The Edmonton Oil Kings will live to see another day in the 2013 WHL
Championship series after defeating the Portland Winterhawks 3-2 in
overtime to claim victory in Game 5 of the series on Friday night at the
Rose Garden in Portland, OR.
Michael St. Croix scored his
second goal of the game 7:24 into extra time to lift the Oil Kings to
the victory and send the best-of-seven series back to Edmonton for Game 6
on Sunday. St. Croix finished the game with three points while
linemate Dylan Wruck picked up three assists as Edmonton’s top line
paced the team to the critical win.
“They really stepped up
tonight…they did a great job, they were in on all three goals,” said Oil
Kings’ head coach Derek Laxdal. “It was one heck of an effort by our
guys tonight, but we know we still have a lot of work to do.”
St. Croix’s overtime winner came on a transition play. Wruck dropped a
pass to a trailing St. Croix on the rush into the Hawks’ zone, and the
19-year-old New York Rangers’ prospect put a shot high over Mac
Carruth’s shoulder after his initial pass attempt bounced right back to
him. St. Croix also got the second Oil Kings’ marker, converting
another centering pass from Wruck after Carruth’s attempt to rim the
puck around behind the net misfired.
“I think we were due for a couple goals like that tonight,” said St. Croix. “We gave up the first goal but battled back.
“That was our one goal for tonight, to bring the series back home to Rexall Place,” he said.
Laurent Brossoit saved his best performance of the series for Game 5,
stopping 49 of 51 shots fired his way to claim the victory for Edmonton,
who were outshot 51-30 in the contest.
T.J. Foster scored the
other goal for the Oil Kings, knotting the game up at 1-1 midway through
the first period after Portland’s Joey Baker opened the scoring just 15
seconds into the game. Brendan Leipsic –with his 10th of the post-season – got the Hawks’ other marker in what was a furiously paced contest.
“I thought it was a really good hockey game, I thought we did a lot of
good things tonight,” said Winterhawks’ defenceman Seth Jones, who
assisted on Leipsic’s goal that tied the game at 2-2 14:05 into the
third period. “Edmonton played a good road game, they got a couple
bounces, but it was a great game.”
Mac Carruth stopped 27 of 30 shots he faced in the loss for Portland.
The 2013 WHL Championship series moves back to Edmonton for Game 6 on Sunday.
Portland leads best-of-seven series 3-2
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)