TISDALE, Sask. – The Thunder Bay major midget Kings struck for three third periods goals, in a four-minute span, to pull out a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday night in Day 2 action at the TELUS Cup West Regional in Tisdale, Sask.
It was Thunder Bay that held the edge in the first half opening frame and they were rewarded with a goal from Dawson Lampi as he finished off a Kyler Belluz feed 8:27 into the contest.
Brandon turned the tables though in the latter portion of the session as they capitalized twice in back-to-back man-advantage situations with Nolan Ritchie making no mistake from the slot at 15:49 before Troy Hamilton notched another power play goal just 37 seconds later.
However, the Hockey Northwestern Ontario title holders answered off a faceoff deep in Wheat Kings territory, following an icing call, with under a second to go in the period that saw Anthony Biniaris snap one from just inside the blueline that found its way through a maze in front and in before the buzzer sounded to tie it at 2-2.
Collecting assists on the play for the Kings with Cole MacKenzie and Nikolas Campbell.
Moving on to the middle stanza, it was the Wheat Kings who tallied twice in rapid succession once more to gain the upper hand.
Brayden Michaluk darted in and went upstairs on Thunder Bay netminder Jordan Smith at 13:42 before teammate Hamilton finished off a crisp cross-ice feed just over a minute later for his second of the day to put the Manitoba Midget Hockey League champions up by a pair after two.
The Kings pulled back to within one, eight minutes into the final frame, with Travis Hensrud stuffing one in from the side of Brandon goalkeeper Dawson Green with help from Campbell and Biniaris.
Going to the power play, Thunder Bay tied it at 11:01 with Belluz burying one from long range to knot the score at 4-4.
After the Wheat Kings picked up another penalty, the Kings made them pay once more as Campbell wired one from the right circle that beat Green to put Thunder Bay in front 61 seconds later.
A strong forecheck and some key stops by Smith sealed the win from there as the Kings improved to 1-1 while Brandon slipped to 0-2.
Biniaris and Campbell chipped in with two assists apiece, to go with their goals, to finish with three-point performances.
The Wheat Kings did hold the edge in shots by a 40-33 count with Smith registering the win while Green was saddled with the loss.
Game 2 Friday sees the Notre Dame Hounds 1-0) taking on the also unbeaten Tisdale Trojans (1-0) in an all-Saskatchewan affair at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday sees the Kings and Hounds meeting at 2 pm EDT while the Trojans and Wheat Kings square off at 5:30 pm EDT.
The top two teams, following round robin play, will meet in the final Sunday at 4 pm.
The West Regional winner, or finalist if the Kings prevail, advances to the TELUS Cup National Midget Hockey Championship, April 22-28, at the Fort William Gardens.
TELUS Cup ticket packages for the seven-day event remain on sale at HockeyCanada.ca/tickets.
TELUS Cup West Regional
Tisdale Trojans (Host) (SAAAMHL)
Thunder Bay Kings (HNO)
Brandon Wheat Kings (MMHL)
Notre Dame Hounds (SAAAMHL)
Thursday, April 4
Game 1: Notre Dame 4 Brandon 2
Game 2: Tisdale 3 Thunder Bay 1
Friday, April 5
Game 3: Thunder Bay 5 Brandon 4
Game 4: Notre Dame vs. Tisdale 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 6
Game 5: Thunder Bay vs. Notre Dame 2 p.m.
Game 6: Tisdale vs. Brandon 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7
Final: 2nd round robin vs. 1st round robin 4 p.m.