Everett takes 3-0 lead into the third period Saturday and holds on at Memorial Coliseum

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PARKER LEE - Portland's Brendan Leipsic takes the puck behind the goal during the Winterhawks' 3-2 loss to Everett in Game 5 Saturday at Memorial Coliseum. The Everett Silvertips weren’t ready to call it a season just yet.

Everett stayed alive in its best-of-seven series by sneaking past Portland 3-2 in Game 5 of the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

The Winterhawks now cling to a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 is 7 p.m. Monday at Everett. Game 7, if necessary, would be 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the coliseum.

“They played hard. Anytime you are facing elimination, you are going to play desperate,” Portland coach Travis Green said after Game 5 before a crowd of 7,093. “They found a way to win a hockey game.”

After allowing 18 goals in the previous two games, the Silvertips snapped out of their defensive funk. Goaltender Austin Lotz had 43 saves and stopped the first 39 Portland shots.

Portland had its chances — outshooting Everett 45-18 — but Lotz was almost flawless in the net.

Midway through the opening period, Everett left wing Joshua Winquist controlled the puck near the boards in front of the Silvertips’ bench. Winquist moved down the left side and fired from just inside the blue line. The puck sneaked over the left shoulder of Portland goaltender Mac Carruth and into the top-right corner of the net. It was Winquist’s sixth goal of the series, and it gave Everett the early lead.

About 3:20 later, Everett cleared the puck and slung it along the back boards. That coaxed Carruth from his perch in front of the net as he went back to retrieve the loose puck. Just as Carruth was getting to the puck, an Everett player met him and popped it out in front of the net. Silvertips right wing Logan Aasman was there to receive the puck, and he flipped it into the net before Carruth could get back around to stop him.

“In the first period, we didn’t manage the puck that well. We had a lot of turnovers,” Green said. “When we’re on our game, we are playing with the puck and we manage it a lot better than we did.”

In the second period, the Silvertips added to their lead after the clock dipped below the seven-minute mark. The strike came when Lotz stopped a Portland shot and passed the puck to center Kohl Bauml near the Winterhawks’ bench.

As Bauml caught the pass, he spotted Reid Petryk sprinting out in front of the defense. Bauml whipped the puck to Petryk, who took it uncontested from the center line all the way to the goal, where he used a double fake to beat Carruth.

With that, Everett took a three-goal lead into the second intermission.

“When you’re down three-nothing in a playoff game, it’s hard to come back,” Green said. “I thought we were desperate, but I think at times we were too desperate to try to score.”

The Winterhawks got back in the game with two power-play goals in the third period.

The first came with 14 minutes remaining, when Portland defenseman Troy Rutkowski ripped a shot to the right side of the goal. The shot was going wide, but center Brendan Leipsic deflected the puck out of the air and into the net.

With 1:25 left, Portland made it a one-goal game. D-man Derrick Pouliot took a pass from Rutkowski and poked the puck past Lotz.

The Winterhawks pulled Carruth for the final 80 seconds, and the extra skater almost made the difference. Portland had a few near-goals, but each shot just missed, and Everett escaped with the win.

While Everett extended its first-round series with Portland, there were other movements in the WHL playoffs.

Spokane beat Tri-City 3-1 to win that first-round series 4-1.

Victoria narrowed its deficit to Kamloops to 3-2.

Kelowna, once down 3-0, has won two consecutive games in the series against Seattle.

The Eastern Conference semifinals are set: Red Deer versus Calgary, starting Thursday, and Medicine Hat versus Edmonton, starting Friday.

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