PORTLAND -- The Portland Winterhawks (33-5-1-0) won their 10th straight game with a 5-3 win over the visiting Everett Silvertips (16-24-0-2) Saturday at the Rose Garden in front of 8,252 fans.
The Hawks moved seven points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets for top spot overall in the WHL with two games in hand on the Rockets and three on the Blazers.
Everett opened the scoring 6:57 into the game when Manraj Hayer scored shorthanded to make it 1-0, but just 37 seconds later Winterhawks defenseman Troy Rutkowski fired a blast from the point that beat Silvertips netminder Austin Lotz to even the game at 1-1. The Hawks then took the lead at the 10:56 mark when Nic Petan scored on a power play to make it 2-1, which remained the score going into the second period.
The Silvertips’ Josh Winquist tied the game at 2-2 at the 5:27 mark of the second, then Everett took a 3-2 lead 50 seconds later on a goal by Logan Aasman. Once again though the lead was short-lived, as just over a minute later Portland tied the game when Brendan Leipsic scored on a shot from the right faceoff circle to make it 3-3, rounding out the scoring for the period.
The Hawks regained the lead early in the third when Paul Bittner scored 2:07 into the frame to put Portland ahead 4-3. Bittner later sealed the win when he scored with just over two minutes remaining to give Portland the 5-3 victory.
Bittner, Leipsic and Petan all finished with three points apiece. With 67 points on the season, Petan is just one point behind Kamloops’s Colin Smith for top spot overall in WHL scoring, while Leipsic is third with 65 points.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net with 23 saves on 26 shots, while Lotz took the loss for Everett with five goals allowed on 37 Portland shots.
The Hawks were 2-3 on the power play and a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill.
The Hawks return to the ice with back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Prince George Cougars at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.