Hockey Provincials – Tough Tuesday for Thunder Bay Kings

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BURLINGTON, Ont. – It was a tough Tuesday for the two Thunder Bay Kings clubs competing at All-Ontario provincial championships in southern Ontario.

In Burlington, the under-13 side dropped a narrow 5-4 decision to the Soo Jr. Greyhounds, then fell 4-2 to the Niagara North Stars as part of a two-game slate.

Meanwhile in Middlesex Centre, Ont., the U-15 team from the Lakehead were downed 3-2 by Ottawa Myers Automotive in their initial match-up of the day before falling against the Huron-Perth Lakers by the same 3-2 count.

In the U-13’s opener Tuesday, the Kings were foiled by a five-goal effort from Sault Ste. Marie’s Adam Pszeniczny, who notched all his club’s markers in their triumph.

He got the Thunderbirds going with a pair of first period tallies, including snapping one in from the slot during a two-man advantage.

Nick Rojik put the Kings in the board early in the second stanza with an early power play effort.

However, Pszeniczny went back to work for the Soo by collecting two more, to put the Soo up 4-1, featuring a strong power move where he took the play wide and tucked the puck past the outstretched pad of Thunder Bay netminder Lukkas Moffat and a fourth on the day with a high-rising back hand while moving down the left wing.

Up a skater late in the second, Kings’ coach Joe Ritson called a timeout to set-up the power play and it paid immediate dividends as Keegan Bragnalo connected just 12 seconds into it.

Carrying the play in the third, Rojik made it 4-3 at 2:21 as he whistled one off the cross bar and in from just inside the blueline, with a blistering shot.

Still pressing, Thunder Bay drew level with 6:40 to play as Jace Voortman was credited with the tying tally during a frenzied goal-mouth scramble.

Spoiling the Kings’ comeback bid was Pszeniczny, who capped off his impressive performance by firing an attempt on net from a sharp angle that managed to get through the goaltender, in what proved to be the game-winner with two and a half minutes remaining.

Getting Moffat out for an extra attacker, Thunder Bay had a couple of late opportunities to level the proceedings yet again, but just missed on a pair of quality chances in suffering their first defeat at the provincials.

Earning player of the game honours for the Kings was Jake Ritson.

In their meeting with Niagara, the North Stars skated out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play after a second man jammed in and scored from the top of the crease while another threw a shot up into the top shelf, also from close range.

Getting one back early in the middle session, Ritson spun and fired a low shot from the right circle under the Niagara netminder.

Some crisp, cross ice, puck movement helped their opponents restore their cushion midway through the proceedings as they took a two-goal cushion into the intermission as Giacomo Del Priore scored his second of the contest, to go with an earlier assist, for a three-point game.

Thunder Bay’s Voortman was attributed with a goal off the post 2:56 into the third, but the Stars secured the victory in the late going with a nice deke.

Kings’ starter Charlie Weiss was named his team’s player of the game.

Their lone contest Wednesday sees them taking on the Huron-Perth Lakers at 2 p.m., back in Burlington.

Meanwhile, Thunder Bay’s under-15 Kings’ side fell behind early to Ottawa and could not fully recover in suffering the close setback.

Matthew Bertolin supplied by goals for Thunder Bay, with Carter Podduby, Jack Lambert and Dakota Copper collecting assists.

In their night-cap with Huron-Perth, the U-15s started strong with the opening goal as Easton Mikus slammed one in with help from Nicholas Silvaggio and Cooper Labelle.

After the Lakers drew level later in the first, the Kings went back in front with two minutes left in the second on another by Mikus that Poddubny and Bertolin earn helpers during a man advantage opportunity.

However, Huron-Perth came right back and tallied twice to take a 3-2 edge into the intermission, getting one on the power play, and another at even strength and held on from there to get the win.

Thunder Bay has two games scheduled by Wednesday as they meet the host Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs at 10:15 p.m., before facing off with the North Bay Trappers at 5:15 p.m.

SUMMARIES:

U-13:

vs. Sault Ste. Marie

vs. Niagara

U-15:

vs. Ottawa 

vs. Huron-Perth

All-Ontario U-13 AAA Championship
April 11-15: Burlington, Ont.

April 11: vs. Burlington Eagles (5-1 win)
April 12: vs. Soo Jr. Greyhounds (5-4 loss)
April 12: vs. Niagara North Stars (4-2 loss)
April 13: vs. Huron-Perth Lakers 4 p.m.
April 14: vs. Ottawa Valley Titans 12 p.m.
April 14: vs. Don Mills Flyers 6 p.m.
April 15: Semifinals/Medal Games (Top 4 teams in round robin)

All-Ontario U-15 AAA Championship
April 11-15: Middlesex Centre, Ont.

April 11: vs. Toronto Jr. Canadiens (15-0 loss)
April 12: vs. Ottawa Myers Automotive (3-2 loss)
April 12: vs. Huron-Perth Lakers (3-2 loss)
April 13: vs. Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs 11:15 a.m.
April 13: vs. North Bay Trappers 5:15 p.m.
April 14: vs. Halton Hurricanes 12:15 p.m.
April 15: Semifinals/Medal Games (Top 4 teams in round robin)

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