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Another shutout for Carruth, Winterhawks


The Portland Winterhawks played their 53rd of 72 regular-season games Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

They beat the Spokane Chiefs 4-0.

They added to their team record with their 11th shutout of the season.

Mac Carruth extended his franchise single-season mark by getting his 10th shutout.

Defenseman Troy Rutkowski tied Andrew Ference for the club record of 221 consecutive games played.

The Hawks improved to 43-7-1-2, the best record in the Western Hockey League.

Portland reached 89 points, four better than its closest rival — B.C. Division leader Kelowna, which won 5-0 at home over Vancouver and climbed to 40-10-3-1, 84 points.

The Winterhawks' lead in the U.S. Division remained at 24 points over Tri-City, a 4-3 overtime winner at Seattle.

The Hawks outshot Spokane 21-1 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead on goals by Taylor Leier and Brendan Leipsic. Leier's 20th goal of the season came 14:22 into the game, while Leipsic converted a power play with 17 seconds left in the frame.

Leipsic scored 1:35 into the second period (his 36th goal of the season), and Oliver Bjorkstrand nailed his 22nd at 15:47 of the third period.

Carruth stopped 26 shots, and the Portland penalty kill was 2 for 2.

The Hawks, playing before an announced crowd of 9,079, were 1 for 6 with the man advantage.

Defensemen Troy Rutkowski and Seth Jones each had two assists.

Portland's next game is back at the coliseum at 7 p.m. Wednesday versus Calgary. The Hitmen are third in the WHL Eastern Conference and second at 33-16-1-3, 70 points, 11 behind defending WHL champion and Central Division leader Edmonton. The Hitmen lost 2-0 Friday at Prince Albert, which leads the East Division with 64 points (30-18-1-3).