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SATURDAY WHL RECAP: Goalie Joel Hofer stars for Portland in 2-1 win over Thunderbirds

COURTESY PHOTO: PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS/MATTHEW WOLF - Portland's Seth Jarvis (24) skates up ice during the Winterhawks 2-1 Saturday win over Seattle at Memorial Coliseum.Joel Hofer made 29 saves and came up big early and late in a 2-1 Western Hockey League win for the Portland Winterhawks over the Seattle Thunderbirds at Memorial Coliseum.

Johnny Ludvig and Reece Newkirk scored the goals as Portland won its fifth in a row, improving to 10-3-0-1 (21 points).

But it was Hofer who carried the Hawks on this night.

The St. Louis Blues' prospect made 15 saves in the first period, when Seattle had three empty power plays. Hofer then secured the win with a couple of difficult stops in the final moments of a scoreless third period.

Seattle is 5–7-2-1 (13 points).

Ludvig put Portland up 1-0 8:54 into the game, scoring his eighth goal of the season. He found space near the right circle and put a cross-ice pass from Mason Mannek past Seattle goalie Blake Lyda.

Newkirk beat Lyda to a rebound to double the Hawks lead 5:52 into the second period for his fourth goal of the season.

Seattle's Alex Morozoff scored 13:21 into the second period to make it 2-1.

Portland outshot Seattle 30-15 over the final two periods and limited the Thunderbirds to six shots on goal in the third period. But a couple of those were dangerous, one through traffic and a opportunity from the slot in the final minute with an extra attacker on the ice.

Portland went 0 for 3 on the power play and Seattle was 0 for 4.

Lyda matched Hofer with a strong effort and finished with 36 saves in the loss.

The Winterhawks cap a three-day weekend with a 5 p.m. Sunday game at Memorial Coliseum against Kamloops. The Blazers, making their final visit to Portland in the regular season, feature former Wintrehawk forward Ryan Hughes who has four goals and 12 assists through 14 games as a 20-year-old.

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