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Hot Seattle team beats visiting Portland 8-5 behind six-point night for Mathew Barzal

The Seattle Thunderbirds continued their surge on Saturday with an 8-5 win over the visiting Portland Winterhawks at Kent, Washington.

Mathew Barzal had a goal and five assists as Seattle's top line turned in a big performance.

Joachim Blichfeld scored twice for the second consecutive game for Portland, and Jake Gricius, Cody Glass and Skyler McKenzie each had a goal for the Hawks.

Portland is 30-23-1-2 and remains eighth in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. With 63 points from 56 games, the Winterhawks are two points back of third-place Tri-City and eight points up on fifth-place Spokane in the U.S. Division.

Seattle is 35-15-3-2, one point up on Everett atop the division. Ethan Baer had a goal and three assists and Keegan Kolesar had a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds.

McKenzie's goal off a faceoff win by Glass at 11:16 of the third period had the Winterhawks within 6-5. But Ryan Gropp scored 33 seconds later off an assist from Keegan Kolesar to restore the two-goal lead. Gropp's empty-netter with 1:50 remaining closed it out.

Blichfeld scored a pair of goals in the second period after Seattle stretched its lead to three goals.

At 9:16 of the second, he finished a wrap-around chance after exchanging passes behind the net with Ryan Hughes.

At 14:51, he blasted home a one-timer from the left circle off a cross-ice pass from Glass with the Hawks on a power play.

Seattle's second-period goals were a shorthanded goal by Alexander True after Portland's Caleb Jones fell down, and a finish by Kolesar at the end of a two-man advantage for the Thunderbirds. That put Seattle up 5-2 at 7:47 of the second period.

Seattle led 3-2 after one period, thanks to a shot through traffic by Reece Harsh at 18:48.

The game got off to a fast start, with each team scoring twice on its first four shots.

For Portland, Gricius put home a rebound off a Keoni Texeira shot at 4:02, and Glass scored at 5:53. Glass' goal was set up when Brendan De Jong won a battle at neutral ice, skated into the zone and fed Glass.

Barzal had a goal and an assist in the first period for Seattle. The Thunderbirds kept the puck in the Winterhawks' zone for the first 1:39, and ended up with a goal by Tyler Adams. Barzal tied the game at 2-2 at 6:38 off a feed from Gropp.

Portland outshot Seattle 34-28, but the Thunderbirds went 2 for 4 on the power play in addition to the shorthanded goal and scored five times on 27 shots against Cole Kehler.

Portland finished 1 for 5 on the power play.

Next for the Winterhawks is a 2 p.m. Monday game at Kamloops.

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