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Winterhawks' streak at 9; Hawks down Brandon 5-2

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: ADAM WICKHAM - Portland Winterhawks captain Taylor Leier skates in on the Brandon Wheat Kings net as the Hawks win 5-2 Wednesday night at Moda Center.SCORE

PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS 5, Brandon Wheat Kings 2

WHEN, WHERE, ATTENDANCE

Wednesday night, Moda Center, 4,794

HIGHLIGHTS

The Hawks fired 53 shots -- a season-high by five -- and needed only 52 seconds to score the game's first goal for a lead they never relinquished.

Chase De Leo and Nic Petan scored short-handed goals in the opening frame, as Portland built a 3-0 lead.

Brandon got within 4-1 at 12:23 of the third period, but Portland's Brendan Leipsic answered at 15:51.

The final Wheat Kings goal came 17 seconds later.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Winterhawks have won nine in a row.

Portland reclaimed first place in the Western Hockey League U.S. Division, Western Conference and WHL point race. The Winterhawks have 25 points after 16 games; Eastern Conference leader Calgary has 23 points through 16 games.

TOP PERFORMERS

• Captain Taylor Leier got the opening goal Wednesday night.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: ADAM WICKHAM - Forward Keegan Iverson scored on a rebound in the second period Wednesday night, giving the Portland Winterhawks a 4-0 lead over the Brandon Wheat Kings.• Petan, Keegan Iverson and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had two points. Iverson's rebound goal, the only score of the second period, gave Portland a 4-0 lead.

• Goalie Brendan Burke made 30 saves.

KEY STATS

• Shots: Portland 53, Brandon 34

• WHL scoring leaders: 1st — Mitch Holmberg, Spokane, 18 goals-20 assists-38 points. T2nd — Bjorkstrand 14-18-32 and Petan 10-22-32. 4th — Sam Reinhart, Kootenay 9-19-28. Petan leads the league in assists; Holmberg is second.

TEAM RECORDS

Portland 12-3-1-0 (25 points)

Brandon 7-9-0-0 (14 points, 10th in the 12-team Eastern Conference)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

STANDINGS

Portland 12-3-0-1 (25) (U.S. Division leader)

Kelowna 9-2-0-2 (20) (B.C. Division leader)

Seattle 11-3-0-2 (24)

Everett 10-2-2-0 (22)

Spokane 11-5-0-0 (22)

Victoria 9-7-0-1 (19)

Tri-City 8-8-0-1 (17)

Prince George 7-8-1-2 (17)

Vancouver 6-9-1-1 (14)

Kamloops 5-10-1-0 (11)

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: ADAM WICKHAM - Defenseman Derrick Pouliot fires a shot in the Portland Winterhawks' ninth consecutive Western Hockey League victory.NEXT

The Winterhawks play at 7 p.m. Friday at Seattle's ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. (KPAM 860 AM).

The Thunderbirds are coming off a 4-2 home-ice win over Brandon on Tuesday.