(ISN) – Paul Bittner had a hat trick as the Portland Winterhawks (22-18-0-3) toppled the Spokane Chiefs (22-15-3-0) 5-3 Friday.
The Hawks opened the scoring midway through the first when Bittner pounced on a rebound and beat Spokane netminder Garret Hughson for a 1-0 lead. The Chiefs’ Liam Stewart tied it at the 15:54 mark, but just 41 seconds later Oliver Bjorkstrand blew past a Spokane defenseman and went high over Hughson to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead they took into the second.
Spokane’s Adam Helewka tied the game with a power play goal 6:43 into the second, but Portland regained the lead 1:35 later when Anton Cederholm popped a wrist shot past Hughson to make it 3-2, which remained the score going into the third.
Helewka struck again for his second of the night 7:49 into the third to even the game at 3-3, but later in the period with the Hawks shorthanded, Bittner carried the puck into the Chiefs’ zone on a 2-on-1, and snapped a shot past Hughson as Portland regained a lead at 4-3.
With under a minute to go and the Spokane net empty for an extra attacker, Bittner collected the puck and fired it into the open cage to complete the hat trick and give Portland a 5-3 victory.
In addition to Bittner’s hat trick, Bjorkstrand had four points in the win and De Leo finished with two assists.
Adin Hill picked up the win in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots. He also picked up an assist to gain his first career point. Hughson allowed four goals on 35 shots, with the Hawks adding an empty netter.
The Hawks are back in action tomorrow when they host the Vancouver Giants at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m.