Game three of many playoff series is often described as "the key", one that can ultimately determine the winner of a series. The Portland Winterhawks had every intention of holding the key playing in Everett on Wednesday night with the series knotted at 1 apiece. However, it didn't start off as well, as Everett scored less than four minutes into the game. The Hawks responded on the power play with Nic Petan finishing off a bit of messy play in front of Everett goalie Austin Lotz and tied it at 1. The second period belonged to the Hawks as goals were scored by Ty Rattie, Nic Petan (his second), Troy Rutkowski on the power play and Oliver Bjorkstrand at the tail end of the period. That put the game pretty much out of reach at 5-1.
In the third, with Daniel Cotton replacing Austin Lotz in the net for Everett, the Tips buried two behind Portland's Mac Carruth in a span of just 21 seconds to cut the lead to 5-3 and there was a feeling that the tide was turning. However, it was a dump in from center by Derrick Pouliot that seemingly fooled Daniel Cotton and put the Hawks up by 2. Finally, yet another power play goal went the Hawks way as Brendan Leipsic finished the scoring for the night. The Hawks went 3 for 5 on the power play and shut down Everett, allowing no power play goals against. Similarly to the previous game, the Hawks controlled the shot clock with 30 to Everett's 13. The Hawks play in Everett on Friday and could wrap up the series against the Tips at home in the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. Three Stars were Portland's Nic Petan, Brendan Leipsic and Everett's Dawson Leedahl. Just 2,000 people took in the action in Everett tonight, with a strong Portland fan attendance.
Ice Chips: In other Western Conference battles, the Kelowna Rockets staved off elimination with a 4-0 win at Seattle vs. the Thunderbirds, marking the first game that hadn't gone to overtime with these two teams. Seattle leads 3-1. In the other two series, the Kamloops Blazers lead the Victoria Royals, and the Spokane Chiefs lead the Tri Cities Americans 2-1. In the Eastern Conference, the Edmonton Oil Kings lead the Kootenay Ice and the Calgary Hitmen lead the Swift Current Broncos 3-1. The host team for the Memorial Cup, the Saskatoon Blades, was bounced in the first round, losing 3-1 to the Medicine Hat Tigers, which will mean a nearly 2 month break before they play again in the Memorial Cup. The Prince Albert Raiders fell to the Red Deer Rebels, 3-2, and were eliminated as well. Red Deer and Medicine Hat now await the winners of the Edmonton/ Kootenay and Calgary/Swift Current series. Viewing parties for the Hawks resume Friday at McGillicuddy's, Beaverton SportsPage, Kenton Station and three new additions, Brix Tavern, Game Time in Lake Oswego and The Rock Pizza in Vancouver. All reported nearly full houses for the games, so make sure to arrive early.
Stuart Kemp is the President of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, a 501(c)(3) Registered Charity