(ISN) – The Portland Winterhawks (38-15-2-1) pulled into a tie for first in the U.S. Division with a 5-3 win over the visiting Tri-City Americans (38-15-1-2) Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in front of 2,982 fans.
The Winterhawks and Americans both have 79 points on the season, and for the Hawks, it was their third straight win over their divisional rivals.
It was also a historic night for Winterhawks netminder Mac Carruth, who picked up his 35th win of the season in net, tying the franchise record for wins in a season by a goaltender. It’s a mark that was originally set by Brent Belecki during the 1997-98 Memorial Cup season. It was also Carruth’s 80th career win, which passes Belecki and gives Carruth sole possession of second place among Hawks goalies in career wins. Darrell May, Sr. holds the career mark with 105.
The Hawks came out of the gates blazing, registering the first 13 shots of the game and a 25-7 advantage overall in the first period. They opened the scoring with an early power play goal, as Ty Rattie fed a pass to Sven Bartschi, who beat Tri-Cities netminder Ty Rimmer to make it 1-0 at the 3:17 mark. Oliver Gabriel then put the Hawks up 2-0 at the 8:48 mark when he buried a rebound for his 11th goal of the season.
But the Americans got two goals 51 seconds apart later in the period, first on a shorthanded goal by Brendan Shinnimin, then a power play marker from Jordan Messier, to tie the game at 2-2 going into the second period.
Portland regained the lead 5:06 into the second when Marcel Noebels scored to give the Hawks a 3-2 advantage. Later in the period the Hawks forced a three-on-one, with defenseman Troy Rutkowski converting the odd man rush to give Portland a 4-2 lead at the 14:28 mark.
The Hawks got one more before the end of the period on a power play, when a Brad Ross pass banked off a Tri-Cities player into the Americans’ net with 34.3 seconds remaining in the frame to give Portland a 5-2 lead going into the third. For Ross, it was the 100th goal of his WHL career.
The score remained 5-2 for most of the third, until the Americans got a late goal as the Hawks finished with the 5-3 win.
Gabriel extended his scoring streak to eight games, while Bartschi and Ross each have seven-game streaks.
The Hawks return to action Friday night in Everett at 7:35, then return home for a game against Seattle on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Coliseum’s curtains will be open for that game, allowing the sun into the arena bowl.