Ont. - Antoine Bibeau's 51-save shutout lifted the Val-d'Or Foreurs to a 1-0 win over the host London Knights to kick off the Memorial Cup on Friday.
Knights goalie Anthony Stolarz made 27 saves in front of a full house at Budweiser Gardens.
The Memorial Cup has been awarded to Canadian junior hockey champions since 1919 in memory of those who died in the First World War. The tournament includes the Ontario, Western and Quebec champions as well as the host team.
The Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings face the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm on Saturday.
This year's tournament opener featured the least-rested team against a hockey club playing its first game in five weeks. The Knights were eliminated in the second round of playoffs by the Guelph Storm on April 11.
Val-d'Or had a tight turnaround as they won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title in a Game 7 on Tuesday in Baie-Comeau.
The hosts Knights held the Foreurs scoreless on a pair of two-man advantages in the first two periods. The weary Foreurs sometimes reached for a pass instead of skating for the puck.
But the Knights didn't recover their scoring touch despite three power-play chances, a penalty shot early in the third period and pulling Stolarz for an extra attacker with almost two minutes to go.
Bibeau got his blocker on Bo Horvat's high attempt on the penalty shot and re-directed the puck away. The Knights also missed the net a few times when they had a shooting lane at Bibeau.
Mantha continued his goal-a-game pace for the Foreurs this season with his 82nd goal in as many regular-season and playoff games combined.
The towering winger swooped from Stolarz's left and tucked the puck under the Knights goaltender on his stick side at 16:20.
The Detroit Red Wings prospect also hit the cross bar with just over a minute remaining in the period. Bibeau stopped Knights captain Chris Tierney on a breakaway and gloved a dangerous sharp-angled shot from Ryan Rupert in the first period.
The Foreurs goalie appeared to be caught off guard midway through the period, however, on a routine clear by the Knights. Bibeau looked up at the last minute to corral the puck between his skates.
London's ownership of the puck in the first period allowed Stolarz to ease his way into the game, although he did corral a tough rebound during a two-man advantage for the Foreurs in the first period.
Stolarz waited more than seven weeks for a start because of an eight-game suspension in the playoffs that was later reduced to six.
The game was scheduled for 7 p.m., but the puck dropped 34 minutes later because of pre-game ceremonies that included the "Highway of Heroes" by The Trews.
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