Thunder Bay Kings host TELUS Cup
April 21, 2019
They didn’t get the regional title they wanted, but the confidence the NAPHL's Thunder Bay Kings gained might be just as important when they welcome the best in the nation to northwestern Ontario.
Already assured of a place at the TELUS Cup as host team, the West Regional was little more than a warm-up for the Kings, who got a somewhat stress-free opportunity to measure themselves against potential competition.
All Thunder Bay did was score late to eliminate the defending national champions from Notre Dame in the preliminary round, and push Tisdale to overtime in the regional final.
Now it’s on to the big tournament.
The Kings are the only team among the 146 eligible for the TELUS Cup who do not play in a Midget league in Canada. Instead, they plied their trade this season in the North American Prospects Hockey League, facing off against teams from St. Louis, Sioux Falls, Everett, Nashville and Colorado Springs, among others.
A 13-6-1 team during the regular season, Thunder Bay put it together in the playoffs, winning all five of its games to claim the Dixon Cup as NAPHL 18U Dixon Cup Champions.
Next up was the Hockey Northwestern Ontario playdowns; a three-game sweep of the Kenora Thistles booked their spot at the West Regional in Tisdale, the final stop on the Road to the TELUS Cup.
The Kings are back at the tournament for the first time since a run from 1995 to 1997, when they became just the second team to appear in the gold medal game in in three consecutive years (gold in 1995 and 1997, silver in 1996).
HOW THEY GOT TO THUNDER BAY
Hockey Northwestern Ontario
Final: defeated Kenora 3-0 (5-4 OT, 4-1, 3-1)
Preliminary round: 1-1-1 – second place (lost to Tisdale 3-1, defeated Brandon 5-4, tied Notre Dame 1-1)
Championship game: lost to Tisdale 6-5 OT
REGULAR SEASON (NAPHL)
Record (W-L-OTL): 13-6-1 (3rd in NAPHL)
Goals for: 69 (1st in NAPHL)
Goals against: 34 (T-3rd in NAPHL)
Longest winning streak: 3 (Oct. 22-Nov. 9)
Top 3 scorers:
- Nikolas Campbell – 13G 13A 26P (2nd in NAPHL)
- Nicholas DeGrazia – 14G 10A 24P (3rd in NAPHL)
- Christian Veneruzzo – 2G 10A 12P (35th in NAPHL)
PLAYOFFS (HNO/WEST REGIONAL)
Goals for: 24
Goals against: 20
Top 3 scorers:
- Nikolas Campbell – 5G 6A 11P
- Nicholas DeGrazia – 2G 5A 7P
- Travis Hensrud – 2G 5A 7P