PORTLAND -- Nic Petan had a hat trick as the Portland Winterhawks won Game 4 of the Western Conference Final 5-1 over the Kelowna Rockets to take a 3-1 series lead Wednesday at the Moda Center in front of 9,744 fans.
The Hawks will have a chance to claim their fourth-straight conference title when the two teams meet Friday for Game 5 in Kelowna at 7 p.m.
The Rockets got on the board first at the 13:28 mark of the first when Nick Merkley put in a rebound for a 1-0 Kelowna lead. With just over a minute to go in the period and the Hawks on a power play, Petan scored from the right faceoff circle to make it 1-1 heading into the second.
In that second period the Hawks went on to break the game open with three goals, all on special teams. Petan struck again with his second power play goal of the night at the 10:15 mark to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. Just 1:14 later, with Portland killing a penalty, Oliver Bjorkstrand created a turnover and went down the ice on a breakaway, going to his backhand past Jordon Cooke for a 3-1 advantage for the Hawks.
Portland cashed in on another power play at the 16:53 mark of the second with a highlight-reel goal by Petan. With his back to the net, he went between his legs and banked it in off a Kelowna defender for the hat trick and a 4-1 advantage.
It remained that way until just over two minutes remained in the third when Paul Bittner scored an empty net goal as the Hawks finished with a 5-1 win.
Brendan Leipsic and Derrick Pouliot each had three assists in the win, and both have points in all 13 playoff games thus far.
Corbin Boes came up big in net with 31 saves on 32 shots. Cooke took the loss for the Rockets with four goals allowed 35 shots, with Portland adding an empty net goal.
Special teams were a big factor in Portland’s win, as they went 3-8 on the power play and a perfect 5-5 on the penalty kill, along with a shorthanded goal.
Petan’s three power play goals tied a team record for the playoffs, a feat previously accomplished only by Dave McLay on March 28, 1986 against Spokane.
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