May 4, 2001
Rebels 3 Winter Hawks 2
Having lost the first game of each of their previous 2001 playoff series, the Red Deer Rebels were determined to start the best-of-seven WHL championship on a positive note.
Their hopes were put on temporary hold when Josh Olson scored 9:17 into the first game to give the Portland Winter Hawks a 1-0 lead before 6,498 fans at the Centrium.
The Rebels, however, responded just under three minutes later when Justin Mapletoft notched his 13th post-season marker, and the home side scored a pair of unanswered second-period goals en route to a 3-2 victory.
Defenceman Darcy Robinson scored his first of the playoffs 15:35 into the middle frame and Joel Stepp sniped the eventual winner, with assists from Boyd Gordon and Jeff Woywitka, a mere 17 seconds later.
Josef Balej, on the power play, connected for Portland two minutes into the second period, but the visitors failed to direct another puck past Rebels netminder Shane Bendera, who finished with 26 saves.
Lanny Ramage stopped 14 shots in the Portland net.
Rebels 5 Winter Hawks 4
After a scoreless first period of Game 2, the Rebels erupted for four unanswered second-period goals and appeared to be en route to a convincing victory.
Kyle Wanvig, on the power play, opened the scoring at 12:56 of the middle stanza and six minutes later the Rebels had a 4-0 lead, thanks to additional markers from Colby Armstrong (short-handed), Stepp and Martin Erat.
Olson scored a man-advantage marker for Portland early in the third period, but Andrew Bergen restored Red Deer’s four-goal cushion with the eventual game-winner at 7:02.
The visitors, though, refused to throw in the towel and battled back with power-play goals from Dean Beuker and Dan Hulak and an even-strength tally from Balej, the latter coming with 1:15 remaining.
Bendera made 19 saves in the narrow 5-4 victory.
Ramage was yanked from the Winter Hawks net after surrendering four goals on 32 shots. Jomar Cruz stopped four of five shots in relief.
Attendance was 6,661.
Winter Hawks 3 Rebels 2
With Game 3 back at Portland’s Rose Garden (now the Moda Center) and the Winter Hawks down 2-0 in the series, the hosts were in dire need of a win.
The first period failed to produce a goal but the vast majority of the 7,031 fans (a small contingent of Rebels supporters were in the building) voiced their pleasure when the Winter Hawks got second-period power-play goals from Jesse Ferguson and Marcel Hossa just under four minutes apart.
But the Rebels replied with a pair of their own in the third period as Ross Lupaschuk tallied at 2:50 and Bryce Thoma added a power-play goal just past the midway point.
The teams then headed to overtime and Olson found the back of the Rebels net 6:33 into the extra frame to get Portland back in the series with a 3-2 triumph.
Ramage was Portland’s best player with a 32-save performance. Bendera made 21 saves at the other end.