WHL Championship Series Preview


WHL Championship Series Preview

(1) Portland Winterhawks vs. (1) Edmonton Oil Kings
Oil Kings won season series 1-0

The top two teams in the regular season will meet in a rematch of last year’s final, which was won by the Oil Kings in 7 games.

Edmonton won the only meeting with Portland in 2012/13, a 4-3 win in Oregon on February 27th. Michael St. Croix scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute remaining in the game to complete a comeback victory after the Winterhawks took a 3-1 lead.

Both teams regularly outshoot their opponents and both have excellent records when leading after the first period (Portland 11-2, Edmonton 9-1). However, neither team has yet to win a 1-goal game in the playoffs.

Edmonton had the top-ranked power play in the WHL during the regular season (87.5), while Portland was #2 overall (23.4). As for the penalty kill, the Winterhawks were #1 in the league (87.9) and the Oil Kings were #2 (87.5).

Players To Watch

Ty Rattie – Right Wing, Portland (15GP – 15G, 16A)
NHL Draft: St. Louis Blues, 2nd Rd, 2011

Rattie moved into 3rd place all-time in WHL career playoff scoring during the last round by recording his 90th point. He is 13 away from Dale Derkatch’s record, established in 1985. He is also two away from Mark Pederson’s goal scoring mark of 47. Rattie leads all CHL players in goals and points during the post-season.

Nicolas Petan – Centre, Portland (15GP – 9G, 13A)
NHL Draft: Eligible in 2013

Petan has scored at least one point in all but two playoffs gamesand he is currently on a 9-game point streak. He is tied for the WHL lead in power play goals (5).

Seth Jones – Defenceman, Portland (15GP – 5G, 8A)
NHL Draft: Eligible in 2013

The potential 1st overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft sits third in defenceman scoring behind only his teammate Derrick Pouliot and Martin Gernat of the Oil Kings. After a slow start in the playoffs, he’s scored 3 goals & 4 assists in his last 6 games, including two ‘first goals’.

Brendan Leipsic – Centre, Portland (15GP – 7G, 13A)
NHL Draft: Nashville Predators, 3rd Rd, 2012

Leipsic was the WHL’s leading goal and point scorer during the regular season and is one of six Winterhawks players with at least 15 points in the playoffs. The Predators prospect has 4 power play goals in the post-season.

Oliver Bjorkstrand – Right Wing, Portland (15GP – 5G, 10A)
NHL Draft: Eligible in 2013

Bjorkstrand leads all WHL rookies in playoff scoring. The first-year forward is averaging a point per game and has a plus/minus rating of +9.

Mac Carruth – Goaltender, Portland (12-3, 1.62 GAA, .935 SV%)
NHL Draft: Chicago Blackhawks, 7th Rd, 2010

Carruth is 2nd in WHL goals against average and save percentage, behind only Edmonton’s Brossoit in both categories. He’s been getting better throughout the playoffs, recording 4 shutouts in his last 8 games.

Michael St. Croix – Centre, Edmonton (16GP – 10G, 12A)
NHL Draft: New York Rangers, 4th Rd, 2011

St. Croix has 10 goals & 12 assists through three rounds of the playoffs, but his two biggest goals came in Edmonton’s 2-0 win over Calgary in game 7. He scored 1 goal and 1 assist against the Winterhawks earlier this season.

Henrik Samuelsson – Left Wing, Edmonton (16GP – 6G, 13A)
NHL Draft: Phoenix Coyotes, 1st Rd, 2012

Samuelsson is 2nd on the Oil Kings in goals, including 4 game-winners & 3 power play markers. He leads the WHL in penalty minutes during the post-season (39).

Stephane Legault – Left Wing, Edmonton (16GP – 6G, 13A)
NHL Free Agent

Legault’s offensive contribution has increased from 0.72 PPG in the regular season to 1.19 PPG in the playoffs. He is Edmonton’s 2nd-leading scorer and sits 2nd in the league in plus/minus (+17).

Trevor Cheek – Left Wing, Edmonton (15GP – 8G, 8A)
NHL Free Agent

Cheek recorded 3 goals & 1 assist in 3 games against Portland this season while playing for Vancouver and Edmonton. He’s had a 7-game point streak in the playoffs and a stretch where he scored a goal in 5 straight games.

Laurent Brossoit -Goaltender, Edmonton (12-4, 1.58 GAA, .941 SV%)
NHL Draft: Calgary Flames, 6th Rd, 2011

Brossoit leads all WHL goaltenders in goals against average, save percentage & shutouts (5) heading into the final. He is 2-0 in ‘Game 7’s’ the past two seasons with a 0.50 GAA.
Should he struggle during the series, the Oil Kings have a capable backup in Tristan Jarry, who led the league in GAA (1.61) during the regular season.