Hawks turn tables, tie series
The Portland Winterhawks scored three times in a 2:10 span of the second period to rally from a 3-1 deficit and beat the Kelowna Rockets 5-3 before another sellout crowd at Prospera Place Saturday.
The Winterhawks rally came a night after Portland squandered a 3-0 lead in a 5-4 loss in game one of the series.
The Western Conference final is now deadlocked at a game apiece as the series shifts to Portland for games three and four.
"We had a bad 12 minutes in the second period and they really took over and I thought from that point on we watched them play," said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
"They got the momentum going. They finished this game really well tonight and we didn't."
Kelowna jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on a pair of power-play goals from Nick Merkley and Riley Stadel 90 seconds a part.
Dominic Turgeon got the Winterhawks on the board 24 seconds into the second when he found a loose puck at the edge of the crease during a mad scramble in front of Jordon Cooke.
Madison Bowey restored the two goal lead a minute later when his shot from the right point deflected in off a Portland defender and beat goaltender Brendan Burke.
The goal signaled the end of Burke's night. He was replaced by Corbin Boes who was seeing his first action in six weeks.
The Rockets really didn't test Boes the rest of the way as he handled all 15 shots directed his way.
Portland took over the game from that point.
"I think they got a little spark when they put their other goalie in. I guess that's an old saying when you put another goalie in it might give a team a spark," said defenceman Damon Severson who had a pair of assists for Kelowna.
"It's just unfortunate for us that it happened that way."
The Winterhawks controlled much of the rest of the period and were finally rewarded when Nic Petan grabbed a rebound at the edge of the crease and tucked it behind Jordon Cooke on a power-play to cut the deficit to one.
Oliver Bjorkstrand tied it with his third of the series then 13 seconds later Brendon Leipsic beat Cooke with what proved to be the game winner.
Alex Schoenborn iced it 8:45 into the third when he somehow beat Cooke over the netminders' left shoulder from a sharp angle.
The previous night the Rockets dominated the third period in coming back from a 4-3 deficit.
Saturday, facing the same deficit they managed just four shots and rarely looked dangerous.
"I think we carried the momentum from the second period," said Winterhawks head coach Mike Johnston.
"We just continued to play the way we were playing with speed and pace. We worked their defence down low - that was part of our game plan."
Portland fired 53 shots at Cooke including 41 over the final 40 minutes compared to Kelowna's 18.
Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said it's a game the team will have to learn from as the series moves forward.
"We know the type of team they have. They're good when they are given time and space and tonight they had a lot of it.
We were the team that stood around and watched them skate. We have make some adjustments for sure. We'll turn a page and get back at it on Tuesday."
The Rockets are now in a position where they have to win at least one game in Portland.
Severson says the key is to get back to playing the way they did in game one.
"We played such a strong game other than the first few minutes in game one," said Severson.
"Other than that just sticking to our game plan and sticking with what we know."
Games three and four are set for Tuesday and Wednesday with game five back in Kelowna next Friday.
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