2001 REGINA, SASK - The Red Deer Rebels won their first Memorial Cup championship when they defeated the Val-d'Or Foreurs 6-5 in a thrilling come-from-behind victory in overtime.
Doug Lynch (pictured above with cup) scored the biggest goal in the Rebels' then nine-year history, when he fired the puck through a maze of legs and sticks for the game-winning marker at 13:16 in the extra frame.
Jeff Smith, who scored the winner against Val d'Or in the round robin earlier in the week was originally suspected as the goal scorer and said it was mayhem following the goal. "As soon as it went across the goal-line I just charged right at Doug. I couldn't believe it... the whole year just passed right in front of me."
The Western Hockey League champs took advantage of seven power plays, scoring four times with the man-advantage to overcome a two-goal deficit and deny the QMJHL its fourth championship in six years.
NAMES INSCRIBED ON THE MEMORIAL CUP
Red Deer Rebels - 9-Colby Armstrong, 31-Shane Bendera, 12-Andrew Bergen, 29-Martin Erat, 18-Devin Francon, 19-Boyd Gordon, 3-Shane Grypiuk, 23-Diarmuid Kelly, 8-Ross Lupaschuk, 24-Doug Lynch, 16-Justin Mapletoft, 2-Derek Meech, 1-Cam Ondrik, 5-Darcy Robinson, 27-Joel Rupprecht, 11-Jeff Smith, 25-Shay Stephenson, 10-Joel Stepp, 4-Bryce Thoma, 20-Jim Vandermeer, 26-Kyle Wanvig, 6-Jeff Woywitka, Dave "Radar Horning (trainer), Les Scott (Trainer), Andy Nowicki (Goaltending consultant), Carter Sears (Head Scout), Brent Sutter (general manager and coach)
The Rebels got outstanding efforts from defenceman Ross Lupaschuk and winger Kyle Wanvig, whose overtime winner in the WHL League Final at Portland lifted the Rebels into the Championship tournament. The players combined for three goals and six points in the Memorial Cup Tourney. Lupaschuk, who signed with the NHL's Washington Capitals earlier that season, had four points in what would be his junior hockey swan-song.
"I think that's about as good as she gets," said Lupaschuk, who still has one year of junior eligibility left. "I don't think I've ever had four points in a game before, never mind a Memorial Cup game, so it's just unbelievable. It's been a learning process ever since I got to Red Deer and this is the end result."
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Wanvig had his best game of the tournament, scoring his first two goals and was a big physical presence in front of the Foreurs goal. Wanvig, the Boston Bruins third-round pick in 1999, was named the Stafford Smythe trophy winner as the tournament's most valuable player. The Calgary native capped a career season with two goals and six points in four games at the Cup.
"It's nice (the award)... I got a thousand bucks and I'll be spending it on the boys tonight," said Wanvig, who led the Rebels with 55 goals and 24 power play goals during the regular season. "I'll look back on that in a couple weeks when I'm sitting at home thinking about evaluating my season, but right now it's all about the Cup and we're going to go drink out of it and have a great time."
Wanvig's second power-play goal of the game 31 seconds into the third, brought the Rebels back from a two-goal deficit and forced overtime. The feisty winger won the faceoff in the Foreurs' zone, shoved the puck back to the point and then muscled home the rebound off Lupaschuk's shot.
The goal was the second by the Rebels in a 32-second span, as Joel Stepp tipped in Lupaschuk's point shot with 0.7 seconds left in the second, with two Foreurs' defenders in the box.
"I think we should have won 5-3 probably," said Brandon Reid, who ended a two-game scoreless slump with a goal and an assist. "They had six power plays, we had two. The penalties we got weren't that bad compared to some of the stuff they did and they didn't get called. I would have loved to have six power plays tonight, but you have to give credit to the Red Deer Rebels - they're a great team."
The Foreurs had overcome a 2-0 deficit after 20 minutes, with five second-period scores, including three goals in a four-and-a-half-minute span. Jerome Bergeron scored two spectacular goals 2:34 apart and Stephane Veilleux added a short-handed marker with 35 seconds left.
Rebels goaltender Shane Bendera looked suspect on Veilleux's goal, as the Edmonton native has followed up his MVP-performance in the WHL playoffs, with an unspectacular tournament. In four games Bendera allowed 15 goals on 115 shots and had the worst save percentage (.857) of any goalie at the Cup. Bendera was pulled after allowing five goals against Regina on Thursday, but rebounded to stop 33 of 38 Foreurs' shots and made a key save on Reid in overtime.
