KENNEWICK – The Spokane Chiefs lost a game Saturday at about the same time they gained a postseason opponent.
Moments after the Chiefs dropped a 2-1 game to Tri-City as Toyota Center, the Everett Silvertips clinched the U.S. Division title and a first-round matchup with the Chiefs in the Western Hockey League playoffs.
Everett lost to Victoria 4-3 in a shootout, but the Silvertips (93 points) picked up a crucial point by taking the game beyond regulation. Portland, trying to catch Everett, lost at Seattle 6-3 and stands at 90 points with one game remaining for both teams tonight.
The Chiefs will open the playoffs at 7:35 p.m. Friday at Everett’s Xfinity Arena. Game 2 will be at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Everett before the series shifts to Spokane for 7:05 p.m. games on April 1 and 3 at the Arena.
Game 5, if needed, will return to Everett on April 4.
Spokane and Everett, in a playoff tuneup of sorts, will close the regular season at 5:05 p.m. today at the Arena.
Portland and Seattle, as the second- and third-place teams in the division, will match up in the first round.
Tri-City, by defeating Spokane, earned the conference’s No. 8 seed and will open against No. 1 Kelowna, the B.C. Division champion. The final Western Conference series will feature Victoria and Prince George, the B.C.’s second- and third-place teams.
The Americans (31-37-0-3, 65 points) broke a 1-all tie Saturday when the Chiefs were whistled for too many men on the ice late in the second period. Richard Nejezchleb, who assisted on T-C’s first goal, stole a pass and fed Brian Williams on the left wing for a goal at 19 minutes, 31 seconds.
The Chiefs (34-33-3-1, 72) had two power-play chances in the third period but couldn’t beat T-C goalie Eric Comrie, who finished the night with 29 saves.
Defenseman Brandon Carlo scored the Americans’ first goal at 15:02 of the first with a shot from the blue line.
The Chiefs forged a tie midway through the second period. Curtis Miske’s shot rebounded to Keanu Yamamoto, who beat Comrie top-shelf with a backhander for his 12th goal of the season.
Spokane outshot Tri-City 30-27, including 13-5 in the third period.
Chiefs goalie Garret Hughson finished with 25 saves.
Spokane finished 8-4-0-0 against the Americans after starting the season series 5-1-0-0.
The Chiefs completed their road slate with a record of 17-17-1-1.
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