PORTLAND -- The Portland Winterhawks had a Game 1 win in their pocket and a sellout crowd at their backs on Saturday at the Rose Garden.
But they didn't have quite enough magic to complete an incredible comeback.
Portland cut a five-goal deficit to one with 12 minutes left in Game 2 of the Western Hockey League finals and kept the heat on Kootenay goalie Nathan Lieuwen right to the end before the Ice escaped with a wild series-tying 7-5 win.
Game 3 is Tuesday in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and for drama it will be tough to top Saturday's show.
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It appeared that any chance Portland had to win disappeared in a bizarre second-period implosion as Kootenay scored five goals -- four of them on the power play.
The Ice built a 6-1 lead and were up 6-2 entering the third period.
But Sven Bartschi scored his second goal of the game with 13:48 left in the third period on the power play, then Taylor Peters and Joe Morrow scored 13 seconds apart to pull Portland within a goal.
There was still 11:46 to play, and the Rose Garden was rocking.
"I thought we had them on their heels. I was really proud of how we played in the third," Portland coach Mike Johnston said.
Portland threw 28 shots at Lieuwen in the third period and was one deflection away from tying the score on several occasions.
Kootenay coach Kris Knoblauch said he didn't have to say much to his team after Portland trimmed the margin to one goal.
"The players were really focused," Knoblauch said. "They knew what was at stake, and they knew their responsibilities. There wasn't much that I had to say. I just reminded them that everyone had to have a few more good shifts to get through this."
Johnston said he'd never experienced anything like Saturday's second period, when Portland lost two players to game misconducts and saw Kootenay score four power-play goals to build a five-goal advantage.
"I've coached over 25 years and never seen that many (penalty) calls in a row on a team," Johnston said. "Certainly that was a key turning point."
Tayler Jordan and Riley Boychuk were assessed five-minute major penalties and game misconducts in the midst of the second period.
The chaos started when Brad Ross and Matt Fraser -- who scored the first two Kootenay goals -- collided at the blue line with 12:35 left in the second period. Both players left with injuries, but Ross was assessed a double minor, giving the Ice four power-play minutes. Neither player returned to the game and no status updates were available after the game.
A half-minute later, Jordan was assessed a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind and got a game misconduct.
The Ice scored twice on the resulting extended five-on-three power play then added two more power play goals to stretch their lead to 6-1 with 5:28 left in the period.
"We may have lost our composure a little bit," Morrow said. "But things like that happen. You've got to battle through it."
Bartschi's short-handed goal in the last minute of the period gave the announced crowd of 10,947 a little something to celebrate, and gave the Winterhawks an energy lift that helped their third-period push.
Lieuwen made 39 saves. His biggest might have been on a penalty shot for Bartschi with the score still 1-1 early in the second period. In the first minute of the third period, he made a nice pad stop to deny Taylor Peters on a short-handed two-on-one.
But that was just the start of a busy third period around the Kootenay goal.
"I thought our puck movement was really good," Johnston said. "It was an incredible third period and it was disappointing that we fell short."
ICE 7, WINTERHAWKS 5
Kootenay 1 5 1--7
Portland 1 1 3--5
First Period -- 1. Kootenay, Fraser 13, 5:14; 2. Portland, Leipsic 3 (Wrenn, Peters) 9:40. Penalties -- McNabb Ktn (high-sticking) 16:35, Leipsic Por (tripping) 19:22, Ismond Ktn, Morrow Por (roughing) 19:33.
Second Period -- 3. Kootenay, Fraser 14 (Reinhart) 6:54; 4. Kootenay, Reinhart 15 (Eakin, King) 8:47 (pp); 5. Kootenay, Eakin 9 (McNabb, Antilla) 10:15 (pp); 6. Kootenay, Boomer 3 (McNabb, Eakin) 13:04 (pp); 7. Kootenay, King 3 (Rintoul, Pearce) 14:32 (pp); 8. Portland, Bartschi 8 (Johansen) 19:19 (sh). Penalties -- Rintoul Ktn (tripping) 2:40, Ross Por (roughing, tripping), 7:25, Jordan Por (checking from behind major, game misconduct) 7:48, Rutkowski Por (interference) 12:48, Eviston Por (tripping) 13:36, Hurley Ktn (roughing), Boychuk Por (elbowing major, game misconduct), Wrenn Por (roughing) 15:59.
Third Period -- 9. Portland, Bartschi 9 (Pouliot, Rattie) 6:12 (pp); 10. Portland, Peters 3 (Cunningham), 8:01; 11. Portland, Morrow 6 (Johansen, Niederreiter) 8:14; 12. Kootenay, King 4, 19:50 (en). Penalties -- Ismond Ktn (tripping) 2:19, Ismond Ktn (slashing) 5:36, Reinhart Ktn, Leipsic Por (roughing) 7:00.
Shots on goal by -- Kootenay 10-25-8--43; Portland 9-8-27--44.
Goalies (shots-saves) -- Kootenay: Lieuwen (W,13-3); Portland: Carruth (L,13-5)(29-23), Hamilton (14:32 second, 13-13).
Power plays (goals-chances) -- Kootenay: 4-7; Portland 1-3.
Referees -- Matt Kirk, Reagan Vetter. Linesmen -- Justin Hull, Chris Sweeting.
Attendance -- 10,947.
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