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Samuelsson scores twice as Oil Kings open WHL final with win

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Associated Press
5/4/2013 12:56:25 AM
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- In the first game of a rematch of last year's WHL final, the Edmonton Oil Kings restated their case as the team to beat.

Henrik Samuelsson scored twice and Laurent Brossoit made 35 saves as the defending champion Oil Kings opened the series with a 4-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks on Friday.

Edmonton defeated Portland in seven games last season, including a victory in Game 1.

Dylan Wruck and Curtis Lazar added goals, and Stephane Legault kicked in three assists for the Oil Kings, who have scored 75 times in 17 playoff games this season.

Taylor Leier scored the only goal for the Winterhawks, who outshot Edmonton 36-29 but had trouble solving Brossoit, who leads the WHL with a 1.54 goals-against average in the playoffs.

"In the first three (playoff) series there were times I'd go long periods of time without seeing a shot," said Brossoit. "Ask any goalie, they love seeing a consistent amount of shots. I'm just glad I was seeing the puck well tonight."

The Winterhawks dominated the first period, but the Oil Kings scored the only goal on their first shot of a game. Dylan Wruck picked up a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it over Portland goalie Mac Carruth for a 1-0 lead at the 2:03 mark.

Portland put 16 shots on Brossoit in the first, and had the puck in Edmonton territory most of the period.

"I thought we were outstanding in the first period, we could've easily had three, four or five goals," said Portland coach Travis Green.

The Winterhawks appeared to have scored a tying goal in the first period, but video review showed that Brendan Leipsic kicked the puck past Brossoit.

"That (disallowed goal) brought us down a little bit," Green admitted. "But overall, I wasn't too disappointed in our game."

Edmonton regained its footing in the second period and pushed the lead to 2-0 at 11:17 of the second period when Stephane Legault forced a Portland turnover and found Samuelsson, who beat Carruth with a wrist shot to the glove side.

"We made a few adjustments to settle the guys down for the second period," said Edmonton coach Derek Laxdal. "Portland came out with a lot of energy in the first and the crowd was electric. We just had to relax and stick to the game plan."

Leier gave Portland life with a rebound goal three minutes into the third to make it 2-1, but Samuelsson silenced the crowd with his second of the game 47 seconds later to rebuild a two-goal advantage.

Lazar took advantage of a strange carom off the end boards, batting a bouncing puck past Carruth to get an insurance goal midway through the third.

Carruth stopped 25 of 29 shots for the Winterhawks, who went 0 for 4 with the man advantage. The Oil Kings failed to score on their only power play.

Edmonton kept Portland's top line of Leipsic, Nicolas Petan and Ty Rattie -- who have combined for 73 points this post-season -- completely off the scoresheet.

"That's probably the best line in major junior hockey and they're tough to contain," Laxdal said. "We have to do it by committee, and we have to have great puck management against them."

Portland dropped Game 1 last season to the Oil Kings, but rallied to force a seventh game. The Winterhawks aren't about to panic after surrendering home-ice advantage after one game.

"We didn't think we were going to sweep Edmonton," said Green. "It's one game and there's no sense in dwelling on it too much. It's a long series and I'm confident we can win anywhere."

Edmonton Oil Kings (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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