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Winterhawks return with 6-3 win

by: JAIME VALDEZ Winterhawks defenseman Joe Morrow celebrates scoring the first goal of Wednesday's 6-3 win over Victoria at the Rose Garden.

The holiday break didn't hurt the Portland Winterhawks.

The Hawks outshot the Victoria Royals 54-32 Wednesday night and won 6-3 before an announced crowd of 8,049 at the Rose Garden.

The teams will meet again at the Rose Garden on Friday, with a 7 p.m. face-off. Portland then plays host to Seattle at 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

Brad Ross scored two goals, including one that put the Winterhawks ahead for good late in the first period.

Joe Morrow scored the game's opening goal, his 10th of the season, at 2:02 and added two assists, and Seth Swenson had two assists for Portland (22-11-2-1, 47 points).

Goalie Mac Carruth posted his 21st win and made 29 saves to pass the 3,000 mark in his Western Hockey League career.

Portland was 5 for 6 on the penalty kill and 2 of 3 on power plays.

Ross' first goal, his 23rd of the season, gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead at 18:04 of the opening frame.

In the second period, Portland increased its edge to 4-1 on goals by Chase De Leo and Taylor Peters at 13:14 and 13:36. Swenson assisted on both scores; Taylor Leier also had an assist on De Leo's goal, and Joey Baker got a point on the Peters score.

After a goal by Victoria, Leier hit on his eighth goal of the season to put Portland on top 5-2 going into the third period.

The Royals scored at 3:37 but couldn't do any further damage, and Ross scored on a power play at 5:24.

Victoria fell to 13-21-2-2 (30 points).

It was the Hawks' first game since Dec. 17.