Portland clinches U.S. Division with win, Spokane loss
KENNEWICK – The Tri-City Americans failed to cooperate in the Spokane Chiefs’ quest for a first-place finish in the U.S. Division of the Western Conference.
Brendan Shinnimin and Kruise Reddick scored a pair of goals apiece to spark the Americans to a 6-4 victory over the Chiefs in Western Hockey League play Saturday at the Toyota Center.
The loss for Spokane, coupled with Portland’s 5-4 win over Seattle, makes tonight’s regular-season finale in Portland meaningless. Spokane (47-18-4-2, 100 points) trails the Winterhawks (50-18-0-3, 103) by three points.
The Chiefs will have to settle for the third seed from the Western Conference, despite having the second-best record. Kelowna gets the No. 2 seed by virtue of winning the B.C. Division, even though it trails Spokane by 13 points. Teams are re-seeded after the first round of the playoffs.
Spokane will open the playoffs against Chilliwack or Vancouver. If Vancouver wins tonight’s game against Everett, the Chiefs will open against Chilliwack. If Vancouver loses, it will play Spokane.
Against Tri-City, the Chiefs got goals from Dominik Uher, Blake Gal, Anthony Bardaro and Tyler Johnson.
Johnson’s third-period goal was his WHL-leading 52nd of the season.