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Portland will face Edmonton in WHL Championship Series - Junior Hockey News
Published: Tuesday, 1 May 2012
By: Spencer Walsh
The Western Conference Champion Portland Winterhawks will take on the Eastern Conference Champion Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Championship Series. Edmonton will host Games 1 and 2 on Thursday May 3rd and Friday May 4th. The puck will drop at 7:00 MDT for both games.
Portland swept aside the Tri-City Americans in the Western Conference Final Series. The Hawks won both Games 1 and 2 in OT in Kennewick. Portland then won Games 3 and 4 at the Rose Garden to earn their spot in the WHL Championship Series. The Winterhawks won all four games against the Kelowna Rockets in the first round. Portland defeated Kamloops in a hard-fought seven-game second-round series.
Edmonton, meanwhile, has made quick work of their playoff combatants so far, losing only a single game. The Oil Kings swept away the Kootenay Ice in the first round. The Brandon Wheat Kings suffered the same fate in the second round. The Moose Jaw Warriors managed to win Game 4 on their home ice to force a Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Final. However, Edmonton closed the series with a 4-1 victory to earn their berth in the WHL Championship against Portland.
Laurent Brossoit has excelled in goal for Edmonton, boasting a microscopic 1.62 GAA and a robust .945 save%. The Portland Winterhawks will counter with Mac Carruth, who has held his own in goal. Carruth has posted a 2.86 GAA and a solid .920 save% for the Hawks. The Oil Kings have allowed 29 to 30 shots against per game in the playoffs. In comparison, Portland has allowed their opponents to fire about 35 shots per game on goal. Will this trend continue? We shall see.
If Portland has any chance of defeating Edmonton, they will probably need to score more than two goals per game to be victorious. Figures to be a great matchup. Portland's offense is led by Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi. Rattie has posted 17 goals and 29 points in 15 games. Bartschi has dished out 18 assists and 25 points. The Oil Kings' top scorer is Curtis Lazar with 8 goals and 16 points in 13 games.
Portland's high powered offensive attack will face the Oil Kings' solid defense and the outstanding goaltending of Laurent Brossoit. I will predict that this series will go to at least a sixth game. Once again, not going to even try to predict a winner. Too close to call in my opinion. Thats why they play the game.
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