The Portland Winterhawks (12-3-0-1) extended their winning streak to nine games in a 5-2 win over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings (7-9-0-0) Wednesday at the Moda Center in front of 4,794 fans.
Portland controlled play throughout the game, firing 53 shots in a victory that allowed the Hawks to regain control of first place in the U.S. Division and the Western Conference.
Portland’s Taylor Leier opened the scoring just 52 seconds into the game with a power play goal for an early 1-0 lead, the third straight game the Hawks scored in the first minute of play. Late in the period Chase De Leo and Nic Petan scored shorthanded goals 53 seconds apart to give the home team a 3-0 lead going into the second.
Midway through the second Keegan Iverson was left alone in front of Brandon’s net and banged in a rebound to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead. It was the lone goal of a period in which Portland fired 21 shots at the Wheat Kings.
Brandon got on the board 12:23 into the third on a goal by Rihards Bukarts to make it 4-1. Brendan Leipsic made it a four-goal game once again when he scored his eighth of the season at the 15:51 mark, but the Wheat Kings responded 17 seconds later with a goal from Ryley Lindgren to cut it to 5-2, which would stand as the final.
Iverson, Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand all finished with two points apiece in the win.
Brendan Burke made saves on 32 shots in the victory, while Brandon netminder Curtis Honey made 48 saves on 53 Portland shots.
Portland was 1-5 on the power play and 2-2 on the penalty kill with two shorthanded goals.
The Hawks’ next game will be Friday when they travel to Kent, WA to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds.