TUESDAY WHL RECAP/Ryan Hughes scores in the shootout for Portland, which downs the Thunderbirds 3-2 to regain first place in U.S. Division

Ryan Hughes scored a shootout goal to lift the Portland Winterhawks to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League action on Tuesday in Kent, Washington.

Hughes was the only shooter for either team to score in the shootout. He made a move and lifted a backhand over Seattle goalie Liam Hughes.

The win moves Portland back to the top of the U.S. Division, one point of idle Everett. The Winterhawks are 24-13-1-2 for 51 points. Seattle fell to 20-14-4-2 for 46 points.

Portland led 2-0 after the first period on goals from Skyler McKenzie and Alex Overhardt. Seattle answered with two second-period goals and the game was scoreless through the third period and the five overtime minutes.

McKenzie's 29th goal of the season made it 1-0 1:31 into the game after the Winterhawks foiled a couple of Seattle clearing attempts. Ryan Hughes delivered a pass from the right-wing corner to McKenzie in the slot and McKenzie put the puck between the pads of Thunderbirds goalie Liam Hughes.

Overhardt scored an effort goal with less than two seconds left in the first period. Winning a puck battle along the right-wing boards, he found the loose puck in the circle and fired the puck over Liam Hughes for his ninth goal of the season.

The Winterhawks also killed two Thunderbirds penalties during the first period, which saw an 8-7 shots edge for Portland.

The second period belonged to Seattle, which outshot Portland 19-11 in that frame and tied the score.

Sami Moilenen, in his first game back from an injury suffered in Finland's World Juniors training camp, put home a rebound 57 seconds into the second period. The tying goal was scored by Reece Harsh on the first of three Thunderbirds power plays in the second period.

Seattle was 1 for 5 in the power play in the game and Portland did not have a power play. There were no penalties called in the third period or the overtime.

Portland had a lot of possession in the three-on-three overtime and the only three shots on goal of the overtime. They had the best scoring chance when Cody Glass flipped the puck ahead to create a partial breakaway for McKenzie, forcing Liam Hughes to make a save.

Portland goalie Cole Kehler finished with 32 saves, not counting his denials of Seattle's Zak Andrusiak, Noah Philip and Moilanen in the shootout.

The Winterhawks finished with 28 shots on goal.

Portland visits Tri-City on Friday and is home at 6 p.m. on Saturday against Seattle and at 5 p.m. on Sunday against Everett. Both games are at Memorial Coliseum.

World Juniors participants Kieffer Bellows and Henri Jokiharju are expected back with the Hawks for those games.

Wednesday is the WHL trade deadline, so the Winterhawks roster for the remainder of this season will be set by the weekend.

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