(ISN) – Paul Bittner had a hat trick and five points as the Portland Winterhawks (39-20-2-3) defeated the Tri-City Americans (28-35-0-3) 6-2 Saturday at the Moda Center in front of 10,390 fans.
Bittner’s three goals and two assists gave him a career-high five points to lead the Hawks in the victory.
Portland opened the scoring 7:29 into the game when Oliver Bjorkstrand fed Bittner in the slot, who beat netminder Evan Sarthou for a 1-0 lead. Portland struck again at 11:59 on a power play when Bittner made a great feed down low to Chase De Leo, who banged it in for a 2-0 advantage.
The Americans got one back when Richard Nejezchleb scored a power play goal at 15:21 to cut the lead to 2-1, but the Hawks got it right back just over a minute later on a power play of their own when Bittner redirected a puck past Sarthou to make it 3-1, which remained the score going into the second.
Tri-Cities got back within one 42 seconds into the second on a goal by Jordan Topping to cut the Hawks’ lead to 3-2, in what was the lone goal of the period.
It remained a one-goal game until the 10:27 mark of the third, when the Hawks converted on a power play when Nic Petan made a great touch pass to Miles Koules in the slot, who fired it in for a 4-2 lead. They made it a three-goal lead with 3:29 to go when Skyler McKenzie collected the puck in front of the Americans’ net and poked it past Sarthou for a 5-2 lead. Bittner added one more with 1:40 to go for a hat trick and a 6-2 lead that stood as the final.
Along with Bittner’s five points, Nic Petan had three assists, and has 20 helpers in his last six games. Bjorkstrand added two assists, but the only downside if the win was that his record-breaking goal scoring streak was snapped. Bjorkstrand had etched his place in the team’s record book with goals in 12 straight games entering the night. It broke a record that had stood since Tony Currie had an 11-game streak in the team’s inaugural 1976-77 season.
The Hawks will be back in action Wednesday when they travel to Everett to take on the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips.