The Portland Winterhawks (27-12-2-1) picked up their 15th straight home with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets (17-20-2-3) Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The 15 straight home wins is one shy of the franchise record of 16, set during the 1993-94 season.
The Winterhawks opened the scoring at the 8:58 mark of the first with a power play goal when Ty Rattie fed a pass across the crease to Cam Reid, who buried it for his first goal in his first WHL game. Reid’s rights were acquired from Edmonton Monday, and the center left St. Cloud State University to join the Hawks yesterday.
The Rockets evened the game 1:24 later on a goal by Madison Bowey, but Portland quickly answered back at the 11:25 mark with another power play goal when Rattie tipped in a Joe Morrow point shot to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. It was Rattie’s league-leading 38th goal of the season, and the Hawks took the 2-1 lead into the second period.
Just 54 seconds into the second with the Hawks killing a penalty, Taylor Peters sprung loose for a breakaway and made a great move to beat Rockets netminder Adam Brown and give the Hawks a 3-1 lead. Portland went ahead 4-1 with another shorthanded goal at the 6:38 mark when Rattie fed Oliver Gabriel on a two-on-one, who slid it past Brown for his second of the season, a lead Portland took into the third period.
Kelowna cut Portland’s lead to 4-2 with a power play goal from Brett Lyon at the 8:33 mark of the third period, but that would be as close as they would get.
Rattie finished with three points on the night, keeping him in the league lead with 76 on the season. Joe Morrow added two assists in the win.
Mac Carruth picked up his 25th win of the season in net for the Hawks, stopping 33 of 35 shots.
Portland was 2-5 on the power play and 5-6 on the penalty kill, with two shorthanded goals.
Along with Reid, Wednesday’s game also marked the Winterhawks debut for Marcel Noebels, who was acquired from Seattle yesterday prior to the league’s trade deadline.
The Hawks and Rockets meet again on Friday in the Rose Garden at 7 p.m., when the team hosts its annual Mascot Night. Nearly 20 local mascots will be in attendance to entertain fans and play hockey during the first intermission.