The Portland Winterhawks (33-27-4-0) earned an important 5-3 win over the Tri-City Americans (30-31-2-1) Friday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in front of 7,498 fans.
The victory kept the Hawks in third in the U.S. Division and moved them seven points ahead of the ninth place Americans in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Hawks struck first 14:27 into the game on a power play when Ryan Hughes banged in a rebound to make it 1-0. Portland extended it at 18:25 when Dominic Turgeon got around a defenseman and went top shelf over the shoulder of Tri-Cities netminder Evan Sarthou for a 2-0 lead. The Americans got one back at 18:56 when Michael Rasmussen scored to cut Portland’s advantage to 2-1 heading into the second.
Portland regained a two-goal lead 4:18 into the second when Keegan Iverson drove to the net to create a chance, with Cody Glass knocking in a rebound to make it 3-1. The Americans got back within one at 5:46 when Tyler Sandhu scored to cut their deficit to 3-2, but once again the Hawks responded as Blake Heinrich scored at 8:54 to extend the lead to 4-2. For Heinrich, it pushed his goal streak to three games.
For the third time though, Tri-Cities cut a two-goal Portland lead to one when Vladislav Lukin scored at 11:55 to as they brought the score to 4-3, which stood heading into the third period.
After seven combined goals in the first two periods, neither team hit the back of the net in the third until 54.3 seconds remained, when Heinrich scored into an empty net give the Hawks a 5-3 win.
He finished with two goals and an assist, the second time in three games he’s had two goals after never having done so previously with the Hawks.
Rodrigo Abols finished with three assists in the win.
Adin Hill was again solid in net, with 27 saves on 30 shots.
The Hawks will be back in action tomorrow when they travel to Seattle to take on the Thunderbirds at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised live on Portland’s CW 32.