The Portland Winterhawks beat the London Knights, 2-1, to advance to the 2013 Memorial Cup final.
The Winterhawks were quick to proclaim victory on Twitter:
Hawks win! The boys beat London 2-1 to advance to the final of the MasterCard Memorial Cup!— Portland Winterhawks (@pdxwinterhawks) May 25, 2013
Portland had one fewer shot than London but did a great job of making its chances count. The Knights tried to make a late charge, but the Winterhawks proved too much.
Portland's Ty Rattie continued his strong performance in the Memorial Cup, taking the top spot amongst goal scorers. His go-ahead goal in the third period was his fifth. Put that together with his three assists and his eight points have him tied for the lead with Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads.
Mac Carruth was just as good on the other end of the ice. He stopped 34 of London's 35 shots. His great save on Olli Maatta late in the third period preserved the win for the Winterhawks and summed up the kind of performance he had.
Here's the Memorial Cup schedule and a recap of Friday night's semifinal matchup.
Full Memorial Cup Schedule
|Tiebreaker:||Saskatoon Blades ||1||London Knights ||6||Thursday, May 23||8 p.m. ET|
|Semifinals:||London Knights||1||Portland Winterhawks||2||Friday, May 24||8 p.m. ET|
|Finals||Portland Winterhawks ||Halifax Mooseheads||Sunday, May 26||7 p.m. ET|
Portland vs. London Recap
|London Knights ||0 ||1 ||0 ||1|
|Portland Winterhawks ||0 ||1 ||1 ||2
This was not one for the casual fans out there, as a scoreless and uneventful first period set the stage for what would be a much more defensive game.
The Knights controlled much of the game early as they were solid in defense and created more on the offensive end of the ice. London took the lead on the power play off a goal by 12:43 into the second period.
It was the first penalty of the game as Brendan Leipsic was sent to the sin bin after a check from behind. Not one to let an opportunity slip away, London capitalized on the man advantage.
Max Domi scored his first goal of the Memorial Cup. Olli Maatta and Seth Griffin helped out with the assists.
Largely from that point on, the Winterhawks began to assert themselves. They evened the scoring a little over two minutes after the Knights' goal. Tyler Wotherspoon scored 14:51 into the second period, with Petan and Seth Jones registering assists.
As the second period ended, the momentum was squarely with the Winterhawks. The Knights have been strong finishers to help overcome some early game issues, but you wondered how much longer London could rely on making a late run.
Morris Dallacosta of the London Free Press summed it up well:
#MemorialCup The Knights have made a habit all year of surviving games like this. But what do they have left— Morris Dallacosta(@MoDaCoatLFPress) May 25, 2013
It seemed the gas tank began reaching empty. The players looked tired going into the third period. To make matters worse, Rattie scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal with 8:32 left in the game. Petan and Derrick Pouliot helped with assists.
London tried to throw everything it had forward late in order to try to stage a late comeback, but every one of its offensive movements proved ineffective.
Portland will face off against Halifax in the Memorial Cup Championship at 7 p.m. ET Sunday night. If their rematch is anything like these two teams' first matchup, then fans will be in for an exciting championship. The Mooseheads downed the Knights, 7-4.