EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oil Kings eliminated the Kootenay Ice from the first round of the post-season for the second year in a row with a 4-1 victory Friday night in Western Hockey League playoff action.
The Oil Kings took the best-of-seven series 4-1, outscoring the Ice 25-4 and blanking them on two occasions.
Curtis Lazar scored the game winner at 11:35 of the second period, streaking in on the left wing and putting a backhand shot over the blocker of Kootenay netminder Mackenzie Skapski.
Luke Bertolucci and Stephane Legault also scored for the Oil Kings while Lazar added an empty-net goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation time.
"I thought we were a bit loose on the defensive zone coverage but at the end of the day I thought our guys did a really good job in the third period," said Edmonton's head coach Derek Laxdal. "It shows you how tough it is to finish that fourth game."
Jakub Prochazka had the lone goal for the Ice.
Laurent Brossoit turned aside 24 shots in net for Edmonton as Skapski stopped 32 for Kootenay.
Bertolucci scored the only goal of the first period after walking out from the corner at 13:07 and snapping the puck into the top corner.
Prochazka tied the game up at one apiece 2:51 into the second period, taking a feed off the wing from Jaedon Descheneau and tipping the puck in over the right pad of Brossoit.
The Ice came within inches of taking the lead on two separate plays with less than five minutes remaining in second, but couldn't take advantage of their opportunities. Jordyn Boyd snapped a shot on the odd-man rush just wide, then Sam Reinhart barely missed on a partial breakaway moments later.
"(It) doesn't matter what the series was at, we focused on one shift at a time," said Kootenay's head coach Ryan McGill. "The opportunity was there for us and we couldn't capitalize. You have to give credit to their goaltender and the experience on their team."
After Lazar put the Oil Kings ahead 2-1, Legault buried the insurance goal at 16:52 of the third period after tucking home a rebound on the backhand behind Skapski's outstretched left pad.
Edmonton failed to score on three chances with the power play while Kootenay went 0 for 4.
The Oil Kings move on to face the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round. Edmonton took the regular-season series against the Tigers 5-1, with three contests decided by two goals or less and one needing overtime.
"A lot of credit to Kootenay, they had a great year and a great second half. We'll take a couple days and get ready for Medicine Hat," added Laxdal.
In other WHL action, the Portland Winterhawks were too much for the Everett Silvertips.
Ty Rattie and Brendan Leipsic each had five points as the Portland Winterhawks crushed the host Everett Silvertips 11-4 on Friday in Western Hockey League playoff action.
Rattie scored three times and tacked on two assists while Leipsic had two goals and three assists as Portland took a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven first-round matchup.
Tyler Wotherspoon had two goals and two assists for the Winterhawks, who have scored 22 combined goals in three straight wins after dropping Game 1 of the series.
Josh Hanson and Taylor Leier each had a goal and an assist for Portland while Chase De Leo and Joey Baker added single goals.
The Winterhawks had eight players record a multi-point game as Oliver Bjorkstrand, Taylor Peters and Nicolas Petan chipped in with two assists apiece.
Joshua Winquist scored twice for the Silvertips and Reid Petryk and Cole MacDonald had the others.
Portland's Mac Carruth picked up the win after stopping 16-of-18 shots in 50 minutes of action. Brendan Burke replaced Carruth at 9:35 of the third period and allowed two goals on five shots in relief. Everett's Austin Lotz took the loss after giving up eight goals on 29 shots before getting pulled in favour of Daniel Cotton, who turned away 6-of-9 shots in the third period.
The Winterhawks went 3 for 7 on the power play while Everett scored once on six chances with the man advantage.
Portland has the opportunity to wrap up the series on Saturday when it hosts Everett for Game 5.