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On eve of long road trip, Portland rallies to beat Saskatoon

by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Chase De Leo, Portland Winterhawks center, rushes up the ice in Tuesday's 7-6 shootout victory over Saskatoon.

The Portland Winterhawks worked overtime Tuesday, and got a win at the Memorial Coliseum as the Western Hockey League team prepares for a nine-game road trip.

The Winterhawks (6-4-1-0) scored three third-period goals in a wild comeback to force a shootout, where they scored on all three attempts to pick up a 7-6 win over visiting Saskatoon (7-2-0-1).

Derrick Pouliot, Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi each scored in the shootout to give the Hawks the victory. Meanwhile, Brad Ross had four points on the night for Portland, with two goals and two assists.

Portland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with two goals 1:24 apart, beginning at the 14:05 mark with a shorthanded marker from Ross, followed by Brendan Leipsic's second goal of the season. The Blades got one back before the end of the period, as Matej Stransky scored at the 17:19 mark to cut Portland's lead to 2- 1 heading into the second.

Saskatoon made it 3-2 early in the second on goals by Brent Benson, followed by a Josh Nicholls power-play goal. Nicholls found the back of the net again later in the period at the 13:46 mark to give the Blades a 4-2 lead. But the Hawks pulled back to within one at the 17:41 mark when Ty Rattie scored in a goalmouth scramble, his ninth of the season, as they cut the Blades' lead to 4-3 heading into the third period.

Thirty-one seconds into the third, Nicholls scored to complete the hat trick and put the Blades up 5-3. The Winterhawks got back within one at the 7:40 mark when Ross scored his second of the game, this time on a power play, to make it 5-4.

Just 1:03 later Nicholls scored his fourth of the night to give Saskatoon a 6- 4 lead, but again the Hawks answered back, as just under two minutes later Portland defenseman Troy Rutkowski scored a power-play goal on a blast from the point to make it a 6-5 game. The Hawks then tied it at the 14:31 mark when Joe Morrow scored on a highlight-reel end-to-end rush to even the game at 6-6, which would stand through regulation, sending the game to overtime.

Neither team scored in the extra frame, setting up the shootout and the dramatic win.

The Winterhawks were 2 of 5 on the power play.

The Hawks leave Wednesday morning for their longest trip of the season, a nine-game trek through the WHL's six-team Central Division, followed by one game in Kamloops and two in Kelowna.

The Hawks' next home games are back-to-back contests against the Spokane Chiefs on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12 at the Rose Garden.