Edmonton beats Portland for 3-2 series lead in WHL championship
Oil Kings end Winterhawks' 25-game home winning streak
For more than four months, the Portland Winterhawks were invincible on home ice.
The Edmonton Oil Kings ended the Winterhawks' 25-game home winning streak Friday and closed to within one game of winning their second Western Hockey League championship in three years.
Griffin Reinhart and Henrik Samuelsson scored second-period goals as the Oil Kings defeated Portland 3-2 in Game 5 of the WHL finals to take a 3-2 series lead.
"Gutsy effort by our guys coming into this building and grinding out a solid road game," said Edmonton coach Derek Laxdal. "I thought our guys were really composed in a huge game."
Edgars Kulda scored a first-period power-play goal for Edmonton, and goaltender Tristan Jarry made 37 saves and stood tall during a late Portland charge.
"The mindset coming into the series was that we'd have to win one on the road," said Reinhart. "We've been comfortable in close games all year."
Paul Bittner and Mathew Dumba scored for Portland, which hadn't lost at home since Jan. 4. Corbin Boes stopped 27 shots in defeat.
"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight," said Winterhawks head coach Mike Johnston. "If we repeat that game we'll be OK in Game 6."
Bittner broke a scoreless streak of nearly 132 minutes for the Winterhawks with his fourth goal of the series with 4:32 left in the first period to put Portland up 1-0.
Kulda responded with 1:33 left in the first on the Oil Kings' fourth power play of the period.
The Oil Kings took their first road lead of the series on Reinhart's goal 2:11 into the second period, then made it 3-1 on Samuelsson's fourth goal of the series at 7:39.
That score held until Dumba scored with 1:45 left in regulation to pull Portland within one, but the Winterhawks could not find an equalizer down the stretch.
"(Edmonton) is good when they have the lead," Johnston said. "They really trapped it up in the third period, but we had seven or eight chances where we shot it over the net, we cut it too fine."
Edmonton finished 1 for 5 on the power play, while Portland went scoreless on four chances. The Winterhawks, who had the top power play in the WHL in the regular season, are stuck in an 0-for-15 slump with the man advantage since Game 1.
"We're not getting the bounces we want, but if we keep playing the same way we can win 3-2 next time," Bittner said.
Edmonton, which beat the Winterhawks in seven games in the 2012 WHL finals, has won three straight games after dropping the first two of the series in Portland. The Winterhawks won last year's championship in six games over Edmonton.
The Oil Kings can wrap up the series with a win in Sunday's Game 6. If Portland wins, the Winterhawks will host Game 7 Monday.
"We've been good at home," said Reinhart. "We're going to put distractions aside and play our best game."