SUNDAY WHL RECAP/Five-goal second period is the difference as surging Silvertips beat visiting Portland, 8-3

The Portland Winterhawks enter the holiday break looking up at the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League's U.S. Division.

The surging Silvertips used a five-goal second period on Sunday to beat the visiting Winterhawks and move past Portland into first place in the division with 44 points.

The Winterhawks (21-11-0-1, 43 points) still have the best winning percentage in the division and have played three fewer games than the Silvertips (21-13-1-1).

The Hawks are off until they play host to the Tri-City Americans on Dec. 27 at Memorial Coliseum. That will be the first of four games in five nights, two against Tri-City and two against Seattle.

Everett has won 11 of its last 12 games and Portland has lost seven of eight.

Skyler McKenzie scored two goals to push his team lead to 23 on the season for Portland and Jake Gricius scored his fifth of the season.

Bryce Kindopp scored twice for Everett and the Silvertips got goals from some unlikely players to pull away.

On Sunday, Portland took an early lead with McKenzie tipping a pass from Cody Glass past through Everett goalie Dustin Wolf 1:09 into the game.

Kindopp's first goal tied it 9:53 into the first period and Luke Ormsby gave the Silvertips a 2-1 lead at 16:52 of the first period.

McKenzie tied it 34 seconds later, winning a puck battle in the corner and snapping a quick shot past Wolf.

Kindopp's second goal broke the tie 5:20 into the second period, skating alone down the slot to redirect a Jake Christainsen saucer pass beyond Shane Farkas.

Martin Fasko-Rudas re-directed a shot from the point past Portland goalie Shane Farkas for his first goal of the season at 8:40 and 35 seconds later Akash Bains pounced on a Portland turnover and made it 5-2 with his second goal of the season.

Cole Kehler replaced Farkas at that point, though it was hard to fault Farkas on many of the Silvertips goals.

Patrick Bajkov and Riley Sutter got tap in goals off nice feeds to grow the lead to 7-2 before the second period ended.

Gricius scored 4:51 into the third period off a feed from Ilijah Colina. But 19 seconds later Brandson Hein scored his second goal of the season on a breakaway that happened when a cross-ice pass from Glass bounced over the stick of Conor MacEachern.

Everett went 0 for 3 on the power play and the Silvertips were not penalized. Wolf made 26 saves in place of Carter Hart, the WHL's top goalie who is with Team Canada in preparation for the World Juniors tournament.

The Hawks expect to continue to be without Kieffer Bellows, Joachim Blichfeld and Henri Jokiharju — three of their top five scorers — for up to six more games as they play in the World Juniors. That tournament happens Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 at Buffalo, New York.

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