Winterhawks 5, Americans 4 (OT): Marcel Noebels scored the game winner at 7:52 to give Portland a 5-4 victor in the opening game of the Western Conference finals.
Game 2 is Saturday at Toyota Center.
Americans 4, Winterhawks 4, end of regulation: We're going overtime and we're not even playing Spokane.
Tri-City's Patrick Holland tied the score at 3-3 at 9:07, only to see Portland's Joe Morrow put Portland back on top 4-3 with a power-play goal at 10:56. Ams D-man Mitch Topping, who had four goals during the regular season, scored his fourth of the playoffs at 15:09 to tie the score and eventually send the game to OT.
Tri-City has a 40-30 shot advantage.
Winterhawks 3, Americans 2, end of second: Brendan Shinnimin ran his scoring streak to 35 games, scoring at 6:26 on the power play to even the score at 1-1.
Portland came back with goals by Sven Bartschi and Cam Reid to take a 3-1 lead at 15:47, but the Americans would cut the deficit to 3-2 with a power-play goal by Patrick Holland at 18:39.
Shots are even at 23-23.
It a final in Edmonton: Oil Kings 6, Warriors 1. Edmonton has won 20 games in a row.
Winterhawks 1, Americans 0, end of first: Ty Rimmer made several brilliant saves in the first, including a stop on a Sven Bartschi breakaway, but the rebound got away from Rimmer after the shot and Brendan Leipsic was there to clean up for his fourth goal of the playoffs at 19:40.
Americans have a 16-10 shot advantage.
In the Eastern Conference finals, Edmonton has a 5-1 lead over Moose Jaw after 2.
Pregame: The was a press conference earlier today, announcing the playoff series (really?) and that Tri-City forward Brendan Shinnimin was the Western Conference Player of the Year (who didn’t see that coming?).
It would have been nice to have the press conference Thursday, but with just one game between series for Tri-City and Portland there was no time.
The last time Tri-City and Portland met in the playoffs was 2004. The Americans won the first-round series 4-1.
This season, Tri-City won the 10-game series 6-4, but the Winterhawks won four of the last five games. The Americans beat Portland 4-3 on March 4 and went on to win the U.S. Division.
Tonight’s starters: For Tri-City, Try Rimmer is in goal. He needs a win tonight to match Carey Price with 9 playoff wins. On the blue line are Sam Grist and ZachYuen, while Mason Wilgosh, Jordan Messier and Justin Feser are the forwards.
For Portland, Mac Carruth, who has taken a beating on facebook postings and blogs for his play against Kamloops, is in net. Let’s give the kid a break. He just turned 20 a month ago, and he’s playing in a very pressure filled position. On defense are Troy Rutkowski and Derrick Pouliot, while Ty Rattie, Marcel Noebels and Sven Bartschi are the forwards.
No need to to cruel: I never looked at the WHL facebook posting until this week, and I doubt I will again. The comments made about players is simply uncalled for. A player is named Western Conference Player of the Year, an honor that is voted on by coaches, GMs and the media (yes, I had a ballot), and people resort to calling him names and saying he will have no future beyond the WHL. Had voters not felt Brendan Shinnimin was worthy, they would have cast their votes for someone else.
Carruth has been thrown under the bus — by the Portland fans, and not just one or two, but dozens. Did anyone stop to think that the defense was not what it should have been in front of him. It’s never just the goalie’s fault.
If someone posted comments like the ones I saw about your teenage sons, I’m sure there would be hell to pay.
Eastern Conference finals: Edmonton and Moose Jaw open their series tonight. The Oil Kings are on a 19-game win streak dating back to the the regular season. Starting the second period, Edmonton is leading 1-0.
Puck drops here in 15.