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Winterhawks break records in shootout win at Seattle; Everett will be playoff foe


KENT, Wash. — The Portland Winterhawks broke two records Saturday night, as they fought off the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-5 in a six-round shootout.

The Hawks (56-12-1-2) climbed to a 115 points, two better than the previous franchise record set by the 1980-81 team.

Portland also set a Western Hockey League record with its 29th road victory of the season.

The Winterhawks, who have the WHL's best record, have one game left before the playoffs — a 5 p.m. Sunday match against the Spokane Chiefs in the Rose Garden.

Seattle (24-39-7-2) got one point for the shootout loss and locked down the No. 7 spot in the WHL postseason.

That means the Everett Silvertips, who are in eighth place, will be Portland's first-round opponent.

The best-of-seven first-round series will start in Portland, with games one and two at 7 p.m. at the Rose Garden on Friday and Saturday. Games three and four will be at Everett at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 29. Game five, if necessary, would be at Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30. Game six would be at Everett at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1. A game seven would take place at Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3.

In Saturday's game at ShoWare Center, Portland's Nic Petan had a goal and four assists, and he moved into a tie with teammate Brendan Leipsic for the WHL scoring lead.

Petan and Leipsic, who had a goal and an assist on Saturday, each have 120 points.

Teammate Ty Rattie is third in the WHL with 107 points, one more than Colin Smith of Kamloops, who has completed the 72-game schedule, and four more than Tri-City's Justin Feser, who has one game remaining.

Leipsic has 49 goals and 71 assists, Petan 46 goals and 74 assists and Rattie 47 goals and 60 assists.

Portland and Seattle had played a fight-filled game on Friday at the Rose Garden, with the Hawks pulling away in the third period to win 8-4.

On Saturday, it was the second period that had most of the scoring fireworks — six goals, including three by Roberts Lipsbergs of Seattle. Those goals helped the T-Birds get to within 5-4 going into the final period.

With 1:02 left in regulation, Lipsberg tallied his fourth goal of the night.

In the shootout, the teams were tied 1-1 through the initial three rounds. Both teams missed in rounds four and five. In the sixth round, Chase De Leo scored the game-winner.

Brendan Burke went the distance in goal, making 35 saves.

Seattle used two goalies, who made a total of 38 saves before the crowd of 5,529 at ShoWare Center.

Spokane comes into the regular-season finale having secured fourth place in the Western Conference. The Chiefs are 44-25-2-0, 90 points) and have won five games in a row, with a 9-1-0-0 record in their last 10 games.

The other Western Conference first-round pairings: Spokane vs. No. 5 Tri-City, No. 2 Kelowna vs. Seattle and No. 3 Kamloops vs. No. 6 Victoria.

All four West series will begin on Friday.