Winterhawks one win from WHL title



EDMONTON, Alberta — 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.