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Chiefs’ playoff picture blurry

The Spokane Chiefs could conceivably skate off the ice Saturday night in Kennewick, finished with their Western Hockey League regular season, and not know their assignment for the first round of the playoffs. Read story

The Chiefs will meet either Seattle, Victoria or Everett to open postseason play, but they may not know their fate until Sunday, when Everett plays at Portland and Seattle travels to Tri-City.

Three points separate fourth-place Seattle (86 points), fifth-place Spokane (84 points) and sixth-place Everett (83) as the season approaches its final weekend. The team that finishes sixth will play No. 3 Victoria to open the playoffs, while the fourth- and fifth-place teams meet in another series.

"We have Victoria twice and Portland once and we’ll get a good feel for Victoria, because we might end up playing them in the playoffs," said Everett 20-year-old Joshua Winquist, who scored twice Wednesday in the Silvertips' 4-2 win over Spokane. "It will be a good test for us this week."

Every streak must come to an end, as Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur noted after the Silvertips won at the Arena for the first time in four years.

"But I think the league schedule had something to do with (the end of the streak)," said Nachbaur, who pointed out that many Chiefs didn't arrive in Spokane until around 4 a.m. on Wednesday after playing in Seattle on Tuesday. "(The Silvertips) were sitting here last night while we were playing a game, our fourth game in (seven) nights, so it wasn't an easy circumstance.

"But if you want to be a pro, you have to have a strong mind. I think we were pretty weak in that area tonight. We just showed up and played and you have to have more passion than that, and more details to your game."

The Chiefs are missing five players with injuries, but three are listed as out for 1-2 weeks. Some may return for the playoffs.

"We’re playing a couple of guys down right now and some of the guys look overwhelmed with the ice time we’re giving them," Nachbaur said.

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Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. He currently is a copy editor for the Sports Desk.

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