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Portland falls in Game 7 of WHL Championship series

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

Mac Carruth backstopped the Portland Winterhawks to Game 7 of the WHL Championship series, but the team fell 4-1 at the last hurdle. (Photo courtesy WHL/Andy Devlin)

Close, but no trophy.

Blackhawks prospect Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks fell just short of lifting the Ed Chenowyth Cup as Western Hockey League champions for the second straight season, falling in seven games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. The series hinged on momentum shifts, as Portland took a 2-1 series lead, then lost the next two games before pulling out a critical Game 6 victory to force a decisive Game 7. In the end, home ice advantage was the difference for the Oil Kings.

In Game 6 at the Rose Garden, the Winterhawks mowed over the Oil Kings, outshooting them 15-9 in the first period and 45-32 overall. A late goal by Oliver Gabriel—his second of the game—was enough to lift Portland to a 3-2 victory, as Carruth made 30 stops in the game.

The next night, May 13, wasn't so lucky for the Winterhawks as they fell behind 4-0 in the middle frame. Although Gabriel scored his third goal in two nights, Edmonton limited Portland to four shots on goal in the third period, prevailing 4-1 at the final horn.

Carruth made 28 saves on 32 shots in Game 7 and ended the postseason pacing all goalies with 718 saves on 782 total shots. His two shutouts were tied for first among all playoff goalies, his .918 save percentage ranked seventh, and his 2.89 goals-against average ranked eighth.
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