A dramatic comeback by the Portland Winterhawks against the Edmonton Oil Kings in Game Six on Sunday sets the stage for Game Seven of the Western Hockey League Finals on Monday and right to play in the Memorial Cup Tournament of Canadian Major Junior Hockey.
Leading the Winterhawks is captain and Flyers prospect Taylor Leier, who was drafted by the Flyers in the fourth round (117th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Shortly before returning to the Winterhawks for his third season, he signed an entry-level contract with the club on Sept. 9, 2013.
The Winterhawks twice came back from three-goal deficits, and were down 5-2 after the second period in Game Six before recording four unanswered goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to force a decisive game on home ice in Portland.
Leier recorded an assist and a +2 rating in the victory.
So far in the WHL playoffs, Leier has six goals and 18 assists for 24 points in 20 games. His 18 assists are tied for third on the team and his +20 rating is tied for second in the playoffs.
During the regular season, Leier put up career-highs in every offensive category, recording 37 goals and 42 assists for 79 points and a plus-minus rating of +48 through 62 games.
A Game Seven victory would give Leier an opportunity to play for the Memorial Cup for the second consecutive year.
The Winterhawks won the WHL title last year, over the Edmonton Oil Kings, but lost in the Memorial Cup tournament in the championship game to the Halifax Mooseheads by a score of 6-4. Leier was unable to compete in the Final game due to injury.
This is the third consecutive year that Portland has faced Edmonton in the WHL Final. Leier and the Winterhawks dropped the Final series in 2012, 4 games to 3, but returned the favor by beating the Oil Kings in the Final, 4 games to 2 last season.
Leier, however, wouldn't be the only Flyers prospect in the Memorial Cup. Goaltending prospect, Anthony Stolarz of the London Knights, will be competing in his second consecutive tournament with the guaranteed bid of being the host city.
The Memorial Cup Tournament will take place from Friday, May 16 and run through Sunday, May 25 in London, Ontario.
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