LONDON, ONT. - The London Knights are heading into their most important game of the season on Wednesday night and who will start in goal could be up in the air.
After a 5-2 loss to the Western League champions, the Edmonton Oil Kings, on Sunday night, the Knights were tight-lipped Tuesday morning as to whether they would go back to Anthony Stolarz on Wednesday or Sault native Jake Patterson against the Guelph Storm with their season on the line.
“To be honest, by the time we got in today, watched the tape of last night’s game and clipped it for video and headed to practice, we haven’t even really discussed it yet,” said Knights assistant coach Jeff Paul.
Following their practice Tuesday afternoon, Patterson told media that the goaltenders didn't know who was starting at that point.
Patterson entered the 2013 tournament in Saskatoon under similar circumstances. The veteran netminder eventually played in four tournament games, helping the Knights to the semi-final where they fell to the Western League’s Portland Winterhawks.
Reports surfaced late Tuesday afternoon that the Knights planned to start Stolarz though the Knights had not officially released the news.
In Tuesday's tournament action, the Val-d'Or Foreurs (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) clinched a berth in the semi-final with a 4-3 double overtime win over the Edmonton Oil Kings (Western Hockey League).
Edmonton jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Reid Petryk and Curtis Lazar. Shawn Ouellet-St. Armand got Val-d'Or on the board on a deflection later in the opening period.
Pierre-Maxime Poudrier tied the game for the Foreurs with the lone goal of the second period.
“We didn’t think we had a particularly great second period,” said Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal. “We got away from our game a little bit.”
Henrik Samuelsson put the Oil Kings ahead at 5:36 of the final period when he found himself in alone on Val-d'Or goaltender Antoine Bibeau. Samuel Henley tied the game for Val-d'Or with 4:10 left in regulation time to force overtime.
After a scoreless first overtime period, Anthony Richard scored on a breakaway 1:15 into the second overtime frame to lift the Foreurs to the victory.
“It was a team effort tonight,” said Mario Durocher, coach of the Foreurs.
“The more the game went on, the more we were able to match their intensity,” Durocher said .Offensively, we were creating more.”
Foreurs goaltender Antoine Bibeau stopped 47 shots in the win.
“What hasn’t been said already (about him),” said defenceman Randy Gazzola. “Everybody knows he’s our MVP and he’s the reason why we’re here. He’s been tremendous for us.”
The Oil Kings can still advance directly to the semi-final depending on the outcome of the Guelph-London game Wednesday night. A Guelph win puts the Oil Kings in the semi against Val-d'Or. A London win and the Oil Kings will face the Knights Thursday in the tie-breaker game.
Round-Robin Game 1 – May 16: Val-d’Or 1, London 0
Round-Robin Game 2 – May 17: Guelph 5, Edmonton 2
Round-Robin Game 3 – May 18: Edmonton 5, London 2
Round-Robin Game 4 – May 19: Guelph 6, Val-d’Or 3
Round-Robin Game 5 – May 20: Val-d’Or 4, Edmonton 3 (2OT)
Round-Robin Game 6 – May 21: London vs. Guelph
Tie-Breaker (if necessary) – May 22
Semi-Final – May 23
Championship – May 25