LAINE, Minn. – It was a tough start for the Thunder Bay Kings in Day 1 play in the Northern American Prospects Hockey League at the Schwan Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn.
The minor midget Kings fell 5-2 to the Minnesota Blades in their opener and followed that up with a 4-0 setback vs. the California Titans.
As for the major midget side they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Pursuit of Excellence from Kelowna, B.C. in their lone contest of the day.
Against Minnesota, Thunder Bay’s under-16 side got goals from Michael Vecchio and Quintin Loon-Stewardson in the Game 1 defeat.
The Blades outshot the Kings 30-17 with Scott Adams suffering the loss in net.
In the match-up against California, the Titans tallied 77 seconds after the opening face-off to send them on their way.
They added one via the power play later in the stanza to go up by a pair.
After a scoreless middle session, California put the game away in the third adding two more to round out the scoring.
Maxim Sidlnik stopped all 28 shots he faced to post the shutout for the Titans while Seth McKay made 24 saves in the loss for the Kings.
Meanwhile in under-18 action, Pursuit of Excellence scored twice on the power play to double up the major midgets.
Jacob Brown put the Kings in front with a shorthanded goal at 6:42 on the first while his side was down two men only to see POE tie it 24 seconds later with their initial man advantage marker.
Brown gave Thunder Bay the lead again five minutes after that, but they would allow the equalizer before the period was complete and one more in each of the next two sessions to suffer the setback.
The Kings were outshot 31-18 in the game with Tyler Szturm making 27 stops in defeat.
Both clubs return to the ice Friday as the U-16 Kings take on the Esmark Stars from Pittsburgh at 12:45 p.m. while the U-18s tangle with California at 11 a.m.
This marks the first season for the Kings in the NAPHL that features a total of 19 AAA under-16 and under-18 organizations from across the U.S. along with the Kings and Kelowna’s Pursuit of Excellence.
Four other NAPHL Showcase events are on tap later in the season, including two more weekends in Blaine.
Games will also be played in Aston, Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia, as well as Troy, Mich.