by Graham Kendrick
March 26, 2014, Vancouver (ISN) – The Portland Winterhawks completed a sweep of their first round series against the Vancouver Giants with a 6-1 win in Game 4 Wednesday in Vancouver.
With the win it means the Hawks advance to the second round for the fifth straight season. Portland is the only team in the Western Conference to move on thus far, and will wait to see who their opponent will be in the next round.
By sweeping the Giants, the Hawks have now won 11 straight games including the regular season, and 32 of their last 33 games overall.
One Hawk also made history in the win, as defenseman Derrick Pouliot registered his 47th career playoff point, tying Glen Wesley for the franchise record for postseason scoring among blueliners.
Six different players accounted for the Hawks’ six goals, and three of those goals came within a minute of each other in the first period. First Brendan Leipsic scored at the 16:09 mark, and was quickly followed by goals from Adam de Champlain and Alex Schoenborn as Portland exploded for a 3-0 lead.
The late flurry prompted Vancouver to replace starting netminder Payton Lee with Jared Rathjen, as the Hawks took the 3-0 lead into the second.
Vancouver got on the board midway through the second when Carter Popoff scored on a power play, cutting Portland’s lead to 3-1. Oliver Bjorkstrand answered for the Hawks on a power play as he wired a one-timer past Rathjen to give Portland a 4-1 advantage at the 13:35 mark they’d take into the third.
Portland kept pressing in the third, and extended the lead just 2:50 into the period when Keegan Iverson scored to make it 5-1. Chase De Leo rounded out the scoring as the Hawks finished with the 6-1 win to sweep the first round series.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net for Portland, stopping 32 of 33 shots. Lee allowed three goals on 10 shots before being replaced, while Rathjen gave up three goals on 31 shots in relief.
Bjorkstrand finished with three points in the win, while Iverson and Leipsic each had two. Eleven Hawks registered a point in the win.