Maxime Frenette scored at 8:56 of overtime on Saturday to give the Drummondville Voltigeurs a 3-2 overtime win over the Windsor Spitfires in Memorial Cup action.
Frenette picked up a rebound of Patrik Prokop's point shot and flipped a backhand from the right side over Spitfires goalie Andrew Engelage for the win at The Colisee in Rimouski, Que.
He was an unlikely hero for a powerhouse team, having played only five playoff games after a season where he missed considerable time with a virus.
"Since my virus, I had trouble coming back, so in the playoffs, I was the 13th forward and I wasn't playing much, but after [Chris] DiDomenico got injured, I got back on the ice and it was great."
The Voltigeurs trailed 2-1 in the third period but rallied on Philippe Lefebvre's tying goal and controlled play in overtime.
Drummondville (1-0) returns to action Monday night in a contest against Western Hockey League champion Kelowna (1-0).
The Quebec champs won 16 of 19 playoff games to advance to the Memorial Cup.
Windsor will also be back at it on Sunday afternoon, taking on host Rimouski (0-1).
"Maybe it was butterflies or nerves," said Spitfires coach Bob Boughner. "We turned the puck over too many times and didn't get it in deep.
"And we had some guys we need a lot more from. It's disappointing. Some of our guys had below average games."
Saturday's game matched the two highest-ranked teams left in Canada, and the action reflected the team's standing.
Drummondville goalie Marco Cousineau finished with 33 saves, three more than Windsor counterpart Engelage.
Cousineau was only beaten by Adam Henrique, who scored both Windsor goals.
The game was scoreless for nearly two periods.
Engelage made one of his best saves midway through the second on Yannick Riendeau, who has scored 29 goals for Drummondville in the playoffs. Riendeau skated in alone but couldn't lift the puck over the Windsor goalie.
There was end-to-end action with just under seven minutes left in the middle period. Eric Wellwood burst through for Windsor and unleashed a backhander that went off Cousineau's mask and dropped near the goal line.
Seconds later, Engelage demonstrated great lateral moment to get across the crease to foil Gabriel Dumont's one-timer.
Scott Timmins had a short-handed breakaway attempt for the Spitfires, but Cousineau squeezed his pads to keep the puck from trickling through.
Windsor beat the buzzer at the end of the second with a power-play goal. Henrique punched in a rebound of a Timmins shot with less than one second remaining in the period.
Dumont tied it just as a power-play opportunity expired eight minutes into the third. The Voltigeurs worked the puck around the perimeter to Marc-Olivier Vachon, who passed it through the slot to Dumont.
Windsor forward Taylor Hall showed why he's an early candidate to be drafted very early in the 2010 NHL draft, using his strength to ward off Drummondville defenceman Rob Kwiet and get a one-handed shot on Cousineau.
Hall drew a penalty on the play, which helped the Spitfires establish momentum. They scored less than a minute after the man-advantage was over when Mark Cundari's wrister from the point went off Henrique and past Cousineau at the 11:48 mark.
Drummondville replied just over two minutes later later on a goal that tricked Engelage. Lefebvre made a good play to burst into the Windsor end, releasing a harmless-looking shot that snuck between the goalie's left pad and arm.
The Spitfires had a furious rally with about two minutes left in the third but could not get a clear shot on net.
Windsor defenceman Ryan Ellis said the team will need to be better as the tournament progresses. A winner will be crowned on May 24.
"They definitely outplayed us," said Ellis. "We didn't deserve to win that game. It would have been nice to squeeze by them, but the better team won."