THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay major midget Kings saw Michael Vecchio score once and help set-up three others as they went on to defeat the rival Kenora Thistles 7-3 Saturday evening in Game 1 of their Hockey Northwestern Ontario AAA midget District Championship at Fort William First Nation Arena.
It was a free-wheeling opening 20 minutes as the two sides combined for three goals apiece in an action-packed session.
Thunder Bay needed just 20 seconds to open the scoring on a Robert Tyska effort.
Taking advantage of a couple of Kings’ penalties, Kenora clicked twice on the power play to take the lead as Jared Neniska and Jacob Frankcom both connected for the Thistles.
The back and forth session saw Kyle Swerhun score at even strength at 11:18 while Vecchio hit on a man advantage three and a half minutes later to put the home team back into the lead.
Kenora would draw level late in the first on a Cooper Witherspoon unassisted goal.
It was all Thunder Bay in the middle session however as they tallied three times to gain the edge.
Swerhun started the offensive outburst before Anthony Biniaris and Peter Hannula converted on power play opportunities.
A third man-advantage marker 4:41 into the final frame to put the game away as Ben Pretty rounded out the night’s scoring.
Tyska and Jacob Anttonen chipped in with two assists apiece for the Kings.
Game 2 in this best-of-five affair goes Sunday at 12:30 p.m. back at FWFNA.
That will be followed by the third and deciding game of the HNO District peewee final between Thunder Bay and the Dryden Paper Kings, which goes at 3 p.m.
Earlier Saturday, Thunder Bay claimed the AAA bantam crown with a sweep of Kenora to advance to the All-Ontario championship, April 2-6, in Orillia.
HNO AAA Midget
Thunder Bay Kings vs. Kenora Thistles
Thunder Bay leads best-of-five series 1-0
Game 1: Thunder Bay 7 Kenora 3
Game 2: Sunday, March 18 @ Thunder Bay 12:30 p.m. (FWFNA)
Game 3: Friday, March 23 @ Kenora 8:30 p.m. (Rec. Centre)
Game 4*: Saturday, March 24 @ Kenora 2:30 p.m. (Rec. Centre)
Game 5*: Sunday, March 25 @ Kenora 2:30 p.m. (Rec. Centre)