PORTLAND -- For just the second time this season, the Tri-City Americans dropped two games in a row.
Oliver Gabriel had three goals to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 win Monday over the Americans at the Rose Garden.
Tri-City (33-10-0-0, 66 points), which hadn't lost back-to-back games since Oct. 1 at Spokane and Oct. 5 at Kelowna, saw its lead in the U.S. Division shrink to three points over Portland (30-12-2-1, 63 points).
The Americans, who finished a four games-in-six-nights road trip, will host Seattle tonight in the first of three home games this week. Tri-City, which has won 12 in a row on home ice, hosts Spokane on Friday and Kamloops on Saturday.
With Portland leading 2-1 after two periods, Gabriel scored his second of the game at 9:44 of the third, then finished his hat rick at 14:23 as Portland ran its home win streak to a franchise-record 17 games.
Ty Rattie finished off the scoring at 17:01 with his league-leading 40th goal as the Winterhawks earned their first win over Tri-City in six tries.
The Americans' top-ranked penalty kill negated a four-minute Portland power play in the first, limiting the Winterhawks' top-ranked power play to just two shots.
Just 30 seconds after Portland's power play ended, Winterhawks defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon turned over the puck in his own end, and Patrick Holland scooped it up and scored his 18th goal of the season at 17:38.
The Winterhawks evened the score at 8:40 of the second with a goal by Troy Rutkowski, and Gabriel put Portland out front 2-1 at 14:20.
Ty Rimmer, who has lost his last three starts, finished with 35 saves for Tri-City.
The Americans played without second-leading scorer Brendan Shinnimin, who received a one-game suspension from the WHL "for an accumulation of embellishment penalties during the season." Shinnimin picked up his fifth embellishment penalty Saturday against Spokane.