Rex Hotel’s Jim Maniago (left) and Darrin Kissock of OK Tire may be teammates on the ball diamond but they’ll square off against each other when the puck drops on the Trail Commercial Hockey League playoffs on Thursday at the Cominco Arena.

Rex Hotel’s Jim Maniago (left) and Darrin Kissock of OK Tire may be teammates on the ball diamond but they’ll square off against each other when the puck drops on the Trail Commercial Hockey League playoffs on Thursday at the Cominco Arena.

TCHL playoffs begin Thursday

Championship game set for March 17 at Cominco Arena

Three goals by Craig Clare and two from Del Iannone decided the final standings and the playoff matchups in the Trail Commercial Hockey League on Sunday.

Clare scored the hat trick to lead Firebird to a 4-1 win over the Arlington Inn in the team’s final game of the regular season.

The two points momentarily lifted Firebird past OK Tire for third place in the TCHL standings.

However, it wouldn’t be certain until the final game on the schedule between Rex Hotel and OK Tire later that day.

That’s where Iannone potted his pair of goals to lead Rex Hotel to a 4-2 win and set up a first-round matchup against OK Tire on Thursday.

The other series will see Re/Max take on Firebird in a battle of second and third-place finishers.

The best-of-three playoffs begin Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at the Cominco Arena between the first-place Rex Hotel and OK Tire. Re/Max and Firebird meet right after starting at 8:30 p.m.

Both series continue on Sunday with games at 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Should a third and deciding game be required, the date will be announced on Sunday.

The one-game championship final will be played March 17 at 7:15 p.m.

A season that saw Rex Hotel bolt out of the gate with a 13-game winning streak soon became a lot tighter after the team went through an extended slump to start 2011.

Meanwhile Re/Max closed the gap and made a run for top spot in the last few weeks while OK Tire and Firebird also stayed hot on their heels.

Once the dust settled the only change in the standings over the last three months came on the final day of the regular season when Firebird overtook OK Tire for third.

Graham Proulx of Re/Max finished the season as the top scorer with 42 goals and 79 points while Tim Wylie’s 3.56 goals against average with Rex Hotel edged out OK Tire’s Rocky Dickson, who posted a 3.66 GAA.