Winterhawks top T-Birds
A big second period and a solid outing from goalie Cole Kehler produced a 4-1 win for the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Cody Glass, Keoni Texeira, Ryan Hughes and Skyler McKenzie scored for Portland, and Kehler stopped 28 of 29 shots in the Western Hockey League win as 6,058 watched at ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington.
With their sixth win in their last seven games, the Winterhawks improved to 34-18-1-3 for 72 points. Portland is second in the U.S. Division, two points back of Everett.
The Thunderbirds are 27-19-6-2 for 62 points and hold the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
After a scoreless first period, the Winterhawks took control with three goals in the second period. It started just seven seconds into the period with the 27th goal of the season for Glass. The power-play goal started with a faceoff win at center ice and Dennis Cholowski skating up the left wing then sending a cross-ice pass to the open Glass near the right-wing post.
The second Portland goal was set up by a skate-around by Hughes, who was able to draw two Thunderbirds' attention and drop the puck to Texeira, who skated into the right wing circle and whipped a shot inside the left post for his eighth goal of the season.
Texeira and Hughes traded roles on the third goal, which came seconds after a Portland power play expired. Hughes ripped a one-timer off a Texeira pass from the wall side of the right-wing circle.
After Portland dictated play during the second period, Seattle found some third-period momentum and pulled within 3-1 on the first career goal from 16-year-old rookie Graeme Bryks 4:40 into the final period.
Bryks, skating up the left wing, took a cross-ice feed on the rush from Noah Philp and beat Kehler.
The goal gave Seattle life and the Thunderbirds kept pushing. But Kehler made nine saves in the third period.
An empty-net goal for McKenzie after Portland won a faceoff in its own zone sealed the win with 1:17 on the clock. It was McKenzie's team-leading 41st goal of the season.
Portland is 5-0-1-1 against Seattle this season.
The teams play again on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum.