SUDBURY – The Thunder Bay AAA bantam Kings are returning home from the 38th annual Big Nickel Tournament in Sudbury as champions after posting back-to-back shutouts Sunday in the playoff round.
Thunder Bay played nearly flawless hockey on the day by first bouncing CIH Academy of Rockland, Ont., 5-0 in semifinal action earlier in the day before going on to blank Ontario Hockey Academy from Cornwall 4-0 in the title contest.
Two quick tallies, midway through the opening frame in the final, helped send the Kings on their way to the crown.
Noah Broughton finished off a Jack Cook set-up to secure the eventual game-winner before Jeremy Dunmore extended the cushion a few shifts later.
Jack Michaels made it 3-0 with the lone marker in the middle stanza before Nolan Desjardins iced it in the late going of the final to round out the scoring.
Brayden McKever posted the shutout in the triumph.
Meanwhile, a first-period power play helped the Bantams get all the offensive production they would require in the semifinal with Tyler Lewis connecting on the man advantage, burying an Alex Pineau feed with just under five minutes remaining in the first period.
They upped the lead to 2-0 after the middle stanza thanks to a Dunmore effort.
The Kings then put the game away in the final frame tacking on a trio of tallies courtesy of Michaels, Alex Atwill and Hunter Matyasovszky.
Earning assists on all three of those goals were Mathew Valiquette.
Gage Stewart went on to post the shutout in the match-up
Thunder Bay finished up play in the eight-team bantam division going 5-0-1 overall en route to the championship.
Next up on the tournament trail for the Kings is a return to Blaine, Minn., December 1-4 as they once again compete in a North American Hockey League Future Prospects event after taking the title in the initial NAHLFP tourney back in October.