Steve Dunsmoor/Dunsmoor Creative Josh Kobelka (middle) and the Kelowna Chiefs will take on the Summerland Steam in the opening round of the KIJHL playoffs beginning Friday.

Chiefs battle Steam in round 1

Kelowna opens KIJHL postseason Friday night in Summerland

Fully healthy for the first time since October, the Kelowna Chiefs will have all on hands on deck for the opening round of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Chiefs will take on rival Summerland Steam in the best-of-seven Okanagan Division semifinal beginning Friday night at Summerland Arena.

Game 2 goes Saturday in Summerland, with Games 3 and 4 at Kelowna’s Rutland Arena next Monday at Tuesday.

If the series were to go the distance, the teams would face off seven times in just a nine-day span.

The third-place Chiefs had their hands full with the second-place Steam, going 2-4-0-2 during the regular season series.

With the Chiefs basically injury-free for the first time in months, Kelowna head coach Jason Tansem likes where his team stands heading into the playoffs.

“We are looking forward to the playoffs and playing for keeps,” said Tansem. “It will be an entirely different beast playing seven games in nine nights.

“In our case we can play with four solid lines and six D with two goaltenders that can play,” Tansem continued. “We haven’t had our full lineup together since October so have found ways to play through the adversity.

“Today, we are fully healthy and ready to go.”

To see the full playoff schedule, visit kijhl.ca.

The Chiefs (20-22-2-3) closed out the regular season Saturday with a 3-1 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes.

Brett Witala led Kelowna in goals (27) and points (58) during the season, while Jason Village topped the club in assists with 36.

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