Winterhawks score twice in the third period to topple Americans 6-4, take WHL lead

KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Portland Winterhawks scored twice in the third period to take a 6-4 win at Tri-City on Friday night, vaulting Portland to the top spot in the Western Hockey League standings.

Taylor Leier scored both late goals, getting the winner at 3:23 and adding an empty-netter with 16 seconds to play.

Brad Ross also tallied two goals in the win, while Oliver Gabriel picked up three assists.

The Winterhawks out shot Tri-City 39-26, giving up only seven shots over the final 20 minutes.

Portland goalie Mac Carruth finished with 22 saves, and the Winterhawks killed all four Tri-City power plays.

Portland leads the WHL with a 45-15-3-1 record and 94 points, although only two points (one win) separate the top three teams in the Western Conference standings. Tri-City also has played 64 games and has 93 points (45-16-1-2). B.C. Division leader Kamloops which lost 6-3 at home to Kelowna on Friday, has 92 points in 65 games and is 44-17-1-3.

In the WHL Eastern Conference, Edmonton leads with 91 points in 64 games (42-15-3-4).

Ross; first goal gave Portland a 1-0 lead on Friday, but Tri-City led 2-1 after one period.

In the second period, Chase De Leo and Sven Bartschi scored 1:25 apart to give the Hawks a 3-2 edge. It was Bartschi's 27th goal of the season.

Ross got his 38th goal at 11:37 to make it three in a row for Portland and give the visitors a 4-2 lead. But Tri-City answered with two goals and made it a 4-4 game going into the final 20 minutes.

The Winterhawks host Seattle at 3 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Coliseum and will face Tri-City at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Rose Garden.

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