WHL Championship To Go The Distance
Portland, OR – The Western Hockey League Championship Series is going the distance. Edmonton native Oliver Gabriel scored a pair of goals including the late game-winner to give the Winterhawks a 3 – 2 victory in a thrilling Game 6 at the Rose Garden in Portland. The see saw battle had three lead changes in another epic battle between the two powerhouses of the Western Hockey League.
The seventh and deciding game of the series will be in Edmonton Sunday night at Rexall Place starting at 6:00 p.m. with the Ed Chynoweth Cup on the line.
Tickets for Game 7 of the WHL Championship Series presented by Kal Tire and Husky are on sale now at oilkings.ca, or at the door. Those include the ten thousand ATB Financial playoff special $20 tickets for what promises to be an exciting finish to what will go down as one of the best WHL Finals of all time.
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It was all Winterhawks through the first seven minutes of the game. Portland built up a 7 – 2 lead on the shot clock thanks to an early powerplay and had the home town crowd on their side. Then 20-year-old veteran Tyler Maxwell won an offensive face-off for the Oil Kings straight to the stick of Michael St. Croix. Edmonton’s leading scorer in the regular season stickhandled his way through three defenders and roofed a shot high over the glove of Mac Carruth to give Edmonton a 1 – 0 lead.
Portland replied about 5 minutes later scoring on a 3 on 2 rush. Gabriel tapped in a cross-crease pass from Cam Reid to even the game at one goal apiece heading into the first intermission.
The second period featured another barrage of shots from the Winterhawks but Laurent Brossoit was up to the task turning aside all 18 shots he faced in the middle frame. Portland carried a lot of the play through 40 minutes but the Oil Kings didn’t break.
The Hawks relentless pressure finally paid off about midway through the third period. After a change of possession deep in the Portland zone, the Hawks turned the tide for another odd-man rush. Taylor Leier waited for Pittsburgh Penguins first-rounder Joe Morrow to catch up to the play where he deflected a pass between the legs of Brossoit for the go ahead goal with 8:44 to go in regulation.
Edmonton surged back just over two minutes later lead by their playoff leading point getter Curtis Lazar. The rookie powered his way through the slot in Portland’s zone and cleared a lane for Martin Gernat. The Slovakian defenceman slid a perfect pass to Stephane Legault sneaking in for the back door play to tie the game at 2.
Oliver’s game winner was a wrist shot from the top of the circle that found it’s way past Brossoit on the glove side to extend the series one last time and set up the dramatic finish on Mother’s Day back in Edmonton.
Now is the best time to become an Oil Kings Season Seat Holder for 2012-13. Secure your seat for next year with a $100 deposit per seat and receive tickets for the first round of the 2013 WHL Playoffs for FREE. For season tickets, contact the Oil Kings Ticket Office at (780) 414-GOAL (4625).
WHL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCHEDULE (All Times MDT)
Thursday, May 3 – Portland (2) at Edmonton (3)
Friday, May 4 – Portland (5) at Edmonton (1)
Sunday, May 6 – Edmonton (3) at Portland (4)
Tuesday, May 8 – Edmonton (4) at Portland (3) - OT
Thursday, May 10 – Portland (3) at Edmonton (4)
Saturday, May 12 – Edmonton (2) at Portland (3)
Sunday, May 13 – Portland at Edmonton – 6:00 p.m. @ Rexall Place