With a hat trick and four points from Ty Rattie, the Portland Winterhawks (23-11-2-1) beat the visiting Victoria Royals (13-22-2-2) 7-6 Friday for the team’s 11th straight home win.
The game was played in front of 8,836 fans, the Hawks’ third straight home game with 8,000+ fans. It was the second game in three nights between the two teams after the Hawks took a 6-3 decision over the Royals Wednesday.
Rattie’s hat trick was his third this season, while his four points overall on the night gives him 67, tops in the WHL. His 36 goals also lead the league.
Victoria’s Jamie Crooks and Rattie traded a pair of goals in the first period. Crooks got Victoria on the board first at the seven-minute mark of the first, but the Hawks answered back just 53 seconds later when Rattie scored to tie the game at 1-1. Crooks struck again for the Royals on a power play at the 10:37 mark as they went up 2-1, but Rattie again answered for Portland with 23 seconds left in the period, his second of the game to tie it at 2-2.
That led to a wild second period where the teams combined for seven goals. Victoria took a 3-2 lead 31 seconds into the second when Zane Jones scored, then made it 4-2 on a goal by Kevin Sundher at the 2:36 mark.
But the Hawks then exploded for three goals in a span of just 1:22 to take a 5-4 lead. Brendan Leipsic and Tyler Wotherspoon scored just 11 seconds apart, and Rattie beat Victoria netminder Keith Hamilton for the hat trick goal, his league-leading 36th of the season, to give Portland the lead.
Victoria tied it 1:05 after Rattie’s goal on the second of the game by Jones to even the score at 5-5, and took a 6-5 lead with 1:08 left in the period when Crooks scored his third of the night.
The Hawks regained the lead early in the third when Leipsic, with his second of the game, and Derrick Pouliot scored 1:33 apart to give the Hawks a 7-6 advantage that would stand as the final.
Leipsic’s first goal of the game, Portland’s third, was the 11,000th goal in franchise history. Leipsic finished with four points, while Brad Ross had three assists to extend his points streak to seven games.
The Hawks won’t have much time to rest, as they’re back on the ice at the Rose Garden tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in the annual New Year’s Eve tilt against the Seattle Thunderbirds. After the game, fans can skate on the ice with the players, play carnival games on the concourse and enjoy a countdown to midnight on the Rose Garden’s videoboard.