PORTLAND — The Portland Winterhawks defeated the Kelowna Rockets 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night at the Moda Centre in Portland, OR, to grab a two-games-to-one lead in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference final.
The Winterhawks outshot Kelowna 65-33 but had to score twice in the game’s final 2:59, both times with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, to erase a 3-1 Rockets lead and force overtime.
Rockets netminder Jordon Cooke was sensational as he held the ‘Hawks shooters at bay throughout the game, until the two late goals. The Hawks Taylor Leier scored the winner midway through overtime to win the game.
The Rockets led 1-0 after the first period as Riley Stadel scored an early goal, his third of the playoffs.
After Oliver Bjorkstrand tied the game 1-1 in the second, Cole Martin scored his first goal of the season, restoring Kelowna’s lead and the Rockets went to the dressing room after two, with a 2-1 lead.
Ryan Olsen scored to make it 3-1 Rockets with just over five minutes to play in the third as the Rockets jumped ahead by two.
However Portland scored a power play goal with the goalie pulled to make it 3-2 before Brendan Leipsic tied the game at 3-3 with 1:18 to go in the third, also with the goalie on the bench.
Attendance at Portland’s Moda Centre was 9,259 on Tuesday and the the series continues on Wednesday night with game four in Portland.
Game five in the series is set for Friday night in Kelowna.