Nino Niederreiter scored two goals as the Portland Winterhawks earned a 5-4 road win Tuesday over the Kelowna Rockets in Game 3 of their second round series to take a 2-1 series lead.
Along with two goals from Niederreiter, the Hawks got three assists from Ryan Johansen and two points apiece from Sven Bartschi, Riley Boychuk and Joe Morrow.
The game opened with the Rockets taking a 2-1 lead in the first period with all three of the period’s goals coming on special teams. Portland opened the scoring with a power play goal by defenseman Joe Morrow at the 7:34 mark to make it 1-0. But the Rockets came back with a power play goal of their own from Geordie Wudrick at the 14:00 mark, and a shorthanded goal by Tyson Barrie 1:53 later to take the lead into the second period.
The Winterhawks evened the game at 2-2 when Niederreiter scored 4:07 into the second period. The goal gives Niederreiter at least one point in all seven playoff games thus far, and points in 17 of the team’s last 18 games including the regular season.
Niederreiter struck again with a power play goal at the 13:42 mark to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead, but the Rockets tied it when Brett Bulmer scored at the 17:38 mark to even the game at 3-3. But the tie was short lived, as once again the Winterhawks would go ahead when defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon scored his first of the playoffs at the 18:18 mark to give Portland a 4-3 lead going into the third period.
The Hawks went up 5-3 when Riley Boychuk scored on a 5-on-3 power play at the 9:50 mark of the third period on a one-timer from the slot. The Rockets pulled within one when Colton Sissons scored with 2:15 remaining in the third period to cut Portland’s lead to 5-4.
But the Hawks slammed the door from there to come away with the win and the series lead. The Winterhawks had 10 power play opportunities, converting on three of them. The team was also 6-7 on the penalty kill.
Mac Carruth picked up the win, making 38 saves on 42 Kelowna shots. Portland fired 37 shots at the Rockets’ Adam Brown, who made 32 saves.
The two teams return to the ice tomorrow in Kelowna for Game 4, then come back to Portland Friday at the Rose Garden at 7 p.m. for Game 5.