Hawks rip Seattle before more than 21,000 (10,249 of them stuffed animals)
Before a sellout crowd of 10,947 people and 10,249 stuffed animals, the Portland Winterhawks made the Seattle Thunderbirds their ninth straight home-ice victim.
The Hawks tied their season high for goals as they blasted the T-Birds 7-1 at the Rose Garden.
It was the home team's annal Teddy Bear Toss game, with fans prepared to throw bears and other soft animal toys onto the ice as soon as Portland scored its first goal.
That didn't take long.
After 2:52 of play, Hawks forward Ty Rattie connected, and brought forth the donations that will go to children in local hospitals or go to charities in the area. While the animals were picked up, a local couple got married in a hockey-themed wedding ceremony at center ice.
Rattie added three assists, as Portland set a season high for shots with 60 and improved to 19-9-1-1.
Seattle fell to 11-14-0-1.
The Winterhawks remained two points behind U.S. Division leader Tri-City, though, as the Americans nipped Everett 4-3 in a shootout Saturday. Portland has 40 points, while Tri-City has 42 (21-7-0-0). Both the Hawks and Americans are 8-2-0-0 in their past 10 games.
Portland had 29 shots in the first period and took a 4-0 lead. Defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon put the Hawks up 2-0 at the 4:42 mark on a shot from the right faceoff circle. And Taylor Leier scored twice in the period.
Midway through the second period, with the Hawks on a 5-on-3 power play, defenseman Joe Morrow fired a slapshot that beat Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard and gave the Winterhawks a 5-0 edge.
Portland made it 6-0 with another power-play goal by Brad Ross at 16:43.
Seattle made a goaltending change to open the third period, replacing Pickard with Daniel Cotton. The Thunderbirds got on the board with a goal from Burke Gallimore at 4:31.
Portland forward Joey Baker scored his first Western Hockey League goal on a power play at 18:09.
The Hawks were 4 of 8 on power plays and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill.
Mac Carruth picked up the win with 26 saves.
The Hawks open a four-game trip with games Tuesday and Wednesday at Prince George (9-18-0-2, 20 points).