Gabriel helps Hawks win eighth straight at home
The Portland Winterhawks will carry an eight-game home winning streak into Saturday night's sold-out, Teddy Bear Toss game against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Hawks kept their home streak intact Friday night with a 5-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips before an announced crowd of 6.780 at the Rose Garden.
Portland outscored Everett 3-0 in the third period to secure its 18th win in 29 games (18-9-1-1, 38 points) and keep pace with Tri-City (20-7-0-0, 40 points) in the race for the lead in the Western Hockey League U.S. Division. Tri-City won Friday 4-2 at Seattle (11-12-0-1, 23 points in 25 games). Everett fell to 5-18-0-4, with 14 points in 27 games.
Ten Winterhawks had at least one of the team's 12 points as the team improved to 3-1 against Everett this season.
Oliver Gabriel, the 20-year-old forward who was returned to Portland earlier in the week, scored the game's first goal 14 minutes into the contest, a power-play tally off an assist from defenseman Derrick Pouliot.
Gabriel assisted on Brendan Leipsic's goal at 3:10 of the second period, as the Hawks took a 2-0 lead.
Gabriel, who has signed with the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, had been playing for the American Hockey League's Springfield (Mass.) Falcons. Friday's game was his first of the 2011-12 season with the Winterhawks. This is Gabriel's fourth season with Portland; in 133 WHL games, he has 28 goals and 41 assists, including 11 goals and 21 assists in 2010-11.
Pouliot matched Gabriel with two points, assisting on a power-play goal at 12:24 of the third period by Sven Bartschi. That gave Portland a 4-1 lead, and Chase De Leo added a marker with 46 seconds remaining.
Portland's other goal came from Taylor Leier at 2:39 of the third frame.
The Winterhawks led 43-23 in shots, although their third-period advantage was only 13-12. Portland killed all five penalties and went 2 for 4 on the power play.
Mac Carruth picked up the win, going the distance in goal.
The Teddy Bear Toss game is 7 tonight at the Rose Garden. Fans will throw teddy bears (or other stuffed animals) onto the ice after the Hawks' first goal, and the toys will be delivered later to hospitalized children or donated to charity. Also, as a first this year, a local couple will get married on the ice as the stuffed animals are picked up.