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Portland Winterhawks beat Spokane to set franchise record for wins in a season

Sunday, 03.17.2013 / 11:14 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Portland Winterhawks beat Spokane to set franchise record for wins in a season

PORTLAND, Ore. - The game was meaningless in the standings, but the Portland Winterhawks wrapped up the regular season in record-breaking fashion, defeating the Spokane Chiefs 6-1 Sunday in Western Hockey League.

With the victory, the Winterhawks set a franchise record with their 57th victory in 72 games. Portland's previous record was 56 wins in the 1980-81 season. The Winterhawks also set the franchise mark for fewest goals allowed in a season at 169.

Ty Rattie and Taylor Peters had a goal and an assist each in Sunday's game, which saw both teams resting several regular players with nothing at stake in terms of playoff positioning.

Paul Bittner, Keegan Iverson, Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for the Winterhawks (57-12-3). With his 31st of the season, Bjorkstrand moved past Seattle's Roberts Lipsbergs to claim the league's rookie goal-scoring title.

Rookie Markson Bechtold scored the only goal for Spokane (44-26-2), which earned the fourth seed in the Western Conference and will face the Tri-City Americans in the first round of the playoffs.

Portland led 3-0 after one period on goals by Rattie, Bittner and Peters. Bechtold made it 3-1 midway through the second period, but Iverson rebuilt Portland's lead to three goals with 10 seconds left in the frame.

De Leo and Bjorkstrand scored power-play goals in the third period to round out the scoring.

Brendan Burke made 24 saves to earn the win in net for Portland, while Spokane's Garret Hughson stopped 33 shots in defeat.

Portland went 3 for 6 on the power play, while the Chiefs finished scoreless on five opportunities, including a six-minute opportunity in the second period.

Portland rested Brendan Leipsic and Nicolas Petan, who finished the season tied for the WHL scoring title with 120 points each. Spokane gave top scorers Brendan Kichton, Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani the night off.

The Winterhawks were presented with the Scotty Munro Trophy for the league's best record prior to the game, and will play the eighth-seeded Everett Silvertips in the first round of the playoffs.

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres