EDMONTON - The Portland Winterhawks relied on two scorers and their goaltender to win on Friday.
Brendan Leipsic and Calgary Flames prospect Sven Bartschi each scored twice and Mac Carruth made 38 saves as Portland defeated the Edmonton Oil Kings 5-1 to even their Western Hockey League final at a game apiece.
Taylor Peters also scored for the Winterhawks, who improved to 8-2 this post-season when scoring first.
Kristians Pelss tapped in a rebound off Martin Gernat's shot early in the third for Edmonton's lone goal. Laurent Brossoit made 22 saves for the Oil Kings.
"We generated off the rush much better," said Portland head coach Mike Johnston. "We were able to come through the middle, and hinder the wide lane. We were able to hit the space in behind... we had I think four 2-on-1's. It forces the other team to adjust a bit."
Carruth was impressive all night. He stopped Rhett Rachinski in the first, twice made a glove save on defenceman Keegan Lowe in the second, and made a solid right pad save late in the third on Edmonton's Mark Pysyk.
"It was pretty even in the first period," said Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal. "A bad pinch cost us a goal. In the second, we made a couple other mistakes and they capitalized. I thought that was the difference in the game. When they made a mistake, Carruth was outstanding. Have to give credit to Portland, they played hard missing one of their leading scorers."
Portland's Ty Rattie, who was hit hard into the side boards in Game 1 by Mitch Moroz, missed the game with an upper body injury. He has 17 goals during the playoffs, two shy of the franchise record (19) currently held by Dan Woodley in the 1987 post-season.
Bartschi now has 10 goals and 28 points in the playoffs, while Derrick Pouliot's assist on Bartschi's goal midway through the second put him in the lead among defencemen in the post-season with 14 points.
Johnston said Rattie will be re-evaluated for Sunday for Game 3 in Portland and stressed the injury was not a concussion.
The Winterhawks have only lost one game this post-season in eight played on home ice.