Kennewick, WA- Portland showed why they are the top team in the WHL.
The Portland Winterhawks (25-5-1-0, 51 pts) rebounded from the loss two nights ago and scored two early goals, allowing them to cruise through the rest of the game, handing the Tri-City Americans (18-12-1-1, 38 pts) a 4-1 loss in front of 3,973 fans at the Toyota Center.
The win is Portland’s fourth in a row at the Toyota Center and third in four contests against Tri-City.
Portland got on the board first midway through the first period on the power play as Nicolas Petan made a nice move to slip a backhand shot into the net for a 1-0 lead. Later in the period, the Winterhawks would make it 2-0 as Derrick Pouliot would fire a wrist shot from the point through traffic into the net. But Tri-City would get on the board a minute later as Beau McCue would tip in a rebound to cut the lead to one. Portland had a 10-5 shot advantage in the period and had the advantage in puck possession, and carried a one goal lead into the second.
The Winterhawks would push the lead back to two as Petan would score his second power play goal of the game on a 5-on-3. Seth Jones would score 20 seconds later on a one time slap shot into the top right corner of the net on the power play to make it 4-1. Tri-City was outshot 16-5 in the period with Portland controlling the puck for most of the period. Tri-City also allowed three power plays in the period, two of which were capitalized on, as the Americans had work to do in the third period.
Tri-City had their chances in the third period, but couldn’t seem to get anything going. They outshot the Winterhawks 11-6 in the first half of the third along with two power plays, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities. Tri-City outshot Portland 16-10 in the period and controlled the puck more throughout the period, but couldn’t get anything going as Brendan Burke stopped everything thrown his way down the stretch en route to the Winterhawk victory.
McCue continued his hot December by scoring tonight, bringing his total this month to four goals and an assist so far.
Eric Comrie made 32 saves in the loss while Burke made 25 saves in the win.
The Americans will regroup and look to get back in the win column when they take on the Everett Silverips (12-20-0-2, 26 pts) on Tuesday at the Toyota Center. Game time is at 7:05 p.m. Tri-City has won four of the five meetings between the two teams, although Everett won the last time they met 3-0 in the Toyota Center. Everett comes into the game last in the U.S. Division and in eighth place in the conference. NewsTalk 870 will broadcast the game beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show. WHL Live will stream the game online starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available at the Toyota Center Box Office, at and Fred Meyer outlet, at any Ticketmaster location or online at Ticketmaster.com.
Jack in the Box Three Stars:
1. Nicolas Petan, Portland
2. Derrick Pouliot, Portland
3. Beau McCue, Tri-City