EDMONTON - Keegan Iverson scored the overtime winner as the Portland Winterhawks erased a three-goal, third-period deficit to snap a three-game losing skid and defeat the Edmonton Oil Kings 6-5 on Sunday, sending the Western Hockey League championship to the limit.
Portland trailed 5-2, but battled back to tie the game up. The Winterhawks completed the comeback when Iverson tipped a Dominic Turgeon shot past Edmonton goalie Tristan Jarry 7:23 into overtime.
Mathew Dumba had a pair of goals and Anton Cederholm, Keoni Texeira and Derrick Pouliot also scored for the Winterhawks, who had dropped three straight after owning a 2-0 advantage to start the best-of-seven finals.
Prior to the three losses in the finals, the Winterhawks had only lost three games in their previous 45 outings.
Henrik Samuelsson and Edgars Kulda each had two-goal games and Curtis Lazar also scored for the Oil Kings, who lost for the first time at home in the playoffs, dropping to 10-1.
The seventh-and-deciding game of the WHL final will take place Monday in Portland.
Edmonton carried over the momentum from their previous three wins to get off to a great start in the contest in front of a WHL playoff-high crowd of 11,902 at Rexall Place.
The Oil Kings took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first period with a power-play goal. A Dysin Mayo shot hit Mitch Moroz on the way to the net and Samuelsson was able to poke his seventh of the playoffs past Portland goalie Corbin Boes.
Samuelsson notched his second goal of the game 1:26 later as Moroz forced a turnover deep in Portland territory and sent it across the ice to allow the first round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes to blast the puck off of Boes' glove and in to put the Oil Kings up 2-0.
Edmonton took a three-goal advantage with just 51 seconds remaining in the first period as Kulda took a seeing-eye shot that found its way through a maze of players in front and into the Portland net.
The Winterhawks outshot Edmonton 14-10 in the opening frame.
Brendan Burke came in to replace Boes in the Portland net to start the second period.
Portland got on the board three-and-a-half minutes into the second on a 5-on-3 man advantage as Dumba's point blast beat Jarry up high. It was just Portland's second power-play goal of the finals.
The Winterhawks came close to getting another one eight minutes into the second when Chase De Leo got loose for a breakaway. Jarry made the stop, but the puck bounced around loose in the crease before an Edmonton defender was able to hide it long enough to get a whistle.
Portland made it 3-2 with seven minutes left in the second on a seemingly innocent play as Cederholm came down the left side and picked the top corner with a wrist shot.
The Winterhawks joy was short-lived, however, as Edmonton came back with two quick goals.
Just 45 seconds after Portland's goal, Reid Petryk picked off a pass and sent a backhander to Lazar, and the Ottawa Senators prospect scored his ninth of the playoffs.
Less than a minute later it was 5-2 Edmonton as Mayo made a long lead pass to give Kulda a breakaway, and he beat Burke stick side for his second of the game.
The Winterhawks cut Edmonton's lead to two goals again with another power-play goal three minutes into the third as Dumba, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, scored his second of the game with a snap shot from the point.
Portland then made it 5-4 with 14 minutes remaining as De Leo put a puck on net and Texeira pinched in and had a couple of whacks at the puck to get it under Jarry and into the net.
The comeback continued as the Hawks tied the game with just under nine minutes left in the third as Pouliot blew the puck past Jarry to eventually send the game to overtime. It was the fifth goal of the game scored by a Portland defenceman.
Notes: It's the third consecutive season that the Oil Kings and Winterhawks have met in the WHL Championship Series. 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??? After going down in the first two games of the series, Edmonton bounced back to win the next three heading back to Game 6 on Sunday, allowing just four goals in the three games against the WHL's top scoring team in the regular season????????? The Winterhawks came into Sunday's game having only gone 1-20 on the power play????????? It is just the second time in league history that two teams have met in the WHL final three years in a row. The last time was when the original Edmonton Oil Kings (who ended up moving to Portland to become the Winterhawks) played the Flin Flon Bombers three times from 1969-71.