Winterhawks win 13th straight with late flurry
Make that 13 in a row for the Portland Winterhawks.
Friday night's victim was Spokane, which played the Hawks to a 2-2 tie until Portland scored three goals in a 1:39 span in the final five minutes to claim a 5-2 victory at the Rose Garden.
Mac Carruth added to his franchise record for career wins, getting his 107th with 24 saves.
Troy Rutkowski had two assists and Portland's final goal, at 16:45, before the announced crowd of 8,378.
The Chiefs took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Chase De Leo's unassisted score at 6:44 pulled Portland even.
Then it was Brendan Leipsic, scoring his 27th goal of the season, who gave the Winterhawks the lead for good with a power-play strike off assists from Rutkowski and Nicolas Petan at 15:06.
Presten Kopeck, fed by Rutkowski and Olvier Bjorkstrand, made it 4-2 Portland at 15:23, while the teams were at even strength.
Rutkowski's goal, his 13th of the season, came off a pass from Taylor Peters.
Portland's other goal was the game's first. It came at 14:59 of the opening period by Petan. It was his 28th goal of the season. Leipsic and Ty Rattie earned assists on the play.
The Winterhawks, who have the best record in the Western Hockey League, stretched their lead in the U.S. Division over second-place Spokane to 18 points.
Portland improved to 36-5-1-0 (73 points), while the Chiefs dropped to 27-14-1-0 (55).
The Hawks have a nine-point lead on the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, Kelowna, which is 31-10-1-1.
Leipsic has scored in 11 consecutive games and has six goals and 14 assists in that stretch.
Next up for Portland is a 7 p.m. Saturday road game at Everett.