By Larry Robertson, Special to the News
Goalie Braydon Banitsiotis gave the Ancaster Avalanche every chance that he could to come back to defeat the Niagara Falls Canucks. In the end, the team lost 2-1 to the Canucks in Golden Horseshoe Conference Junior B Hockey action Saturday at Morgan Firestone Arena.
In the four games since the Ancaster native was acquired form the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, Banitsiotis has recorded three wins and has a goals against average of 2.26.
Saturday’s loss was the second consecutive for the Avalanche. They lost a 4-3 overtime decision to Thorold Blackhawks last Thursday in the Thorold Community Centre. Drake Hart scored three times, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead Thorold to victory. He had both goals in the second period before the Avalanche roared back in the third with goals by Zach Nieminen, Ryan Lewis and Mike Pollice. Owen Sobchak had the other Blackhawk goal.
Nieminen leads the Avs in scoring and holds third place in the Greater Ontario Junior B Hockey League scoring race with a virtual goal-a-game pace.
In 16 games, he has netted 15 goals and set up 12 other for 27 points on the season, just one point out of second. The 19-year-old from Ajax has scored five times on power-plays and once when his club was shorthanded. He has one game-winning goal.
Mitch McIntosh opened the scoring at 6:33 of the first period for the Canucks. Two minutes into the second period, Dylan Savory gave them a 2-0 lead. Luke Zupan pulled Ancaster to within a goal at 6:17, but that was a close as they could get. There was no scoring in the third period.
Dylan Pietrangelo in goal for the Canucks on Saturday faced 21 Ancaster shots during the final 40 minutes. Banitsiotis made 14 saves, several of a spectacular nature.
The Avalanche remains in fourth place in the GHC standings with a record of seven wins, five losses and four overtime losses.
The next action for Ancaster is Friday night, Oct. 25, when they take on the league-leading Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs in the Haldimand Community Centre. The Avalanche return home Saturday night to face the Thorold Blackhawks.