TISDALE, Sask. – There will be a new TELUS Cup West Regional and Canadian National Midget Hockey champion in 2019.
This came about Saturday afternoon after the Thunder Bay major midget Kings rallied for a 1-1 tie with the defending regional and national title holders, the Notre Dame Hounds, in the final day of round-robin play at the West Regional in Tisdale, Sask.
Both clubs finished with identical 1-1-1 records, but Thunder Bay advances to Sunday’s final at 4 p.m. ET vs. the host Tisdale Trojans by taking the tiebreaker by the narrowest of margins (.466 to .454), which was determined by the rule of head-to-head result first (a tie); followed by goals for divided by goals for/goals against.
The result also means that since the Kings are hosting the TELUS Cup National Midget Hockey Championship, April 22-28, at the Fort William Gardens, Tisdale automatically earns a berth to the event, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s West Regional title contest.
After a scoreless first frame Saturday, Notre Dame would open the scoring just over two minutes into the middle stanza as Drew Englot connected from close range moments into a man advantage opportunity.
The Hounds had a couple more power-play chances a few shifts later, including a five-on-three, but the Kings held firm to keep it a one-goal game with half a contest to play.
Thunder Bay picked up a pair of man-advantage chances of their own in the back portion of the second, but could not convert as Notre Dame held on to their lead heading into the third.
However, the Kings came out hard in the final session and notched the equalizer at 1:49 as Travis Hensrud and Trenton Morriseau worked it to Christian Veneruzzo who wired one past Hounds starter Thomas Wardle from the right faceoff circle.
Both sides traded chances throughout the rest of the period as it remained level late in regulation.
Knowing they had to win, the Hounds pulled their goaltender in the final minute for an extra attacker, but Smith stood tall and the Thunder Bay defensive zone coverage was flawless before time expired.
Smith was stellar in net once again for the Kings, finishing with 30 stops in the draw while Wardle made 19 for Notre Dame.
Tisdale (2-0) will wrap-up round robin play later in the day against the Brandon Wheat Kings (0-2) as the tune-up before the Trojans take on the Kings for the West title.
TELUS Cup ticket packages remain on sale at HockeyCanada.ca/tickets.
TELUS Cup West Regional
Tisdale Trojans (Host) (SAAAMHL)
Thunder Bay Kings (HNO)
Brandon Wheat Kings (MMHL)
Notre Dame Hounds (SAAAMHL)
Thursday, April 4
Game 1: Notre Dame 4 Brandon 2
Game 2: Tisdale 3 Thunder Bay 1
Friday, April 5
Game 3: Thunder Bay 5 Brandon 4
Game 4: Tisdale 3 Notre Dame 0
Saturday, April 6
Game 5: Thunder Bay 1 Notre Dame 1
Game 6: Tisdale vs. Brandon 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7
Final: Thunder Bay vs. Tisdale 4 p.m.