Coach Travis Green and the Portland Winterhawks closed out the Western Hockey League final in decisive fashion with a Game 6 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Sunday.
Green, a Castlegar native, and Trail’s Joey Baker and the Winterhawks beat the Oil Kings and Montrose’s Luke Bertolucci 5-1 to book their ticket to the Memorial Cup May 17-26 in Saskatoon.
Ty Rattie netted the hat trick including the game-winning goal to snap a 1-1 tie at 7:15 in the first period to pace the Hawks to their first trip to the junior hockey championship since they last won it in 1998. In that year, Trail native Todd Robinson was the Hawk’s leading scorer, winning the Memorial Cup with the likes of teammates Marion Hossa, Brenden Morrow, and Andrew Ferrence.
The Oil Kings were down three games to one but a 3-2 overtime win on Friday forced Game 6 in Portland. Baker opened the scoring in Game 5 with a great individual effort, bursting around the defenceman and putting it behind the Kings netminder to give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead. But Edmonton came back to tie it and would eventually win it in OT with a Michael St. Croix goal.
Ironically, the Winterhawks moved to Portland in 1976-77, leaving Edmonton where they were also known as the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Portland begins their quest for the Memorial Cup on Saturday with a game against the Halifax Mooseheads.