The Portland Winterhawks picked up a 6-4 Western Hockey League win over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in front of 7,501 fans.
The Hawks (18-5-1-1) opened the scoring at the 10:27 mark of the first when Brendan Leipsic went top shelf over Spokane goaltender Garret Hughson’s shoulder for a 1-0 lead. They extended the lead at the 14:32 mark when defenseman Garrett Haar slid one past Hughson in traffic to make it 2-0. Just over two minutes later with the Hawks on a 5-on-3 power play, Derrick Pouliot fired a shot from high slot past Hughson to give Portland a 3-0 lead they’d take into the second.
Spokane (16-8-0-1) got on the board 5:34 into the second on a goal from Connor Chartier to cut the lead to 3-1, but less than a minute later Paul Bittner sprung Leipsic on a breakaway, and he slid the puck five-hole for his second goal of the game and a 4-1 Portland lead. The Chiefs once again got within two when Riley Whittingham scored at the 11:26 mark to cut the Hawks’ lead to 4-2, then made it a 4-3 game at the 14:14 mark on a goal by Adam Helewka.
With 36.4 seconds to go in the period, Taylor Leier made a tremendous pass from behind the Spokane net out front to Nic Petan, who buried the attempt to make it 5-3 going into the third.
The Chiefs cut Portland’s lead to one at the 8:24 mark of the third on a shorthanded goal from Mike Aviani to cut the deficit to 5-4. Late in the third with the Hawks on a power play, Taylor Leier sealed the win with an empty net goal and a 6-4 final.
Petan had a goal and three assists for four points in the win, while Leipsic added three points. Leier and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had two points.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net for Portland with 31 saves on 35 shots. Hughson took the loss with five goals allowed on 32 shots, along with the empty net marker.
Portland was 2-9 on the power play and a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill.
The Hawks hit the road for a game Saturday in Seattle when they take on the Thunderbirds.