Jeff Smith scored at 13:16 of overtime and the Red Deer Rebels defeated the Val-d'Or Foreurs 6-5 Sunday to win the 2001 Memorial Cup.
The Rebels captured the WHL's first Canadian Hockey League title since Portland won it in 1998. The WHL has won 14 Memorial Cups, which is the most among the three major junior hockey leagues.
Red Deer was ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Hockey League for the last 11 weeks of the regular season and put an exclamation mark on their status Sunday.
The overtime winner was initially awarded to Doug Lynch, but officials later gave the goal to Smith.
The QMJHL champion Foreurs had beaten the host Regina Pats in the semifinal less than 20 hours before Sunday's noon start local time while the Rebels, a stronger and more physical team, had two days rest.
Red Deer was a deeper and more balanced than Val-d'Or, which relied heavily on offence and goaltending.
Val-d'Or let Red Deer keep pace with its offence by giving the Rebels seven power plays and Red Deer scored on four of them.
Kyle Wanvig scored twice for Red Deer and the third-round selection of the Boston Bruins was named MVP of the tournament. Derek Meech, Ross Lupaschuk and Joel Stepp also scored for the Rebels.
Lupaschuk, a second-round pick of the Washington Capitals, had a goal and two assists.
Jerome Bergeron scored twice for Val-d'Or with Simon Gamache, Brandon Reid and Stephane Veilleux scoring singles.
Red Deer goaltender Shane Bendera turned away 33 of 38 shots. Val-d'Or rookie goaltender Maxime Daigneault was named goaltender of the tournament and stopped 30 of 36 shots.
Wanvig tied the game 5-5 on a power play 31 seconds into the third period after Stepp pulled the Rebels within one on a two-man advantage with .7 seconds left in the second period.
Veilleux gave the Foreurs a 5-3 lead with a short-handed goal at 19:26 of the second.
Bergeron scored two unanswered goals starting with a power-play marker at 14:58 to give the Foreurs a 4-3 lead. Lupaschuk beat Daigneault cleanly from the blue-line on a power-play at 8:05 for a 3-2 lead.
The Foreurs got off to their traditional slow start, spotting Red Deer a two-goal lead after one period with goals from Meech and Wanvig.
Foreurs coach Claude Bouchard began juggling his lines and reunited Reid and Gamache on the same line at the start of the second period. Gamache sparked the Foreurs with a goal 45 seconds into the second period and Reid evened it 2-2 at 4:28.
In their round-robin meeting a week earlier, Red Deer had edged Val-d'Or 5-4 in overtime.
By Donna Spencer