THUNDER BAY, Ont. – There are now 10 teams left in the hunt for the title at the TELUS Cup West Regional, presented by Windsor Plywood, as the field narrows for the upcoming AAA midget hockey event, which goes April 5-8 at Fort William First Nation Arena.
The Hockey Northwestern Ontario branch championship gets underway this weekend as the Thunder Bay major midget Kings commence their best-of-five series vs. the rival Kenora Thistles with Games 1-2 Saturday and Sunday at FWFNA.
Game 3 goes March 23 in Kenora as will Game 4 & 5 if they are necessary on March 24 and 25 respectively.
Regardless of the outcome, both clubs will compete in the West Regional as will the title holders of the Manitoba and Saskatchewan AAA Midget Hockey Leagues.
They are down to the final four teams in both of those leagues to see who will be making the trip to Thunder Bay next month.
In Manitoba, the two league best-of-five semifinals began Monday evening with the top ranked Winnipeg Wild dropping the rival Winnipeg Thrashers 4-1 in their opening contest while No. 2 Brandon Wheat Kings needed overtime to get past the No. 3 Winnipeg Bruins 3-2.
Game 2 in each match-up goes Wednesday in Winnipeg.
Meanwhile over in Saskatchewan, the regular season-winning Notre Dame Hounds are one win away from moving on the SMAAAHL final as they are up 2-0 on the Swift Current Legionnaires in that best-of-five set.
Game 3 there goes Thursday in Wilcox, Sask.
The other semifinal has the No. 5 Prince Albert Mintos also up 2-0 in their series with the No. 2 Regina Pat Canadians.
They next meet Wednesday in Regina as the Mintos look to finish off the upset.
West Regional website: TELUSCupWest.ca
West Regional online ticket purchases: giantevents.tickit.ca
Here’s a look at how each region is breaking down on the trail to the TELUS Cup West Regional, presented by Windsor Plywood, in Thunder Bay.
All start times local
Hockey Northwestern Ontario Championship
Thunder Bay Kings vs. Kenora Thistles
Game 1: Saturday, March 17 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: Sunday, March 18 @ Thunder Bay 12:30 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, March 23 @ Kenora 7:30 p.m.
Game 4*: Saturday, March 24 @ Kenora 2:30 p.m.
Game 5*: Sunday, March 25 @ Kenora 2:30 p.m.
Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League
No. 1 Winnipeg Wild vs. No. 4 Winnipeg Thrashers
Wild leads best-of-five series 1-0
Game 1: Wild 4 Thrashers 1
Game 2: Wednesday, March 14 @ Thrashers 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, March 16 @ Wild 7:15 p.m.
Game 4*: Sunday, March 18 @ Thrashers 3:30 p.m.
Game 5*: Tuesday, March 20 @ Wild 7:30 p.m.
No. 2 Brandon Wheat Kings vs. No. 3 Winnipeg Bruins
Brandon leads best-of-five series 1-0
Game 1: Brandon 3 Winnipeg 2 (OT)
Game 2: Wednesday, March 14 @ Winnipeg 7 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, March 16 @ Brandon 7:30 p.m.
Game 4*: Sunday, March 18 @ Winnipeg 5:45 p.m.
Game 5*: Tuesday, March 20 @ Brandon 7:30 p.m.
MMHL finals T.B.A.
Saskatchewan AAA Midget League
No. 1 Notre Dame Hounds vs. No. 5 Swift Current Legionnaires
Notre Dame leads best-of-five series 2-0
Game 1: Notre Dame 5 Swift Current 2
Game 2: Notre Dame 4 Swift Current 1
Game 3: Thursday, March 15 @ Notre Dame 8 p.m.
Game 4*: Sunday, March 18 @ Swift Current 6:30 p.m.
Game 5*: Tuesday, March 20 @ Notre Dame 8 p.m.
No. 2 Regina Pat Canadians vs. No. 3 Prince Albert Mintos
Prince Albert leads best-of-five series 2-0
Game 1: Prince Albert 4 Regina 3
Game 2: Prince Albert 4 Regina 0
Game 3: Wednesday, March 14 @ Regina 8 p.m.
Game 4*: Saturday, March 17 @ Prince Albert 7 p.m.
Game 5*: Monday, March 19 @ Regina 8 p.m.
SMAAAHL finals T.B.A.
TELUS Cup West Regional, presented by Windsor Plywood
April 5-8, Thunder Bay, Ont.
All games at Fort William First Nation Arena
Thunder Bay Kings (HOST-HNO)
Kenora Thistles (HNO)
Manitoba AAA midget champion (MAN)
Saskatchewan AAA midget champion (SASK)
Thursday, April 5
Kenora vs. Saskatchewan 5 p.m. (FWFNA)
Manitoba vs. Thunder Bay 8 p.m. (FWFNA)
Friday, April 6
Manitoba vs. Saskatchewan 3 p.m. (FWFNA)
Thunder Bay vs. Kenora 8 p.m. (FWFNA)
Saturday, April 7
Kenora vs. Manitoba 12 p.m. (FWFNA)
Saskatchewan vs. Thunder Bay 3 p.m. (FWFNA)
Sunday, April 8
Final: 2nd round robin vs. 1st round robin 2 p.m. (FWFNA)
Winner advances to TELUS Cup Canadian National Midget Championship, April 23-29, in Sudbury, Ont.