VIRDEN, Man. – The Thunder Bay Kings let a three-goal lead get away and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Winnipeg Wild Friday in Day 2 action at the TELUS Cup West Regional at Tundra Oil & Gas Place.
A solid start for Thunder Bay saw Owen Voortman tally twice before the contest was 10 minutes old to put them up early.
His initial marker came at 4:17 as he out muscled a Winnipeg defender for a loose puck behind the net and got it out front for a shot by Kaden Goodwin, that was stopped, but Voortman was there to bang in the rebound.
He then tacked on his second of the session, four minutes later, off a pass up ice by Keagan Jones that allowed him to split the Wild defence and go in alone on netminder Andrew Ness where he made a nice move and neatly tucked a backhander between the legs to make it 2-0 Kings.
Carrying their cushion into second stanza, the Hockey Northwestern Ontario district champions extended their lead to three at 5:47, via the power play, when Zach Biniaris skated over the blueline at left a drop pass for Josh Lehto who wired a snap shot high over the blocker of Ness from the high slot.
Getting one back near the midway mark of the match-up, Winnipeg’s Ty Genik slammed in a chance off a Logan Benton effort that Kings’ starter Keenan Marks could not quite control during an odd-man rush.
On the man advantage to begin the third, the Wild capitalized 51 seconds in as Kai Elkie jammed one past Marks from the top of the crease.
Tying it up after chipping a play past a defender and coming out of their own territory on a three-on-two, the Manitoba title holders drew level at 7:03 when Belton finished off a cross-ice feed from Noah Dziver by driving hard to the net and redirecting one past the pad of an outstretched Marks.
Completing their comeback, Winnipeg took advantage of a turnover by the Kings in their own zone, which led to Elkie to putting in the game-winner, into the open side with just under four minutes remaining.
The Wild held a 42-33 edge in shots with Ness getting the win while Marks suffered the defeat.
Both teams now sit with 1-1 records at the four-team event.
Thunder Bay wraps up round robin play Saturday at 1:30 p.m. as they take on the Notre Dame Hounds.
TELUS Cup West Regional schedule/results
@ Virden, Man.
All start times ET
Thursday, April 28
Notre Dame 3 Winnipeg 2
Thunder Bay 4 Southwest 3 (OT)
Friday, April 29
Winnipeg 4 Thunder Bay 3
Notre Dame vs. Southwest 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 30
Thunder Bay vs. Notre Dame 1:30 p.m.
Southwest vs. Winnipeg 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 1
2nd round robin vs. 1st round robin 3 p.m.
Winner advances to the TELUS Cup Canadian U-18 championship, May 16-22, in Okotoks, Alta.