Paul Bittner registered his first career hat trick as the Portland Winterhawks (16-4-1-1) earned a 10-2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds (11-8-0-2) Tuesday at the Moda Center in front of 5,854 fans.
The Hawks came out of the gates flying, exploding for five goals in the first period from five different scorers. They wasted no time getting on the board, as Brendan Leipsic scored just 53 seconds into the game for the early 1-0 lead. They struck again at the 7:20 mark when Leipsic fed Bittner at the side of the net, who banged it in for a 2-0 lead.
Portland then made it 3-0 at the 14:24 mark when Chase De Leo scooped up a loose puck and fired it in, followed just 28 seconds later by Derrick Pouliot scoring on an end-to-end rush to make it 4-0. Down four in the first period, Seattle replaced starting goaltender Justin Myles with Danny Mumaugh. The Hawks didn’t let up, and Nic Petan scored a power play goal at the 18:35 mark to make it 5-0 going into the second period.
The Hawks continued forcing the action in the second, with Bittner scoring his second of the game at the 6:04 mark to make it 6-0. Seattle got on the board at the 13:35 mark when Shea Theodore scored on a shot from the point, as Portland took a 6-1 lead into the third.
Just 32 seconds into the third period with the Hawks on a power play, Taylor Leier banged in a rebound to extend the lead to 7-1. Just under four minutes later Bittner took a saucer pass from Alex Schoenborn and beat Mumaugh for the hat trick goal and an 8-1 lead. It was Bittner’s first career hat trick and the second of the season by a Hawk, along with a four-goal game by Oliver Bjorkstrand earlier this season against Seattle.
Just 1:30 after Bittner’s goal, Bjorkstrand got a breakaway and fired the puck past Mumaugh to push the lead to 9-1. Seattle’s Justin Hickman scored a power play goal midway through the frame to make it 9-2, and the Hawks rounded out the scoring with De Leo’s second of the game for the 10-2 win.
Bittner finished with a career-high four points, while Petan added three. It was Portland’s second 10-goal game against Seattle this season.
Brendan Burke earned the win in net with 24 saves on 26 shots. Myles allowed four goals on 12 shots for Seattle, while Mumaugh gave up six goals on 37 shots.
Portland was 2-6 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill.
The Hawks will be back in action Friday in Everett when they take on the Silvertips at 7:30 p.m.