Kings blank Thistles to win 1st game at West Regional

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THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Goaltender Jordan Smith turned aside all 30 shots he faced to help the Thunder Bay Kings blank the Kenora Thistles 3-0 Friday evening in Day 2 play at the TELUS Cup West Regional, presented by Windsor Plywood, at Fort William First Nation Arena in Thunder Bay.

A hard-checking opening stanza saw neither side connect offensively.

It was another tightly played hard-fought middle frame with the Kings eventually breaking the deadlock as Kyle Swerhun swooped in and cut right and buried his chance off a Jonathon Kilby feed past a sprawled Matthew Booth in the Kenora net at 16:15.

The Kings added to their lead five minutes into the final frame as Michael Vecchio was there to bury a loose puck from in close to put the hosts up by two.

Vecchio added another in the back-half of the period to finish off the night’s scoring.

Matthew Booth faced 35 shots in defeat for the Thistles.

Round robin play concludes Saturday as Kenora (0-2) takes on the Winnipeg Wild (1-) at noon before the Kings (1-1) meet the Notre Dame Hounds (2-0) at 3 p.m.

The top two teams after the round robin will meet in the championship game Sunday at 2 p.m.

Awaiting the 2018 West Regional winner will be a berth to the TELUS Cup Canadian National Midget event, April 23-29, in Sudbury, Ont.

Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com