TROY, Mich. – The Thunder Bay Kings are off to a winning start at the North American Prospects Hockey League Dixon Cup Silver Division playoffs in Troy, Mich.
Day 1 action Friday saw both the major and minor midget sides produce identical 5-2 victories with the under-18 Kings defeating the Arizona Bobcats while the under-16 squad skated to a decision over the Valley Forge Minutemen.
In the triumph over Arizona, Thunder Bay’s Christian Veneruzzo got his team going early in the second period following a scoreless first.
The Bobcats would tie it at 10:47, but Robert Tyska put the Kings back on top a couple shifts later.
They then put the game away in the third on goals from Benjamin Pretty, Jacob Anttonen, and Veneruzzo, before the Bobcats added one with just seconds remaining.
Bradley VanderZwaag, Michael Moga, and Michael Vecchio all chipped in with two assists each in the victory.
Kings’ netminder Seth McKay faced 23 shots in securing the win.
The major midgets have a pair of tilts on the docket Saturday beginning with a 9 a.m. match-up with the California Titans before finishing the day against the Everett Silvertips from Washington State at 5 p.m.
Thunder Bay also started strong in their U-16 win over Valley Forge as they grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period on tallies by Nicholas DeGrazia and Dason Lampi.
Nikolas Campbell then put them up by three in the middle session before the Minutemen got on the board late in that frame.
Bryson Cataldo and Michael Stubbs then sandwiched markers around one from Valley Forge in the third to round out the scoring.
DeGrazia also chipped in with two assists in the triumph while Eric Vanska made 22 saves to record the win.
Up next for the minor midgets is a 7:15 a.m. encounter Saturday vs. the California Titans U-16 squad.