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Chiefs will play Victoria in WHL playoff opener

KENNEWICK – The Spokane Chiefs didn’t get their victory, but they got Victoria.

Eric Comrie posted his fourth shutout of the season Saturday night as the Tri-City Americans ended the Chiefs’ Western Hockey League regular season on a down note with a 3-0 decision at Toyota Center.

The outcome, coupled with Everett’s home win over Victoria, means that Spokane (40-26-3-3, 88) can finish no better than tied for fifth place in the Western Conference when the WHL season ends tonight.

Even if the Chiefs tie for fifth with Seattle, which has 88 points heading into today’s game against Tri-City, Spokane would lose the tiebreaker because of the Thunderbirds’ 7-1-0-0 series win this season.

Spokane, as the No. 6 seed, will open the first round of the playoffs Saturday and next Sunday at No. 3 Victoria (48-20-1-3). The Chiefs were 3-1 against the Royals during the regular season and haven’t played a Victoria team (then the Cougars) in postseason since 1988.

Games 3 and 4 will be at the Arena on March 26 and 27. If necessary, Game 5 will be March 29 at Victoria, Game 6 March 31 at the Arena and Game 7 April 2 at Victoria.

Tickets will go on sale Monday at the Chiefs’ ticket office, at 535-PUCK, via TicketsWest outlets or online at

Comrie, who also blanked the Chiefs on March 1, made 18 saves. Spokane’s Garret Hughson, who relieved Eric Williams midway through the second period, stopped all 11 shots he faced.

Jessey Astles, who scored twice during Friday’s game in Spokane, recorded his 11th goal at 14 minutes, 24 seconds of the first period for all the scoring the Americans (29-32-4-6) would need.

Parker Bowles and Beau McCue added second-period power-play goals for Tri-City.

Spokane won the season series with the Americans 8-3-0-1. The Chiefs finished 19-13-2-2 on the road.

Chiefs scoring leader Mitch Holmberg finished with a league-best 62 goals and 118 points.