Kenora has now lost five of six games after pair of losses to second placed Yellowhead
High flying Yellowhead beat Thistles twice in weekend series.
The Kenora Midget AAA Thistles faltered this weekend against the second placed Yellowhead Chiefs with a 7-3 loss Friday night and a 3-0 loss Saturday night at Thistle Arena.
The Thistles have lost five of their last six games and are now out of the Manitoba Midget Hockey League playoff picture after the Winnipeg Bruins beat the Norman Northstars 8-4 Sunday.
The Thistles they certainly had a better start than finish in their 7-3 loss to the Yellowhead Chiefs Friday night.
Thirty-one seconds into the game Thistle forward Jacob Frankcom took a feed from Aidan Shumka, sniping a shot from the faceoff dot to open the scoring. A few minutes later Reed Bodnar raced into the Chiefs zone and beat Nathan Falloon to double the home team’s lead. Thistle captain Cooper Witherspoon made it 3-0 after he walked in and went blocker side on Falloon.
Jake Poole gave the Chiefs life towards the end of the first period to bring Yellowhead back into the game.
Chiefs forward Colby Wotton kept the momentum going scoring off a faceoff win by Briley Wood two minutes into the second period to draw within one.
Colby Joseph levelled things up for the visitors with a hard shot from the hashmark. The very next shift Cooper Hatfield prevented Logan Wotton from making it 4-3 after going cross ice and getting a pad on Wotton’s attempt.
A couple minutes later, with Thistle defenceman Bryson McDonald in the box for slashing, Wotton enacted revenge. Hatfield had no chance on his pinpoint accurate snipe off the post and in to give Yellowhead the lead in the second.
“They made it 4-3 and we’re behind the eight ball,” said Thistles head coach Doug Novak. “We’re fighting for our life.”
The life seemed to get sucked out of the Thistles as the Chiefs piled on three more goals in the third period. Yellowhead’s fifth goal must be commended on what can only be a set play off a defensive zone faceoff. After winning the draw Chiefs defenceman Owen Wareham sent a long stretch pass off the boards to a darting Sloan Stanick who went forehand backhand to give the Chiefs an insurance marker with 12 minutes to go in the third.
“What killed us was taking bad penalties,” Novak said. “We could’ve won tonight but we started taking selfish penalties.”
Kenora took eight penalties compared to Yellowhead’s four. The Chiefs went 2-for-8 with the man advantage.
In Saturday’s rematch the Thistles played a more complete game, but a few mistakes cost them.
A bad pinch at the offensive blueline gifted the Chiefs a 2-on-1 opportunity and Stanick waited for the perfect moment to slide the puck across to Wotton who made no mistake.
A few minutes later Thistle forward Tristan Houston was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for head contact. The call was up for debate as it looked as if the Chiefs player had fallen into the six-foot-two Houston.
Either way, the Chiefs capitalized on the powerplay to make it 2-0. There was no scoring in the second period, but the Thistles had a few good chances. Chiefs forward Parker Johnson made it 3-0 late in the third to totally deflate the Thistles.
Kenora makes a western road swing next weekend with three games in three days against Central Plains, Southwest and Brandon. The road trip kicks off Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. against Central Plains.
Chiefs forward Zane MacDonald gets ready for a shot on Thistle goalie Cooper Hatfield in the second period of Yellowhead's 7-3 win over Kenora at Thistle Arena on Saturday, Nov. 30.
Thistle forward Reed Bodnar bears down on Chiefs goalie Nathon Falloon in Manitoba Midget Hockey League action at Thistle Arena on Friday, Nov. 30.