by Graham Kendrick
March 25, 2014, Vancouver (ISN) – Brendan Leipsic had four points as the Portland Winterhawks earned a 6-3 Game 3 win Tuesday to take 3-0 lead in their first round playoff series against the Vancouver Giants.
The Hawks will have an opportunity to close out the series tomorrow when the teams meet again in Vancouver in Game 4.
Leipsic had two goals and two assists in the win, and is up to seven points through three postseason games.
The Hawks opened the scoring 5:30 into the game when Derrick Pouliot scored on a power play for a 1-0 lead. Later in the period just six seconds into another power play, Leipsic took a feed from Nic Petan and wired a one-timer past Vancouver goaltender Payton Lee for a 2-0 lead they took into the second period.
Just 1:21 into the second, Taylor Leier picked up the puck on a turnover and went in alone on a breakaway and scored for a 3-0 advantage. Leipsic struck again at the 7:00 mark when he banged in a rebound for his second of the game and a 4-0 lead. Vancouver got on the board when Alec Baer scored at the 15:29 mark to cut Portland’s lead to 4-1, which remained the score going into the third.
Portland regained their four-goal lead when Oliver Bjorkstrand scored at the 8:49 mark of the third to make it 5-1, but just 44 seconds later Vancouver’s Joel Hamilton scored shorthanded to cut the deficit to 5-2. The Giants got within two when Trent Lofthouse scored at the 11:55 mark to make it 5-3.
The Hawks snuffed out their rally when Keoni Texeira led a rush into the Vancouver zone, where Leipsic would feed Paul Bittner for his first career playoff goal and a 6-3 lead which stood as the final.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net with 25 saves on 28 shots. Lee took the loss with six goals allowed on 34 Portland shots.
In addition to Leipsic’s four points, Portland got two points apiece from Leier, Bjorkstrand and Pouliot.
The Hawks were 2-5 on the power play and a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill.