By Larry Robertson, Special to The News
Ancaster Avalanche are very much in the hunt for the Golden Horseshoe Conference playoffs despite their weekend split with the Thorold Blackhawks and Welland Junior Canadians.
Entering this weekend the Avalanche have only 12 games remaining in their regular season schedule and every game is now a must-win, according to general manager and coach Ryan Kuwabara.
“The top eight teams make the playoffs, and right now the top four teams would get home-ice advantage. It’s very tight right now for those last two spots,” said Kuwabara. “We need everyone to be ready to play a solid 60 minutes from start to finish. We have a lot of tough games down the stretch and everyone needs to be at their best.”
Friday night the Avs are in St. Catharines to play their archrivals, the second-place Falcons in the Jack Gatecliff Arena. Saturday night, Ancaster hosts the sixth-place Niagara Falls Canucks at Morgan Firestone Arena. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m.
Last Saturday, Ancaster edged Thorold 6-5 in a hard-fought game as Luke Zupan scored the fastest Avalanche goal from the start of a game (16 seconds) . Unfortunately, the team fell 7-3 Sunday night to Welland.
Ancaster scoring leader Zach Nieminen got the game-winner when he jumped on the loose puck and drilled a shot past the Thorold goalie. In addition to Nieminen, Chris Klack scored three goals and assisted on another. Zupan had a goal and two assists, while Brett Farrelly added a single goal.
The following night, Nick Camano, Ryan Knill, and Harrison Domagala scored for Ancaster in its loss to Welland.