KENNEWICK, Wash. - Taylor Leier scored two goals in the third period to break a four-all tie and lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-4 victory Friday over the Tri-City Americans.
Brad Ross added two goals and an assist for the Winterhawks (45-15-4), who took over first place in the Western Hockey League and the U.S. Division race with 94 points.
"It had a sense early on that it was a first-place game," Portland coach Mike Johnston said.
"It was tight checking with low shots. Then the skill started to show up and the transition attacks. Both teams made some good plays and had good chances."
Tri-City (45-16-3) fell to second in the U.S. Division and third in the Western Conference behind B.C. Division leader Kamloops.
Chase De Leo and Sven Bartchi also scored for Portland, while Mac Carruth finished with 22 saves to earn his league-leading 40th win. Oliver Gabriel chipped in three assists.
Justin Feser scored twice for Tri-City, with Adam Hughesman and Zach Yuen adding goals. Patrick Holland handed out two assists to give him 99 points on the season. Ty Rimmer had 33 saves in the loss.
Brendan Shinnimin, the league's leading scorer, had an assist to give him 118 points and a 15-game point streak.
"It was two good teams going at it tonight," Feser said. "It came down to who made less mistakes, and we made a few more than they did and it cost us. We were short in the end."