(ISN) – The Portland Winterhawks took a 3-2 series lead Saturday with a 5-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 5 of their first round playoff series in front of 7,119 fans at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The series will continue Tuesday with Game 6 in Seattle at 7 p.m.
The Hawks opened the scoring 7:56 into the game when Keegan Iverson fired a slap shot from above the right faceoff circle that beat Seattle netminder Taran Kozun for a 1-0 lead.
Portland extended the lead at 17:08 when Oliver Bjorkstrand fed Paul Bittner in the slot, who wired it past Kozun for a 2-0 advantage. Seattle got one back with 11.6 seconds to go in the period on a shorthanded goal by Scott Eansor to make it 2-1 going into the second.
After a scoreless second period, the Hawks regained a two-goal lead early in the third on a power play when Paul Bittner set up in front of the net and tipped a point shot past Kozun at 4:54 for a 3-1 lead. The Thunderbirds got back within one at 7:54 on a power play goal by Shea Theodore to make it 3-2.
The Hawks responded, as at 11:41 Iverson led a rush on a 2-on-1 and slid the puck across to Alex Schoenborn, who buried the opportunity for a 4-2 lead. But Seattle got back within one less than a minute later at 12:38 when Mathew Barzal scored to cut the Portland lead to 4-3.
The Thunderbirds pulled Kozun for an extra attacker, and with 38.7 seconds to go Bjorkstrand sealed the win with an empty net goal to make it a 5-3 final and a 3-2 lead in the series.
Bjorkstrand finished with three points, while Bitter, Chase De Leo and Iverson each had two points.
Adin Hill stopped 27 of 30 shots to earn the win for the Hawks. Kozun allowed four goals on 34 shots, with Portland adding one into the empty net.