THUNDER BAY – Both the Thunder Bay peewee and bantam Kings got off to winning starts Friday in their respective opening games of the Hockey Northwestern Ontario AAA district championships taking place at Fort William First Nation Arena.
The peewee Kings dismantled the Northern Selects from the Eastern Zone 10-1 while the bantams had a much tighter contest as they pulled out a narrow 3-2 decision over the NWO North Stars from the Western Zone.
Peewee action saw Thunder Bay grab the early lead thanks to Jack Cook.
After Tyler Lewis made it 2-0, Ethan Maloney connected on the power play with 5:06 left in the first for the Selects to cut their deficit to one.
The Kings came right back however and added two more off the sticks of Matthew Valiquette and Lewis late to take a 4-1 cushion into the middle frame.
In the second, Thunder Bay broke it open getting a pair of tallies from Alex Atwill and singles from Valiquette and Ryan Doucette to lead by seven.
They then put the game away in the third as they completed the romp with goals Kohl Jonson and Jack Pineau to round out the scoring.
The Kings outshot their opponents 51-12 on the night with Gage Stewart picking up the win.
Round robin play for Thunder Bay continues Saturday at 6 p.m. as they take on the NWO Stars from the Western Zone.
The Stars will tangle with the Selects earlier in the day at 10 a.m.
The top two teams will then meet in the title game Sunday at 9 a.m.
As for the bantam contest, Thunder Bay rallied with two third period markers from Keighan Gerrie to pull out the win and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three bantam final.
They’ll look to win the district title in Game 2 Saturday at 11:30 p.m.
Should the West come away victorious, a third and deciding contest with be held Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s bantam game saw the Stars strike first after a scoreless opening frame as Carter Tresoor put his side in front 6:42 into the second.
The Kings came back to tie just over a minute later courtesy of Dawson Kaemingh, but the West regained the lead with an Aiden Bibeau power play goal at 10:27.
Gerrie tied it for Thunder Bay four and a half minutes into the third and then supplied the game-winner with 6:04 to go to complete the comeback.
Shots on goal favoured the Kings 30-10 with Christian Cicigoi picking up the victory while Cooper Hatfield made 27 saves in defeat for the Stars.