The Portland Winterhawks made a dramatic third period comeback to force overtime, where Taylor Leier scored the game-winner to give the Hawks a 4-3 win and 2-1 series lead over the Kelowna Rockets Tuesday in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at the Moda Center in front of 9,259 fans.
Leier s goal came exactly 10 minutes into the extra frame to cap a wild game in which the Hawks fired 65 shots at Rockets netminder Jordon Cooke, the second straight contest in which Portland has had 50+ shots on net.
It was Kelowna who struck first when Riley Stadel scored 2:22 into the game for an early 1-0 Rockets lead. The Hawks controlled play through much of the period and outshot the Rockets 18-10, but it remained a 1-0 score heading into the second.
Portland continued applying pressure early in the second and it paid off at the 6:26 mark when Oliver Bjorkstrand went hard to the net and banged a rebound past Cooke to tie the game at 1-1. But 13 seconds later the Rockets went back ahead when Colten Martin scored to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage. The Hawks continued to generate chances, outshooting Kelowna 21-11 in the period, but the Rockets maintained their 2-1 lead going into the third.
It remained that way through much of the third, until the Rockets Ryan Olsen scored at the 14:50 mark to give Kelowna a 3-1 lead.
From there, the Hawks staged an incredible late comeback with unrelenting pressure, and were rewarded when Bjorkstrand scored his second of the game on a power play at the 17:01 mark to bring them within one, at 3-2. Portland kept coming, and finally got the equalizer on another power play at the 18:42 mark when a shot by Derrick Pouliot caromed off the end boards to Brendan Leipsic at the side of the net, where he buried it for the 3-3 tie to force overtime.
Winterhawks netminder Corbin Boes made several highlight-reel stops in the overtime to keep the game tied, setting up Leier s game winner.
Leipsic and Pouliot extended their point streaks in the game, with each having registered at least a point in all 12 playoff games thus far.
Boes stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced in the win, while Cooke made 61 saves on 65 Portland shots.
Game 4 is Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Moda Center.
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