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Chiefs to face Portland

The bus was all but ready. The Spokane Chiefs just needed a destination.

The Chiefs’ attention Wednesday night was firmly on Kelowna, British Columbia, where the host Rockets and the Seattle Thunderbirds played Game 7 of a Western Hockey League first-round series that would determine Spokane’s fate.

Kelowna won 3-2 in overtime, completing a comeback from a 3-0 series deficit and setting up a Western Conference semifinal between fourth-seeded Spokane and the top-seeded Portland Winterhawks. Second-seeded Kelowna will play third-seeded Kamloops in the other semifinal.

Spokane’s bus leaves today for the first two games of the seven-game set, Friday and Saturday nights. The series will move to the Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Portland had the league’s best regular-season record (57-12-1-2) this season and the top three scorers, Brendan Leipsic (120 points), Nicolas Petan (120) and Ty Rattie (110). But the Winterhawks faltered a bit in their opening-round playoff series, dropping the opener before ultimately defeating Everett 4-2.

Portland won seven of nine games against the Chiefs this season, including the final four.

Spokane rolled past Tri-City 4-1 in its first-round playoff. Counting the end of the regular season, the Chiefs have won 14 of their last 17 games.

FridaySpokane at Portland
SaturdaySpokane at Portland
TuesdayPortland at Spokane
Wed.Portland at Spokane
April 13*Spokane at Portland
April 15*Portland at Spokane
April 17*Spokane at Portland