KENT -- Brendan Shinnimin has been the hottest player in the WHL this week, and the Seattle Thunderbirds got scorched Sunday night by the league's leading scorer.
Shinnimin had four goals -- the first four of the game -- and added an assist to help the Tri-City Americans to a 5-1 win over the Thunderbirds at ShoWare Center.
The Americans (44-15-1-2), who have won six in a row, took over the lead in the Western Conference and the race for the Scotty Munro trophy with 91 points.
"You just have to play well and hope you win," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said in a telephone interview. "We stumbled as teams do from time to time. We were first in the CHL and it didn't earn us anything. We were first in the WHL and it didn't earn us anything. We have a really good team, and there is a lot of work left."
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Portland, with a 2-1 overtime loss to Everett on Sunday, has 90 points, as does Kamloops, while Edmonton has 89. The Winterhawks play at Toyota Center on Friday.
Seattle (21-38-1-1. 44 points), is in eighth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Everett.
With four goals, Shinnimin became the first Tri-City player to reach 50 goals since Dylan Gyori had 53 during the 1998-99 season. Shinnimin now has 52.
For the week, Shinnimin had 11 goals -- including three hat tricks -- and eight assists in four games. He has goals in his last 10 games, and has 23 goals and 41 points during his current 13-game point streak.
The game was scoreless until late in the first when Shinnimin scored his first of the night at 16:17. Shinnimin scored his second on the power play at 19:04 for a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Shinnimin completed his natural hat trick at 1:21 of the second on the power play, and scored another on the man advantage at 11:23 for a 4-0 Tri-City lead. He leads the WHL with 115 points.
"To me, it was a really special night," Hiller said. "Shinny hit 50 -- what an accomplishment. No words can describe his last month. We are really happy for him. He earned that through his work ethic."
Adam Hughesman gave the Americans a 5-0 lead at 3:08 of the third. Hughesman, who also had an assist, passed Dylan Gyori (127) on the all-time goals scored list with 128. He needs just two points to reach 100 for the season.
Patrick Holland had four assists for the Americans, and needs just four points to reach 100. His 73 assists are the most by an Americans player since Scott Gomez had 78 in 1998-99.
Seattle's Luke Lockhart ended Ty Rimmer's shutout bid at 12:23 of the third period. Rimmer finished with 20 saves for his 26th win.