The message coming from the Portland Winterhawks after Game 4 of the Western Hockey League's Western Conference finals — a game they lost 3-2 — was that their series with the Kelowna Rockets is exactly what they expected.
After two tight-checking, close-to-the-sweater games to open the Western Conference Finals, the Portland Winterhawks put seven goals past Kelowna goalies on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
After two, tense, tight checking battles saw the teams split 3-2 verdicts, Portland and Kelowna hit the Moda Center ice on Tuesday and Wednesday for 7 p.m. games that figure to gain intensity as they progress.
Nic Petan delivered a special goal in the second period and goalie Adin Hill was strong throughout as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Kelowna Rockets 3-2 on Saturday to even the Western Hockey League Western Conference Finals.
The Portland Winterhawks have owned the Western Hockey League's Western Conference championship for four seasons. In three of those runs to the WHL finals, they disposed of the Kelowna Rockets along the way.
On a night when there was no clear path to beating either goaltender, it figured that a golf swing from a defenseman would be the play that moved the Portland Winterhawks to within one victory of another playoff series win.