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Kamloops scissors Hawks' win streak, 6-4

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — It had to end sometime, right?

And it figured to happen against a very good team, probably on that team's home ice.

And so it happened Friday night to the Portland Winterhawks, who had their 12-game winning streak snapped by the potent Kamloops Blazers.

Kamloops held off Portland's bid to tie the game in the third period, scored into an empty net with five seconds to go and beat the Hawks 6-4.

Portland had downed the Blazers 3-1 at Memorial Coliseum five nights earlier.

The teams are battling for the best record in the Western Hockey League. Kamlooks has 37 points in 24 games, with an 18-5-0-0 record. Portland has 33 points in 21 games, and is 16-4-1-0. Kamloops leads the B.C. Division of the Western Conference by 11 points over Kelowna, which has played 21 games. Portland has a three-point lead in the U.S. Division over Tri-City, which has played 23 games.

The Blazers led the rematch 3-1 after the first period. Second-period goals by Nic Petan and Brendan Leipsic plueed the Hawks even, but Kamloops scored at 17:13 to take a 4-3 edge into the final 20 minutes.

Kamloops made it 5-3 at 3:57 of the third period. Troy Rutkowski scored for Portland at 5:21. But that was it for Portland, which finished 0 for 3 on the power play and didn't get one in the third period.

Taylor Peters had Portland's first goal, and Leipsic had two assists before the crowd of 4,945. Leipsic has scored in nine consecutive games, with nine goals and 12 assists in that streak.

Rutkowski played in his 300th career game. He needs 26 more to tie the franchise record set by Kevin Haupt.

Winterhawks goalie Mac Carruth faced 27 shots, while Portland fired 34 at Kamloops' Cole Cheveldave.

The Hawks play host to Medicine Hat at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Gard