VIRDEN, Man. – The Thunder Bay under-18 Kings 2021-22 campaign came to a close Saturday after they dropped an 8-3 decision to a solid Notre Dame Hounds side at the TELUS Cup West Regional in Virden, Man.
Notre Dame opened the scoring in the first period after a Thunder Bay defender inadvertently batted the puck into his own net, that was credited to the Hounds’ Cole Wirun.
The Saskatchewan U-18 title holders then made it 2-0 midway through the opening frame off a high dump-in over the net that wound its way back in front and was stuffed in from the left of Kings’ netminder Nate Krawchuk by Ishan Mittoo-Khulbe.
Getting one back at 15:18, Josh Lehto buried one, blocker side, off a scrambled draw as he found himself alone in front and converted from close range in beating goalkeeper Joey Rocha.
However, the Hounds came right back to restore their two-goal lead nine seconds later with Andrew Altwasser striking with a low shot from the slot.
Moving to the second stanza, a fourth Notre Dame marker came early, just after a power play they were on expired, as Mittoo-Khulbe banged in his second of the day during a goal-mouth scramble.
Opting to make a goaltending change, the Kings’ Keenan Marks was peppered right off the bat and saw the Hounds make it 5-1 when Kaden MacLean whipped one upstairs from the top of the left circle.
Continuing to press, they tacked on another off a three-on-one thanks to Ben Aucoin zipping one high over the glove of Marks.
The onslaught continued with Connor O’Keefe finishing off a rebound as Notre Dame extended their big lead.
Getting one back halfway through the match-up, a strange bounce off a stanchion allowed Thunder Bay’s E.J. Paddington to fire a shot in front that was redirected in by Evan Lachimea.
Capping off a hat trick, deep in the second, Mittoo-Khulbe made a nice move to finish off a mini two-on-one.
Krawchuk returned to begin the final frame and the Kings picked up a third goal as Owen Voortman wired one from up high, via the power play, with help from Keagan Jones and Brodie McLeod, in what proved to be the final tally in the affair.
Collecting player of the game honours for Thunder Bay was Voortman.
Unbeaten Notre Dame will now play either the Winnipeg Wild or Southwest Cougars Sunday afternoon in the regional final, with the winner there advancing to the TELUS Cup national U-18 AAA championship, May 16-22, in Okotoks, Alta.
NO GAME SUMMARY AVAILABLE
TELUS Cup West Regional schedule/results
@ Virden, Man.
Thursday, April 28
Notre Dame 3 Winnipeg 2
Thunder Bay 4 Southwest 3 (OT)
Friday, April 29
Winnipeg 4 Thunder Bay 3
Notre Dame 3 Southwest 0
Saturday, April 30
Notre Dame 8 Thunder Bay 3
Southwest vs. Winnipeg 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 1
2nd round robin vs. Notre Dame 3 p.m.