Portland will play only one more game before Christmas -and it's 7 p.m. Saturday at Spokane. The Hawks return to the ice on Wednesday, Dec. 28, opening a five-game homestand with a game against Victoria at 7 p.m. The same teams will meet again at 7 p.m. Dec. 30, and then comes the annual New Year's Eve home game with Seattle at 8 p.m. Dec. 31. All three games will take place at the Rose Garden.
• If Portland-Tri-City was a best-of-nine playoff series, the Hawks would be eliminated 5-0. Tri-City beat visiting Portland last Sunday for the fifth time in five meetings. The scores have been 6-5, 4-1, 4-0, 7-6 and 3-0, with two of the games in Portland.
The head-to-head results have put the Americans atop the Western Hockey League U.S. Division with 50 points in 32 games (25-7-0-0 record), with the Hawks second at 43 points in 34 games (20-11-2-1), and Spokane lurking in third place at 33 points in 28 games (14-9-2-3). Spokane is 0-3 against the Winterhawks this season, with all the losses (6-5, 4-3, 5-3) coming in Portland.
• Forwards Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi continue to lead the Hawks' offense. Rattie has 59 points (32 goals, 27 assists) in 32 games. Bartschi has 54 points in 25 games (12 goals, 42 assists).
Three of the Winterhawks' top seven scorers are defensemen (Joe Morrow, Derrick Pouliot and Troy Rutkowski).