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Crooks carries Royals past Chiefs

Jamie Crooks scored twice to guide the Victoria Royals to a 5-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena on Sunday night. The Chiefs and Royals began the night tied for fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. Victoria won its fifth consecutive game. The season series is 1-1 with games coming March 1 and 2 in Victoria, British Columbia. Read story See photo gallery

Crooks said he and the Royals weren't looking ahead, but they know Spokane could turn out to be a first-round playoff opponent.

“We're four and five (in the conference points race) right now and it's looking tight, but if the playoffs started now we'd be playing them,” Crooks said.

The Chiefs played three games in three nights for the first time this season. Their coach didn't see that as a valid reason for producing nine shots through the first two periods.

“That's an excuse,” Nachbaur said. “This is the Western Hockey League and our guys weren't ready to play and that's the bottom line.”

Nachbaur continues to be perplexed by the team's up-and-down play. After all, Spokane has defeated high-powered Portland (twice) and Kelowna during the last three weeks.

“This time of year you have a big game playing against Victoria, jockeying in the standings, and it was shocking to me the ways our guys played,” he said. “To me, we didn't compete at all.”

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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