The Edmonton Oil Kings jumped out to a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 win over the Portland Winterhawks on Thursday night at Rexall Place, in the opening game of the WHL Championship Series.
The Oil Kings got goals from Rhett Rachinski, Martin Gernat and Jordan Peddle in the victory, and Laurent Brossoit had to be sharp late in the game after Marcel Noebels and Sven Bartschi made it a close one.
Rachinski opened the scoring just 1:25 into the game when he redirected a Mark Pysyk point shot for his fourth of the playoffs. Gernat drove hard to the net early in the second period and banged home a loose puck for his sixth of the postseason, which is tops among defenceman. Peddle made it 3-0 at the 14:30 mark of the second when he ripped a slap shot over the glove hand of Mac Carruth, but the Winterhawks responded immediately to make things interesting. Noebels scored just 12 seconds later and Bartschi got Portland to within one goal at 16:39, but that is as close as they would get.
Laurent Brossoit made 24 saves on the night for the Oil Kings, while Carruth gave up three goals on 29 shots at the other end.
The Oil Kings and Winterhawks meet for game two of the best-of-seven series on Friday night at Rexall Place. (jk)
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