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Winterhawks win, clinch home ice in playoffs
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA With four games left in the regular season, the Portland Winterhawks have clinched home-ice advantage throughout the Western Hockey League playoffs.
The Hawks guaranteed themselves the best regular-season record as they beat the Victoria Royals 5-2 Sunday.
Portland's 53-12-1-2 record (109 points) earns the Scotty Munro Trophy, which goes each year to the WHL team with the best regular-season mark. It's the first time the Winterhawks have captured the trophy since 1997-98, when they totaled 111 points and went on to win the Memorial Cup.
Sunday's victory was wire-to-wire. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 3:34 into the game, Chase De Leo got his first of three goals midway into the second period, and Seth Jones scored to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead at the 13:08 mark of the middle frame.
After a goal by Victoria, De Leo scored at 10:54 of the third period. The Royals got another goal at 18:39, and De Leo found an empty net in the closing moments for his first hat trick.
Brendan Burke got the win, making 27 saves. Victory goalie Coleman Vollrath stopped 39 shots.
The Hawks and Royals will play again at 7 p.m. Tuesday.