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WHL US Division - Chiefs Notebook: Jockeying for playoff position

The playoff race is heating up, and the Chiefs could finish as high as second in the U.S. Division, or out of the playoffs altogether.

This man is still hurt.
This man is still hurt.
Derek Leung/Getty Images

With 13 games left in the regular season, the Spokane Chiefs sit in an interesting position.

As of this writing, they are the first Wild Card team with 64 points. That's one point ahead of Kamloops, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks, and three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds.

And don't count out the hot Tri-City Americans. The Chiefs sit five points ahead of the Ams, who are the first team outside the playoff picture....for now.

Anything can happen, and the U.S. Division could see all five teams in the playoffs when all is said and done. The Everett Silvertips seem to be on their way to the division crown (is it a stretch to think the 'Tips could be the Memorial Cup frontrunner had Auston Matthews and Tyson Jost been on the roster this year, as Sportsnet's Damien Cox wondered?).

The Chiefs just completed another three-in-three stretch and came away with three points.

They started out with an overtime loss in Seattle last Friday. The T-Birds' Ethan Bear scored both the tying and game-winning goals.

The Chiefs were able to put some distance between them and the Ams with a 4-2 victory over Tri-City in front of 9,534 fans Saturday night. Hudson Elynuik continues to impress and had two goals in the victory.

Alas, the momentum came to a halt in a 4-1 loss in Everett the following night.

The Chiefs welcome the Prince George Cougars to town twice this week before heading off to Kelowna Saturday.

Injuries still lingering

The Chiefs are still without forwards Nik Andersen, Wyatt Johnson and Kailer Yamamoto, as well as defenseman Jason Fram.

Playing without those names is definitely not ideal, though it has allowed guys like Elynuik, Dominic Zwerger and Keanu Yamamoto - among others - the opportunity for more playing time.

With the amount of games missed by Andersen, Johnson, Yamamoto and Fram, the Chiefs have actually impressed with how they've managed to stay in the playoff race.

We'll see how long it takes for the injured players to return.

You can read the WHL's weekly report here.

Ty Smith and Canada take silver at Youth Olympics

Chiefs prospect Ty Smith - the first overall pick in last summer's Bantam Draft - earned a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Norway this week.

Smith finished the tournament with five points (2g, 3a) in six games.

Smith and Canada fell in the gold medal game to the United States: