Kelowna crushes Hawks 9-3 for 15th straight win
Kelowna Rockets 9, PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS 3
Tuesday night, Moda Center, 10,947 announced attendance (sellout)
The red-hot Rockets won their 15th consecutive game, leading from start to finish.
After taking a 3-0 lead through one period, Kelowna scored 33 seconds and 3:13 into the second period, taking a 5-0 lead and chasing goalie Brendan Burke, who stopped 12 of 17 shots.
Portland got to within 5-2 before the Rockets pulled away to their 17th victory in 18 road games this season, scoring three goals in each period.
WHAT IT MEANS
Kelowna of the B.C. Division leads the season series 3-0 and leads the Western Hockey League with 65 points.
Portland continues to lead the U.S. Division, but by only four points over Everett, and the Hawks are second in points in the WHL.
Portland center Chase De Leo had his 23rd and 24th goals of the season.
Portland leads the WHL in goals (175), and Kelowna is second (158).
The Rockets have allowed the fewest goals (87) in the league.
In three meetings this season, Kelowna has outscored Portland 24-8.
Everett lost 3-2 Tuesday at home against Victoria, which is second in the B.C. Division and has pulled even with the Winterhawks at 54 points.
Seattle lost 7-1 at home Tuesday to Kamloops, which is 10th (last) in the Western Conference.
The Hawks continued to be without forwards Nic Petan and Taylor Leier and defenseman Derrick Pouliot, all playing for Canada in the world junior championships at Malmo, Sweden, and forward Brendan Leipsic of Portland was serving a WHL suspension.
The nine goals, which included two on power plays and two shorthanded, were the most allowed by Portland this season.
WHL WESTERN CONFERENCE
Kelowna 31-3-0-2 (63) (B.C. Division leader)
Portland 25-9-2-2 (54) (U.S. Division leader)
Victoria 26-13-0-2 (54)
Everett 23-12-4-0 (50)
Seattle 22-11-2-3 (49)
Spokane 23-13-0-2 (48)
Vancouver 19-14-5-2 (45)
Tri-City 17-18-2-2 (38)
Prince George 14-21-2-3 (33)
Kamloops 19-24-2-2 (24)
The Winterhawks and Rockets meet again at 7 p.m. Thursday, Memorial Coliseum (KPAM 860 AM).