Winnipeg tops Thunder Bay 4-1 at West Regional

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THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Kyle Bettens and Mitchell Joss had a goal and two assists apiece to propel the Winnipeg Wild to a 4-1 triumph over the Thunder Bay Kings Thursday in Day 1 play at the TELUS Cup West Regional, presented by Windsor Plywood, at Fort William First Nation Arena.

Winnipeg picked up the night’s opening tally midway through the first frame as Bettens was sent in alone on a breakaway and made no mistake as he made a couple of quick dekes before moving left and sliding the puck into the open side past a sprawled Seth McKay in the Thunder Bay net.

The Kings generated more chances in the middle stanza, but could not solve Wild goalkeeper Miles Minor.

Thunder Bay pressed the pace later in the frame, however Winnipeg capitalized by chipping the puck out and going in on a two-on-one with Mitchell Joss finishing off the crisp passing of teammates Eric Fawkes and Bettens at 17:04.

The home side came out flying to begin the third and were rewarded 25 seconds in as Robert Tyska stuffed in a chance from in front to put his side on the board.

However the Wild got that back at the tail-end of a four-minute power play when Matt Shatsky’s point shot fooled McKay and found it’s way into the back of the net to make it 3-1 at 4:39.

Winnipeg then capped off the victory midway through the final session on a Luc Benedictson effort.

Eric Fawkes aided the Wild cause with two assists on the night.

Minor finished with 17 saves to record the victory while McKay faced 31 attempts in defeat.

Day 2 action at the West Regional goes Friday as Winnipeg takes on the Notre Dame Hounds at 4 p.m. while the Kings take on the rival Kenora Thistles at 8 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