The following is a news release from the Portland Winterhawks
The Portland Winterhawks (48-18-0-3) scored goals on their first three shots of the game en route to a 5-3 win over the visiting Vancouver Giants (33-31-1-4) Wednesday.
The win gives the Winterhawks 99 points on the season, as they remain first in the Western Conference.
The Spokane Chiefs were at home to Chilliwack Wednesday in a game that was still in progress as of this writing. But having gone to overtime, the Chiefs earned at least a point to stay within two.
The Winterhawks opened the scoring 55 seconds into the game on a goal by defenseman Troy Rutkowski, then made it 2-0 at the 5:36 mark on the 38th goal of the season by Ryan Johansen, after which Vancouver replaced starting netminder Mark Segal with Brendan Jensen.
Just under three minutes following Johansen s goal, the Winterhawks scored their third goal on their third shot of the game when Seth Swenson beat Jensen for his third goal of the season, giving the Hawks a 3-0 lead they d take into the second period.
Portland kept up the pressure in the second period, with Brad Ross scoring 3:31 into the period with a goal at the doorstep, his 30th of the season, to make it 4-0. But the Giants fought back and scored three straight to get back into the game.
They got on the board at the 4:26 mark when Nathan Burns scored on a wraparound, then scored again at the 13:12 mark when a shot by James Henry got through a crowd and past Portland goaltender Keith Hamilton to make it 4-2.
The Giants pulled to within one at the 17:21 mark when Greg Lamoureux scored off a faceoff to cut the Hawks lead 4-3 going into the third period. The game remained tight through the third period, and at the 14:20 mark, Riley Boychuk scored a highlight-reel goal when the puck came to him in the crease and he scored with a between-the-legs shot to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead, a score that would stand as the final.
The Winterhawks will close out the regular season with three games in three nights this weekend, beginning Friday at home at the Rose Garden against the Everett Silvertips at 7 p.m. followed by a road game Saturday in Seattle.
They finish up Sunday at home against Spokane in a game that could decide first overall in the Western Conference at 5 p.m. at the Rose Garden. The playoffs will then begin the following weekend, when the Winterhawks host Game 1 on Saturday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at the Rose Garden, and Game 2 on Sunday, March 27 at the Rose Garden at 5 p.m.