PORTLAND -- Brendan Leipsic had a hat trick to lead the Portland Winterhawks (55-12-1-2) to an 8-4 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds (24-38-7-2) Friday at the Rose Garden in front of a sellout crowd of 10,947.
With the win the Hawks have 113 points on the season, tying the franchise record set in the 1980-81 season, with two games remaining to break the record.
The Hawks opened with two goals from Leipsic in the first period, first at the 11:51 mark then at the 17:13 mark after stripping the puck from a Thunderbird to take a 2-0 lead. Seattle got one back late in the first on a power play goal by Seth Swenson with just over 19 seconds remaining to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The teams exchanged several goals quickly in the second, beginning 1:20 into the frame when Seattle’s Justin Hickman scored to make it 2-2. The Hawks regained the lead 1:30 later when Ty Rattie beat Seattle netminder Danny Mumaugh with a shot from the slot to give Portland a 3-2 lead, but the Thunderbirds again tied it just 38 seconds later on a goal by Adam Kambeitz. It remained 3-3 until 2:01 remained in the period, when Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 30th goal of the season to make it 4-3 Portland going into the third.
Leipsic completed the hat trick 3:58 into the third with a shorthanded goal to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead. It was his second hat trick of the season after a four-goal game against Everett on December 4. Later in the period with the Hawks on a 5-on-3 power play, Rattie scored his second of the game to make it 6-3 at 12:34 mark, then they extended it to 7-3 on a goal by Tyler Wotherspoon while still on the power play.
Seattle got one back from Roberts Lipsbergs at the 14:25 mark to make it 7-4, then Portland’s Joey Baker scored his first of the season on a power play at the 19:20 mark to round out the scoring in an 8-4 win.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net with 31 saves on 35 shots. Mumaugh took the loss for Seattle, allowing eight goals 36 shots.
In addition to Leipsic’s hat trick, Rattie, Troy Rutkowski and Nic Petan all finished with three points apiece.
The Hawks were 3-8 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill.
The Hawks are in Seattle tomorrow night with a chance to win their 29th road game of the season, which set a new WHL record. They round out the regular season Sunday at 5 p.m. against the Spokane Chiefs in the Rose Garden.