SASKATOON, Saskatchewan — Ty Rattie has scored countless big goals for the Portland Winterhawks.
Mac Carruth has made plenty of huge saves.
But perhaps neither Rattie or Carruth has come up bigger than each did on Friday during the semifinals of the Memorial Cup tournament.
Rattie scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Carruth kept the London Knights from equalizing late as the Winterhawks won 2-1 to advance to Sunday’s championship game against the Halifax Mooseheads, champion of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
That game, featuring the two teams ranked atop the Canadian Hockey League for most of the season, starts at 4 p.m. Pacific time. It will be live on Comcast Sports Net and the NHL Network.
Tyler Wotherspoon also scored for Portland on Friday, and Nic Petan had two assists.
“I thought London played extremely well,” Portland coach Travis Green said. “Very impressive team that we beat tonight.
The Winterhawks were struggling to find a groove through the first half of the semifinal. But after London — the Ontario Hockey League champion — scored the game’s first goal midway through the second period, Western Hockey League champion Portland quickly responded.
Max Domi put London ahead with a power-play goal 12:43 into the second period. It came on the only man advantage for the Knights in the game.
The Winterhawks tied it two minutes later as Tyler Wotherspoon’s shot through traffic beat goalie Jake Patterson.
“After they scored, I thought our guys got a little hungrier and started to work a little harder,” Green said.
Rattie’s tournament-leading fifth goal put Portland up 2-1 with 11:28 left in the third period. His shot from the high slot beat Patterson, with assists going to Derrick Pouliot and Petan.
“Rattie made a helluva shot, and that turned out to be the difference,” London coach Dale Hunter said.
Carruth made 34 saves — 12 in the third period and several in the final 90 seconds after London pulled its goalie.
“Their goalie played well and made the big saves at the end of the game,” Hunter said.
“It was definitely tense, but our group, they handle pressure pretty well,” Green said of the frantic final minutes.
London came out flying and had an early 7-1 shots advantage. The Knights outshot the Winterhawks 14-9 in the first period, but couldn’t find a way to beat Carruth.
“That was a full team effort,” Rattie said. “Huge character win and now we’ve got one more game.”
Portland got its only power play early in the third period, but the Knights had the best scoring chance on a three-on-two breakout.
“Usually in big games … it’s tough to find scoring chances,” Green said. “It’s not going to be pretty. You’re going to have to find a way to win a hockey game that maybe you haven’t had to do in the past.”