Winterhawks win again, take 3-1 series lead over Oil Kings

EDMONTON — The Portland Winterhawks are a win away from attaining what has eluded them in the past two WHL championships. Brendan Leipsic had a goal and an assist as the Winterhawks edged the Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the WHL final.

EDMONTON — The Portland Winterhawks are a win away from attaining what has eluded them in the past two WHL championships.

Brendan Leipsic had a goal and an assist as the Winterhawks edged the Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the WHL final.

Troy Rutkowski had the other goal for Portland, which is battling in the Ed Chynoweth Cup for a third straight year. The Winterhawks were previously bested by the Kootenay Ice and the current defending champion Oil Kings.

“I like the group that we have as far as how balanced they are emotionally,” said Portland head coach Travis Green. “They’ve never gotten ahead of themselves and I don’t expect them to get ahead of themselves now. It takes four wins to win any series and we’re playing a very good hockey team … it’s the hardest win to get.

We’re going to get their best game, and we’re going to have to play better than we have so far.“

Mitch Moroz had the lone goal for Edmonton.

Game 5 is Friday in Portland.

Edmonton’s Edgars Kulda had the best chance early, whipping Moroz’s dish from the wing out of midair at 3:20 of the first, but Portland netminder Mac Carruth slid across to block the shot harmlessly away.

“We’re throwing pucks at him, some of them are hitting in the chest and he has good rebound control,” said Edmonton forward Curtis Lazar. “When the rebounds are there, the defence did a good job of boxing out, but it’s up to us as forwards to fight through those checks and get our sticks on the puck.”

With the teams playing four aside, Nicolas Petan set up a wide open Seth Jones halfway through the period, forcing Edmonton goalie Laurent Brossoit to flash across with a sterling right pad save.

Leipsic opened the scoring at 17:13, driving to the net to chop home a loose puck in the low slot past Brossoit.

Rutkwoski doubled the ’Hawks lead at 9:54 of the second period after some crisp passing found Rutkowski in the high slot and he buried the puck to the blocker side.

It took a video review, but Moroz pulled Edmonton within one at 4:45 of the third period, knocking the puck twice out of midair and into the back of the net with his stick just level to the crossbar.

Edmonton head coach Derek Laxdal says his team will be ready for Game 5 with the pressure now on Portland to close out the series.

“Our backs are against the wall and our goal is to get this back to Edmonton,” said Laxdal. “I think the pressure’s been getting to them a bit … but (facing elimination) takes a bit of pressure off us because it’s either win or go home.”

Carruth made 29 saves in net for the Winterhawks, while Brossoit stopped 19 shots.

“It’s like any sport, they’re going to get a bit of momentum,” said Carruth. “But our defence did a real good job afterwards and I can’t thank them enough. Our guys played really well (in front of me) when I couldn’t see the puck, or when I was out of position, or when guys blocked shots. But we have one more win ahead of us.”

Just Posted

Carbon tax, desk-thumping on agenda in upcoming Alberta legislature session

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government heads to the legislature this… Continue reading

Money laundering report a wake-up call for Canada, but some provinces skeptical

VANCOUVER — The authors of a report that found $47 billion was… Continue reading

More women, few minorities: Docs detail results of Liberal patronage overhaul

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s overhaul of the patronage system has led… Continue reading

1,200 runners came out to Woody’s RV Marathon in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Matthew Hope ran in the Woody’s RV World Marathon for… Continue reading

Two men steal 16 year old’s car at gunpoint in Alberta

RCMP are looking for two men who allegedly produced a handgun and… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of 2019

The event is held every Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Five NDP votes in Labrador to determine status of N.L. Liberal government

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The deciding seat in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal… Continue reading

Vancouver Aquarium files civil claim suing city and park board over cetacean ban

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Aquarium is suing the city and park board… Continue reading

Diplomat, peacekeeper: Saskatchewan First Nation awaits Poundmaker exoneration

When Milton Tootoosis thinks about the planned exoneration of Chief Poundmaker, he… Continue reading

Trump’s EPA shifts more environmental enforcement to states

BOKOSHE, Okla. — Susan Holmes’ home, corner store and roadside beef jerky… Continue reading

Ford is cutting 7,000 white-collar jobs

DETROIT — Ford is cutting about 7,000 white-collar jobs, which would make… Continue reading

Speaker stuns Morehouse grads, to pay off $40M student debt

A billionaire technology investor stunned the entire graduating class at Morehouse College… Continue reading

Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the… Continue reading

Most Read