THUNDER BAY – A pair of Thunder Bay Kings AAA teams began their respective seasons over the weekend, where they played a combined .500 hockey over the course of six games.
Both the under-16 and U-15 Kings were in Oak Bluff, Man., with each side playing a three-game exhibition set with clubs from the RINK Academy Prep School.
The U-16s posted a 2-1 record, taking the opening two contests by scores of 6-3 and 4-2 before falling in the finale 5-3, that was finalized by an empty-net goal.
In the opener, Cooper Labelle led the Thunder Bay attack with a hat trick while Jadan Desormeaux tallied once and set-up another in his Kings’ debut.
Also connecting for the club were Brady Richards and Carter Poddubny, with netminder Chase Furlong turning aside 41 of the 44 shots fired his way.
Game 2 saw Easton Mikus, Lucas Bailey, Richards and Poddubny all find the back of the net.
Thunder Bay goalkeeper Travis VanderZwaag was also trong, finishing with 40 shots in the triumph.
Wrapping up the series, the Kings received solid efforts from Dakota Cooper, Grady Holden and Hudson Gerry despite the setback.
As for the U-15 side, they dropped the initial pair of match-ups versus their RINK Academy counterparts by counts of 6-2 and 7-1 before rebounding for a 4-3 victory to wrap-up the proceedings.
In their season opener, Thunder Bay got goals from Nico Simeoni and Jeremy Hutshison with goaltender Brady Cates turning in a good outing in net despite the loss.
In the middle affair, Kings’ stopper Charlie Weiss was excellent, keeping the game close through two periods, despite being heavily outshot.
Simeoni brought his squad closer early in the third, but an eventual 62-shot barrage against proved to be too much in defeat.
Finishing strong, the Kings never trailed en route to the Game 3 decision.
Thunder Bay defenceman Kieran Lemmety tallied twice, including notching the game-winner, in the triumph while Reggie Taylor and Bruce Bouchard supplied singles.
Backstopped by yet another solid goaltending effort, Cates collected the win.
Right back at it this weekend, the U-15 Kings will be Duluth, Minn., for a pair of preseason affairs, Saturday and Sunday, against the Minnesota Voyageurs of the state’s AAA High Performance Tier-1 League.