EDMONTON – Tristan Jarry made 26 saves for his third shutout of the playoffs and also picked up an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings won their second straight game at home to even up the Western Hockey League final, coming away with a 2-0 victory over the defending champion Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday.
Mitchell Moroz and Curtis Lazar scored the goals for the Oil Kings, who improved to 10-0 on home ice as they tied the Ed Chynoweth Cup at two heading back to Portland, Ore., for Game 5 on Friday.
The Winterhawks have lost two in a row after allowing only three losses in their previous 45 games, a string of success dating back to Jan. 11.
It was the first time since December 2011 that the Winterhawks, who led the league with 338 goals this season, have been shut out.
The Oil Kings had a much better start to the game than the previous three outings as they avoided allowing a goal against in the first three minutes of the matchup.
Edmonton actually had the bulk of the scoring chances in the first until the Hawks came back late.
The Oil Kings had 14 shots in the scoreless first on Portland goalie Corbin Boes, while the Winterhawks responded with 13 on Jarry, a second-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013.
Edmonton finally broke the scoring deadlock nine minutes into the second period. After sustained pressure on the shift, a Dysin Mayo shot caromed off the boards and rolled off the top of the net to Moroz in front where the Edmonton Oilers draft pick slammed his fifth goal of the playoffs past Boes.
Jarry prevented Portland from tying the game up two minutes later as Oliver Bjorkstrand picked the pocket of Reid Petryk at the Edmonton blue-line, but couldn’t beat the Oil Kings’ goalie on the partial breakaway.
The edge in shots had increased to 28-18 for Edmonton by the end of the second period.
The Oil Kings made it 2-0 six minutes into the third as Brett Pollock threw a hard pass on net on a two-on-one and Lazar was able to tip the puck through Boes’ legs. It hit the post, but then went in off of the Portland goalie’s skates to count as the Ottawa Senators prospect’s eighth goal of the playoffs.
Edmonton kept driving and it was only the heroics of Boes that kept the game close midway through the third as he stopped breakaways by Petryk and Lazar in a span of just over a minute midway through the third.
The Oil Kings thought they put the game away for good with an empty-net goal by Pollock, however the play was ruled off-side.
Notes: The Winterhawks managed to score in the first three minutes of each of the first three games of the series, holding an edge of 7-0 in first-period goals in the series coming into Wednesday’s game. … It’s the third consecutive season that the Oil Kings and Winterhawks are meeting in the WHL final. Edmonton defeated Portland in seven games to win in 2012, while Portland won in six games last year. It is Portland’s fourth consecutive trip to the league championships. … The Winterhawks power play was just 1 for 13 through the first three games of the series. … Portland has 10 players on its roster who have been drafted by NHL teams, while the Oil Kings have five.