PORTLAND, Ore. - Henrik Samuelsson scored twice and Laurent Brossoit made 35 saves as the defending champion Edmonton Oil Kings opened the WHL final with a 4-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks on Friday.
Edmonton defeated Portland in seven games last season, and the Oil Kings lead 1-0 in the rematch to determine the WHL's representative in the Memorial Cup tournament later this month in Saskatoon.
Taylor Leier scored the only goal for the Winterhawks, who outshot Edmonton 36-29 but had trouble solving Brossoit, who leads the WHL with a 1.54 goals-against average in the playoffs.
The Winterhawks dominated the first period, but the Oil Kings scored the only goal on their first shot of a game. Dylan Wruck picked up a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it over Portland goalie Mac Carruth for a 1-0 lead at the 2:03 mark.
Edmonton pushed the lead to 2-0 at 11:17 of the second period when Stephane Legault forced a Portland turnover and found Samuelsson, who beat Carruth with a wrist shot to the glove side.
Leier gave Portland life with a rebound goal three minutes into the third to make it 2-1, but Samuelsson answered with his second of the game 47 seconds later to rebuild the two-goal advantage for Edmonton.
Lazar took advantage of a strange carom off the end boards, batting a bouncing puck past Carruth to get an insurance goal midway through the third.