In the second of back-to-back games between the top two teams in the Western Conference, Nic Petan had a hat trick as the Portland Winterhawks (45-8-1-2) defeated the Kelowna Rockets (40-13-3-1) 5-1 Saturday.
The back-to-back wins in Kelowna over the last two nights moved the Hawks nine points ahead of the Rockets for top spot in the Western Conference, while Portland moved six points ahead of the idle Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s overall standings.
The top line of Petan, Brendan Leipsic and Ty Rattie were dominant throughout the night, combining for 10 points in the win. Petan and Leipsic are both closing in on 100 points, with Petan leading the league with 98 points and Leipsic right behind him with 97 points. Rattie is fourth in the WHL with 81 points.
Like they did in last night’s win, the Hawks struck early, as just 1:21 into the game Petan scored to give Portland an early 1-0 lead. They extended the lead at the 13:44 mark when Petan struck again, this time shorthanded, as the Hawks took a 2-0 lead into the second.
Petan completed the hat trick just 1:04 into the second period, which was also his 40th goal of the season. Midway through the period Rattie scored on a power play to make it 4-0, then Leipsic got in on the scoring at the 15:44 mark to give Portland a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Kelowna replaced starting netminder Jordon Cooke at the start of the third with backup Jackson Whistle, then got on the board with a goal from Colton Sissons at the 13:01 mark to make it 5-1, but that would be it for scoring.
For Petan it was his second career hat trick, as he had four goals last season in Seattle in an 11-3 win on March 10, 2012. Rattie had four points on the game with three assists to go with his goal. Leipsic had three points with a goal and two asissts. He has a 10-game point streak, including six straight multi-point games.
Mac Carruth picked up the win for Portland with 31 saves on 32 shots. Cooke allowed five goals on 23 shots through two periods, while Whistle stopped all 12 Portland shots he faced in the third period.
The Hawks were 1-6 on the power play and a perfect 4-4 on the penalty kill.
The Hawks are back in action with a 2 p.m. matinee game on Monday in Vancouver against the Giants. Because of the early start, that game will be heard on KKOV 1550 AM.