Maxime Daigneault was again strong in nets for Val-d'Or, making 29 saves and winning the Hap Emms trophy as the tournament's outstanding goaltender. The 17-year-old rookie made almost twice as many saves as any other netminder and had a 43-save effort in a 5-4 overtime loss to Red Deer in the round-robin. He posted a 3.22 goals against average and a .891 save percentage in five games.
"It was a difficult game for the goalies, because every time they scored it was on quality chances," said Daigneault, who last May led his Midget AAA Magog Cantonniers to victory at the Air Canada Cup. "Right now I'm very disappointed. I've always won and that's the first time I've lost like that."
The Rebels led the CHL with a franchise-best 54-12-3-3 regular season and held the No. 1 ranking for most of the year. Red Deer advanced to the Memorial Cup by beating Lethbridge, Calgary, Swift Current and Portland in the WHL playoffs.
Rebels head coach Brent Sutter, who won two Stanley Cups and three Canada Cups in the 1980s, added the Memorial Cup to his impressive resume.
"They all mean a lot," said Sutter, who won Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders in 1982 and '83. "The biggest thing is that they've been team accomplishments and they've been something that as a group everyone has done together and those are things that you never ever forget."
The championship came just two years after the 38-year-old purchased the franchise and shook up the team by adding veteran players like Wanvig (below left), Lupaschuk and Martin Erat.
Foreurs' sniper Simon Gamache, who was the CHL's leading scorer in the regular season with 74 goals and 184 points, won the Ed Chynoweth trophy as the leading scorer with seven points.
"It's not very important right now, because I would have prefered to win the Memorial Cup," said the talented centre, who broke Mario Lemieux's scoring record with 57 points in 21 QMJHL playoff games. "Maybe the luck was with the other team and the ref wasn't really good tonight. It's not an excuse, but he didn't help our cause. Tonight we didn't have the same emotion at the beginning of the third period, that we did in the second."
Gamache actually finished in a four-way tie with teammate Chris Lyness, Lupaschuk and Pats' forward Brett Lysak, but won the award because he scored more goals (4). The seven points is the lowest by a leading scorer since 1977.
Making the Memorial Cup All-Star team were: Daigneault (pictured at right), Gamache, Lupaschuk, Lyness, Wanvig and Pats' players Brett Lysak and Paul Elliott.
NOTES: Eight of the Foreurs 25 goals in the tournament were scored in either the first or last minute of a period and five were scored in the final minute of periods... The Rebels scored the first goal in all four games they played, going 3-1... The Foreurs never scored the first goal in any of their five games... Lyness led all players with a plus-10 in the tournament. The top six best plus/minus stats belonged to Val-d'Or players.
REGINA (CP) -- Memorial Cup final Sunday afternoon:
1. Red Deer, Meech (Francon, Lupaschuk) 10:38
2. Red Deer, Wanvig (Vandermeer, Erat) 17:16 (pp)
Penalties -- Cloutier Val (interference) 3:04, Robinson RD (kneeing) 11:43, Rouleau Val (slashing) 16:24.
3. Val-d'Or, Gamache (Veilleux, Reid) 0:45
4. Val-d'Or, Reid, 4:28
5. Red Deer, Lupaschuk (Erat) 8:05 (pp)
6. Val-d'Or, Bergeron (Rouleau) 14:58 (pp)
7. Val-d'Or, Bergeron (Turcotte) 17:32
8. Val-d'Or, Veilleux (Fortier) 19:26 (sh)
9. Red Deer, Stepp (Lupaschuk, Vandermeer) 19:59 (pp)
Penalties -- Cloutier Val, Armstrong RD (roughing) 4:49, Lyness Val (roughing) 6:27, Gamache Val (unsportsmanlike conduct), Vandermeer RD (roughing) 11:28, Robinson RD (roughing) 13:18, Cloutier Val (hooking) 18:55, Girard Val (boarding) 19:47.
10. Red Deer, Wanvig (Lupaschuk) 0:31 (pp)
Penalties -- Lyness Val (interference) 3:47, Lynch RD, Bergeron Val (unsportsmanlike conduct) 8:35.
11. Red Deer, Lynch (Smith, Bergen) 13:16
Penalties -- Rouleau Val, Armstrong Red (roughing) 6:30.
Shots on goal by
Goal -- Val-d'Or: Daigneault (L,3-2-0); Red Deer: Bendera (W,3-1-0).
Power plays (goals-chances) -- Val-d'Or: 1-2; Red Deer: 4-7.
Referees -- Kevin Acheson Linesmen -- Jeff Edgley, Jeff Bradley.
Attendance -- 6,995.