In the WHL final, the Portland Winterhawks and Edmonton Oil Kings are all tied up. They also both boast big home-ice advantages. Both teams are undefeated at home in the playoffs. The Winterhawks are 9-0-0-0 while the Oil Kings, after wins in games three and four, are 10-0-0-0.
That may end sometime sooner rather than later and the Oil Kings are hoping it is them who gets the first road win of the series.
“We’ve had a good home record all year,” Edmonton defenceman Griffin Reinhart said. “We won a lot of games in that building so we are pretty comfortable but we knew coming into this series that we’d have to win at least one on the road and our mindset going into this game is hopefully tonight.”
In order to do just that, the Oil Kings will try to keep up their pace on the penalty kill. They killed all three of their penalties in game four while getting a 26-save performance from Tristan Jarry in a 2-0 shutout. That’s quite the feat as it was the first time in 247 games the Winterhawks had been shutout. It’s even more impressive that, since game one, the Winterhawks have gone 0-for-11 on the power play. Portland ranks third overall in these playoffs, scoring at 23.6% on the man advantage.
Discipline was something the Oil Kings emphasized, ahead of tonight’s game five, both with turnovers and penalties.
“I think with the first two games, just the turnovers,” Griffin Reinhart said. We can’t continue doing that. They’re going to capitalize on our mistakes and they’ve been doing that the first two games. We’ve got to stick to our structure and play a disciplined game. They’re good on the power play and anytime they can explode, it’s never a safe lead so we’ve got to savour the discipline.”