THUNDER BAY – Both the Thunder Bay Sportop minor midget and Happy Time Tours major midget Kings returned home winless following a pair of three-game exhibition sets.
In Oak Bluff, Man., south of Winnipeg, the minors were defeated on three occasions by the RINK Academy Prep School Nationals, falling by counts of 3-0, 6-3 and 5-1.
Thunder Bay’s opponent sports a 12-2-1 record to date, of which one defeat and their draw were handed to them by the Kings, during a trio of match-ups held at Fort William First Nation Arena back in September.
In the opener, the Nationals scored once on the power play in the second stanza and added two more at even strength in the third to earn the shutout victory.
They also held the edge in shots on goal by a 25-22 margin with Keenan Marks suffering the loss.
Next up, RINK broke a 3-3 tie with three unanswered third-period markers to win once again.
Gunner Paradis was peppered with 42 shots against in defeat for Thunder Bay while Kai Vanska, Brodie McLeod and Jouni Kemppainen scored for the Kings.
In the finale, Alex Smith notched the lone goal for Thunder Bay in an outing in which the Nationals held the edge in shots, 28-20, forcing netminder Marks to make a number of quality stops in defeat.
The club is back at it Saturday as they travel to Faribault, Minn., to meet a strong Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres under-16 squad with a trio of contests on the docket.
The Sabres U-16s have won six straight and boast a 12-2-1 overall record.
Game 1 goes at 11 a.m. Saturday and Game 2 begins at 5 p.m. before finishing up Sunday with a 10 a.m. faceoff.
Meanwhile, missing a number of players due to injury, the major midget side dropped three tightly-contested match-ups against the Shattuck-St. Mary’s under-18 team at the SSM Ice Arena in Faribault.
After dropping the opener 5-2 Saturday morning, they then fell 4-2 that evening.
The Sabres then capped off the sweep Sunday with a narrow 4-3 victory.
The U-18 Kings head stateside once again this weekend for Round 2 of the North American Prospects Hockey League in Blaine, Minn.
Saturday has then tangling with the Minnesota Wilderness at 2:15 p.m. before meeting the Minnesota Magicians later in the day at 10 p.m.
Sunday’s slate has the Tahoe Prep Academy from California providing the opposition at 6 p.m. before they wrap up play Monday vs. the Des Moines Buccaneers in an 11:15 am start.