SUNDAY WHL RECAP/Bellows' hat trick leads Portland to 7-4 win on the road over Thunderbirds

Kieffer Bellows scored his first Western Hockey League hat trick on Sunday, leading the Portland Wointerhawks to a 7-4 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds at Kent, Washington.

Bellows' third goal of the game put Portland ahead 5-1 early in the second period. Seattle closed to within one goal late before empty-net goals from Ryan Hughes and Brendan De Jong in the final minute sealed the 40th win of the season for Portland.

The Winterhawks (40-20-1-4, 85 points) moved four points ahead of idle Spokane in the U.S. Division and remained eight points back of division-leading Everett. Seattle (30-25-8-2, 70 points) is last in the division but still close to clinching the last wild-card playoff spot.

Bellows opened the scoring 1:03 into the game with a tap-in goal at the end of a pretty rush, a Cody Glass pass delivering the puck for Bellows to put home.

Another quick transition play led to Jake Gricius scoring from the slot off a pass from Lane Gilliss 5:25 into the first period.

When Glass scored on a breakaway at 10:29 of the first period, it was 3-0 for Portland.

Bellows scored his second goal by poking home his own rebound 2:10 into the second period with Portland on a five-on-three power play. He got his third goal (and 38th of the season) by deflecting a shot by Henri Jokiharju at 5:08 of the second.

Glass had three assists to go with his goal, and Jokiharju had three assists.

Portland goalie Shane Farkas made 32 saves in winning his eighth consecutive start.

Portland now heads north to Prince George for games on Tuesday and Wednesday before playing four of its last five regular-season games at home.

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