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Despite rally, Winterhawks lose at home for first time since Sept. 29

Nearly two periods of questionable calls, bad breaks and unforgiving bounces had finally weakened Mac Carruth's composure Friday night.

So, when Tri-City's Jesse Mychan successfully embellished a high-sticking penalty, earning his team a power play after already building a three-goal lead, Portland's netminder skated out of his crease to talk about the flamboyant behavior.

Words turned to fists, resulting in the rare but entertaining goalie-involved fight — and finally giving 6,055 Rose Garden fans something to celebrate after almost 40 minutes of frustration.

There was only more disappointment when two third-period goals nearly completed a comeback, but the Hawks lost 3-2 to the Americans, who ended Portland's 12-game home winning streak.

“At that point in the game, things weren't really going my way,” Carruth said, of his talk with Mychan. “So I decided to take it into my own hands.”

The 20-year-old goalie was only one of many foiled Hawks, who hadn't lost at home since Sept. 29.

Portland out-shot Tri-City 46-13. But the posts, crossbar and Americans keeper Luke Lee-Knight, making his second start of the season, were unforgiving for much of the game.

And Hawks coach Travis Green said this was a game his team deserved to win.

“There's some games you're going to win that you don't deserve,” said Green, who suffered his first loss since taking over for Portland's suspended coach, Mike Johnston. “There's some games that you don't deserve to lose. I would chalk this up as one of those games that we probably should have got a point out of. And I'd say nine times out of 10, you probably get a win.”

The teams will meet again at 5 p.m. Sunday at Kennewick, Wash., after Portland plays a 7 p.m. Saturday game in Kent, Wash., against Seattle on the Winterhawks' three-game weekend.

Tri-City's thievery in Friday's game occurred even in the final moments. Portland's Brendan Leipsic fed the puck across the crease to Nic Petan, staring at a wide-open net and a chance to tie the game. But as Petan one-timed the pass, Lee-Knight stretched his leg to the far post, stoning the shot with less than 20 seconds to play.

“We played really well,” said Petan, whose 17th goal of the season midway through the third period pulled the Winterhawks within one goal of Tri-City. “Their goalie played unreal. I don't think we could have done anything different besides bury those chances.”

Things didn't go the Hawks' way in more ways than one, and Mychan wasn't the only Americans player to fool the refs with a Broadway show.

Shortly after Portland's Taylor Leier drew a double minor for high sticking, vilified teammate Tyler Wotherspoon was thrown in the box for a non-existent check-to-the-head, giving the Americans a 5-on-3.

Tri-City quickly capitalized, scoring two goals in just over a minute, to take a 3-0 lead late in the second period.

“The (Wotherspoon) penalty obviously wasn't one,” Green said. “He didn't touch his head, so I can't be frustrated with (him for) that.”

But a sense of resiliency would soon evolve.

The momentum shifted five minutes into the third period, when Ty Rattie scored in the slot on assist from Leipsic and Seth Jones, cutting the deficit to 3-1.

“The turning point was out first goal,” Petan said. “Once we get our first goal, our team knows we can keep going and there's no stopping after that.”

But the Canadian Hockey League's second-ranked team was stopped, and dropped to 23-5-1-0, while suffering its third home loss of the year.

“I really liked our third period,” Green said. “We threw the kitchen sink at them and just came up short.”