First, Portland quite literally (okay figuaratively) flew out to a 3-0 lead in game one and looked like they were going to skate Kelowna right out of the barn. Then the Hawk's defense fell apart, with their top two D-men playing the catalysts. Kelowna recovered from a poor start feeding off of a Madison Bowey short handed goal to slow down the game to the type they would like to play and got 5 goals from 5 different scorers to win in comeback fashion 5-4.
Secondly, Kelowna fed off the momentum of their game one victory by scoring two power play goals in the first and then chasing Portland's Brendan Burke with 3 goals on their first 11 shots. Then, just like in Game two, the losing team started to wake up and Portland scored three times in only 2 minutes and 10 seconds, erasing a 2 goal deficit, by taking a 4-3 lead. Portland outshot Kelowna 31-18 over their last 2 periods, on their way to a 5-3 win and a series tie.
So now, heading into game three with a series that is tied up at 1, there is just not much we can actually count on for the last, at least 3 games. We have seen how well and how poorly both teams can play and the only thing that is certain, is that there are sure to be more swings, both ways, before this is over.
Before Game three is upon us though, I have some specific concerns regarding a couple key Winterhawk contributors and these two are both in need of a great game:
-Much has been made of Brendan Burke getting yanked in Game two. I'm almost 100% sure that Coach Johnston will go with him to start Game three and that him being pulled in Game two was more a sign that the team needed to wake up then piss poor Goaltending (though the Stadel and Bowey goals were not that pretty). Despite trading for Corbin Boes, Johnston has never seemed to doubt Burke. Round three of the playoffs is also not a time when you want to start doubting. I have been a firm beleiver that Burke is much more mentally strong this season then he had been the previous year. Last year, he seemed to really suffer after giving up a poor goal, whereas this year he has responded for the most part. Is his REALLY poor play against Kelowna this year a concern? Well absolutely, but I think that Burke has a little of the irrational confidence that Carruth had, which enabled him tobounce back from some horrible outings against teams that had his number.