The Kelowna Chiefs started their remarkable season with a lopsided win, but ended it with a rare loss.
Now the playoffs are here, and the KIJHL’s regular-season champions are hoping to start the second season on a winning note again.
On Saturday, Kelowna closed out its 49-game regular season with a 5-4 loss to the visiting Princeton Posse at Rutland Arena. The Chiefs outshot the Posse 48-41, but couldn’t overcome a rare bad second period in which Princeton lit the lamp three times.
The Chiefs trailed 4-1 heading into the third, but scored quickly, jut 32 seconds in to make it 4-2. However, Princeton scored at 6:58 to make it 5-2, and the Posse withstood a Chiefs comeback, with Kelowna scoring twice in the game’s final five minutes.
Up next for Kelowna are the Osoyoos Coyotes in a first-versus-fourth division playoff series.
Kelowna (43-3-1-0-2, 89 points) finished first overall in league standings, the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference and the Okanagan Division.
Osoyoos (17-29-2-0-1, 37 points) placed fourth in Okanagan Division standings with 37 points. League-wise, the Coyotes placed 16th out of 20.
The other Okanagan Division series will have the second-place Summerland Steam (25-20-2-0-2, 54 pts.) playing the third-place Princeton Posse (19-25-1-0-4, 43 pts.).
All playoff series are a best-of-seven set.
Game one between Kelowna and Osoyoos will take place Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Rutland Arena. Game two will take place Wednesday, 7 p.m. at Rutland Arena. The Chiefs were 6-0 against the Coyotes this season, outscoring them 33-8.
The series between Summerland and Princeton will start Tuesday and Wednesday in Summerland. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m. The Steam were 3-3 against the Posse, with Summerland outscoring Princeton 16-15.
In the Doug Birks Division of the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference, it’ll be No. 1 Revelstoke (42-6-0-0-1, 85 pts.) against No. 4 Kamloops Storm (19-26-1-1-2, 41 pts.) and the No. 2 100 Mile House Wranglers (25-19-2-0-3, 55 pts.) against the No. 3 Sicamous Eagles (17-24-3-0-5, 42 pts.).
For the full KIJHL playoff bracket, click here.