Seattle pulls out 3-2 win over Hawks
De Leo scores twice, but Portland falls in first game without five absentees
SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS 3, Portland Winterhawks 2
Friday night, ShoWare Center (Kent, Wash.), 3,705 announced attendance
The Winterhawks, missing a handful of players away for world junior hockey activities, faltered in the third period and didn't have their usual finishing power as they fell on the road to the streaking Thunderbirds.
Portland was without forwards Nic Petan, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Taylor Leier and defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Layne Viveiros, all away for international duties.
Seattle didn't have one of its top scorers, Roberts Lipsbergs, who also was playing world junior hockey, for Latvia.
WHAT IT MEANS
Portland lost some ground to Kelowna, which has the best record in the Western Hockey League Western Conference and escaped with a 6-5 overtime victory Friday night at Brandon.
The Winterhawks also dropped to 3-3 in six games with Seattle this season.
It was the T-Birds' first 2013-14 win in regulation over Portland.
Seattle has won its last eight games overall and has climbed to within four points on the Winterhawks.
Chase De Leo scored both Portland goals. He tied the game 1-1 at 16:15 of the first period and put the Winterhawks ahead 2-1 on a power play at 16:01 of period 2. It was his 21st goal of the season.
Hawks rookie Colton Veloso got an assist in his WHL debut.
Defenseman Justin Greer also made his WHL debut for Portland.
Justin Hickman's goal at 4:46 of the third period pulled Seattle even at 2-2. Branden Troock scored the winner on a power play at 7:36.
The Hawks were 1 of 4 with the man advantage; Seattle was 1 of 3.
Portland was whistled for nine penalties, while Seattle had 10.
WHL WESTERN CONFERENCE
Kelowna 25-3-0-2 (52) (B.C. Division leader)
Portland 22-7-2-2 (48) (U.S. Division leader)
Everett 21-8-4-0 (46)
Seattle 20-9-1-3 (44)
Victoria 21-13-0-1 (43)
Spokane 19-12-0-2 (40)
Vancouver 16-12-5-2 (39)
Tri-City 17-15-1-2 (37)
Prince George 13-17-2-3 (31)
Kamloops 8-21-2-2 (20)
The Winterhawks and Thunderbirds are back in action Saturday. They'll play at Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. (KPAM 860 AM).