By Larry Robertson, Special to the News
Powerplay goals by Ryan Lewis and Cole Nagy carried Ancaster Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the Stratford Cullitons in the Sixth Annual Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase Event last Saturday in St. Catharines.
Twenty-seven teams took part in the one-day interlock showcase, which involved teams from the Golden Horseshoe, Midwestern, and Western Ontario Conferences. The results counted toward each club’s regular season standings. A total of 14 games were played.
The event was an opportunity for scouts to evaluate and interact with GOJHL prospect players who were seeking to progress to the Ontario Hockey League, Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the NCAA, and professional hockey.
Luke Zupan with a goal and an assist completed the Avalanche scoring while Blake Luscome and Zach Nieminen each set up a pair goals against Stratford.
“We responded very well to Stratford following Friday’s game against Port Colborne Pirates (4-3 shootout loss),” said general manager and coach Ryan Kuwabara. “Everyone worked extremely hard. I really liked the way the character of our team shone through as we focused on the game we had to play, and did not dwell on the night before.
“We did all the small little things right, which help to win hockey games —things like blocking shots, chipping pucks out of our zone and getting pucks to the net. It definitely was another step in the right direction for our club.”
Next action for Ancaster is against Thorold Blackhawks on Thursday, Oct. 17. On Saturday night, the Niagara Falls Canucks come to town for a 7:30 p.m. face-off at Morgan Firestone Arena.
Last Friday night, the Avs dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Port Colborne Pirates when Charlie Izaguirre scored the winner in a shootout.
Ryan Lewis, Eric Eustace, and Zach Nieminen replied for the Avalanche.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well in Port Colborne,” said Kuwabara. “We seemed to come out flat right from the drop of the puck. We got away from our game plan, and took too many penalties.
“The night before, we started slowly against Caledonia, but played solidly against them in the last half of the game. They have a very good club, and you need to be sharp for 60 minutes, if we want to beat them.”
Last Thursday at Firestone Arena, Luke Zupan’s power-play goal at 14:30 of the third period for Ancaster spoiled the shutout by Colin Furlong as the Avalanche fell 4-1 to the league-leading Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs. The game was played before the club’s largest crowd of the season — 483 fans.
The night had a special feel to it as the Avs said thank you to their loyal supporters by providing Thanks 2 U Thursday $2 tickets to participants and coaches in Ancaster girls and boys minor hockey, and the Ancaster Figure Skating Club who wore their team sweaters, jackets, and/or uniforms, or Avalanche merchandise.
EJ Scala of the AA Avalanche stole the show in the second-period intermission shootout when the Cornish Hen he shot from the left face-off landed closest to the turkey in centre-ice face-off circle. He and his family received a Thanksgiving turkey courtesy of Brian Biemann Chartered Accounting.