(ISN) – Sven Bartschi scored four goals Saturday as the Portland Winterhawks (46-15-3-1) solidified their grip on first place with a 7-3 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds (21-41-1-1) Saturday in front of 6,456 fans at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The win gives Portland 96 points this season, moving them three points ahead of the Tri-City Americans for first place in the WHL. The Americans are in action tonight in Everett.
It was Bartschi’s first career four-goal game, his second hat trick of the season and the 10th hat trick by a Hawks player this season.
It was also the third straight home game played in front of a crowd of 6,000+, and improved the Hawks to 12-0-1-0 in their last 13 games.
The Hawks scored the lone goal of the first at the 15:24 mark while shorthanded, when Bartschi stripped the puck from a Seattle Thunderbird in the neutral zone, brought the puck into the Seattle zone and beat netminder Calvin Pickard to make it 1-0.
From there the game opened up, with the two teams combining for five second period goals, including three from Portland.
Seattle evened the game at 1-1 at the 7:45 mark of the second on a goal by Connor Sanvido, but one minute later the Hawks regained the lead with a power play goal from Cam Reid to go up 2-1.
They extended the lead at the 10:38 mark when Bartschi scored his second of the game to go up 3-1. Seattle got one back at the 13:25 mark with a power play goal from former Hawk Seth Swenson, but just 31 seconds later Ty Rattie carried the puck into the Seattle zone on an odd-man rush and fired it top shelf over Pickard’s shoulder to give Portland a 4-2 lead they took into the third period.
At the 2:29 mark of the third, Bartschi scored a shorthanded goal to complete the hat trick. He added his fourth of the game on a power play at the 10:44 mark, his 31st of the season. The Thunderbirds got one back at the 11:22 mark from Burke Gallimore to make it 6-3, but at the 16:25 mark Derrick Pouliot fired a blast from the point past Pickard to make it 7-3.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net for Portland, stopping 25 of 28 shots.
The Hawks are back in action tomorrow at 5 p.m. when they host the Tri-City Americans at the Rose Garden. It will be the second game in three nights between the two teams, and could once again determine first place in the WHL.