The Kenora U18 AAA Thistles will be welcoming the Southwest Cougars this weekend at the Kenora Rec Centre for a pair of exhibition games.

It’s been almost two months since the Thistles took the ice for a competitive game, which was a 6-0 loss to the Winnipeg Wild back on February 16, 2022.

COVID-19 benched Kenora following the Christmas break due to rising COVID-19 numbers. They were forced to forfeit 14 of their final 16 games, with being able to play two exhibition games in the middle of February.

These two games against Southwest will serve as tune-up games for the Thistles, before taking on the Thunder Bay Kings in the 2022 Telus Cup qualifying April 15-18, 2022 in a best-of-five series.

The winner of that series will punch their ticket to the Western Regionals being held in Virden, MB from April 28 – May 1, 2022.

These games will also be tune-up games for the Cougars as they are the host of the Telus Cup Western Regionals.

Kenora finished the 2021-2022 season with only two wins while being led offensively by Jett Mintenko with 38 points, Nickolas Fagnilli notching 27 points, and Brandon Gustafson with 17 points on the season.

The two-game series gets going on Saturday night (April 9, 2022) at 7:30 p.m. at the Rec Centre with game two bright and early Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.