The Portland Winterhawks are the Western Hockey League champions.
The Winterhawks defeated the Edmonton Oil Kings 5-1 Sunday in Game 6 of the WHL Final at Rexall Place in Edmonton to claim the third WHL title in franchise history.
Ty Rattie earned MVP honors by capping the playoffs with a hat trick, breaking the WHL record for career playoff goals in the process.
The 2012-13 Winterhawks join the 1981-82 and 1997-98 squads as league champions, and have punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup, set for May 17-26 in Saskatoon. There they’ll take on the champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Halifax Mooseheads, the host Saskatoon Blades, and either the Barrie Colts or London Knights, who will play Game 7 of the Ontario Hockey League championship series tomorrow.
Edmonton opened the scoring on a goal by Travis Ewanyk 1:04 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. The Hawks got that one back at the 4:28 mark when Ty Rattie scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game at 1-1. It was a record-breaking goal for Rattie, as it was his 48th career playoff marker, passing Mark Pederson as the WHL’s all-time leading playoff scorer.
Rattie quickly made it 49 career postseason goals when on the same four-minute penalty kill, he drew Edmonton netminder Laurent Brossoit to one side of the net, then went around and tucked it in on the other side to make it 2-1 at the 7:15 mark, which remained the score going into the second.
Portland extended the lead 3:54 into the second when Oliver Bjorkstrand fired a shot from the right faceoff circle that got past Brossoit to make it 3-1. The Hawks added another when Rattie completed the hat trick and scored his 50th career playoff goal at the 13:25 mark as Portland took a 4-1 lead into the third period.
It remained 4-1 until Taylor Leier capped the scoring with an empty net to give the Hawks the 5-1 win and the title.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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