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Ice cool Winterhawks 3-2 in OT to take 2-1 series lead

CRANBROOK, British Columbia - Joe Antilla's goal at 6:12 of overtime gave the Kootenay Ice a 3-2 victory Tuesday and a 2-1 series lead over the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League finals.

Game 4 is 6 p.m. Wednesday, also at the Cranbrook Recreation Complex.

The Winterhawks tried hard to bounce back from their penalty-laden, 7-5 loss at home in Game 2, but they failed to get enough offense in gear down the stretch.

"You've just got to take positives out of the game and forget about it," Portland forward Ty Rattie said. "In the playoffs, the margin of error and the differences between the teams is so small. Just got to forget about it and get ready for tomorrow.

"When you come in on the road, I think your biggest thing is getting a split."

Penalties were much less of a factor in Game 3, although the teams were tied 1-1 through two periods, with Kootenay going without a penalty but Portland having to kill three power plays.

The Ice took a 1-0 lead on Kevin King's goal at 17:53 of the first period.

Rattie responded for Portland 1:01 later, with assists to Craig Cunningham and Riley Boychuk. It was Rattie's eighth goal of the playoffs.

Sven Bartschi's 10th tally of the postseason gave the Winterhawks a 2-1 edge early in the third period. The goal came via Rattie and William Wrenn after 3:54 of the final frame before the announced crowd of 3,402.

Both teams had good chances in the next 10 minutes, and then Kootenay's Drew Czerwonka outraced two Portland defenders for the puck and beat goalie Mac Carruth for a tying goal at 13:58.

"Drew doesn't give up on that puck and is able to get it and take it to the net - that was definitely the turning point," Knoblauch said.

The Winterhawks had a 5-on-4 advantage for three minutes late in regulation, but Kootenay weathered the storm.

That left only 42 seconds, and the Ice survived when Kootenay goaltender Nathan Lieuwen snuffed Bartschi's point-blank shot with two seconds to go.

Shots on goal finished even at 34 through 60 minutes.

It was the second overtime game of the series. Portland took the opener 4-3, with Rattie getting the game-winner 53 seconds into the extra period.

Game 3's OT began with Kootenay standout Cody Eakin, a first-round draft pick of the NHL Washington Capitals, swooping in on Carruth and forcing the Portland goalie to make a tough save.

Carruth made another key save and then Eakin couldn't corral a pass in front of the net.

Then Carruth gloved shots at 15:52 and 14:50 and stopped Eakin again at 14:26, as the Ice continued to press the attack.

Finally, the Hawks caved in under the pressure, as Max Reinhart fed Antilla for a good look from the left side. It was Antilla's ninth goal of the playoffs.

The Ice outshot Portland 7-2 in the extra session.

Carruth finished with 38 saves, while Lieuwen had 34.

"From a fan's standpoint, it was a very entertaining hockey game, and it could have gone either way. The goaltenders from both sides played very well," Kootenay coach Kris Knoblauch said.

Game 5 is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Rose Garden.