Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Winterhawks Double Giants 6-3; Take 3-0 Series Lead

Brendan Leipsic led the way for the visiting Portland Winterhawks, scoring two goals and two assists, as the Oregon club took a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series against the Vancouver Giants with a 6-3 win at the Pacific Coliseum on Tuesday night. Alec Baer, Joel Hamilton and Trent Lofthouse scored in the losing cause for the G-Men.

The game started well for the Giants as they generated some chances and out shot the Winterhawks in the early stages, but Derrick Pouliot opened the scoring on Portland's first power play of the night, beating Vancouver goalie Payton Lee on a point shot through traffic. Leipsic netted his first of the evening later in the frame, sending the 'Hawks to 2-for-2 on the man advantage when he hammered a quick one-timer in underneath the cross-bar from the right circle. Carter Popoff had a couple of strong chances around the net for Vancouver late in the period, but Winterhawks goalie Brendan Burke turned them all aside.

Portland came out strong in the second period, and Taylor Leier made it 3-0 just 1:21 into the middle frame when he forced a turnover at the Portland blue line and skated in on a breakaway, beating Lee on the stick side after a shifty head-fake. Leipsic put the visitors ahead by four at the seven minute mark, pouncing on a loose puck behind the Vancouver goal and tucking a backhanded wraparound inside the right post. The Giants got on the board with less than five minutes to go in the period when Jackson Houck sprung Alec Baer in on a breakaway, and the 16-year-old beat Burke between the legs for his first career playoff goal.

Oliver Bjorkstrand restored the four-goal lead for Portland in the third period when he buried a loose puck in the slot area, but Hamilton pulled Vancouver back to within three when he knocked home a one-timer from in close while the Giants were killing a penalty. Lofthouse tallied a one-timed goal of his own minutes later to make it 5-3, but Paul Bittner would find the net late for Portland to end all hopes of a Vancouver comeback.

Vancouver was 0-for-3 on the man advantage, but two of their power plays were shortened by the fact that they took penalties while they were up a man. The Winterhawks were 2-for-5 on their power play. Portland out shot Vancouver 34-28.

Game 4 goes on Wednesday night at the Pacific Coliseum at 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Brendan Leipsic - Portland
2. Taylor Leier - Portland
3. Brett Kulak - Vancouver

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