Avalanche score a three-point weekend

Ancaster-AvsANCASTER — 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 on Saturday (Oct. 12) at the St. Catharines Seymour Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre.

Twenty-seven teams participated 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. Fourteen 14 games were played in total.

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 of goals against Stratford. Trevor MacDonald and Drew Gross replied for the Cullitons.

“We responded very well to Stratford following Friday’s game against Port Colborne Pirates (4-3 shootout loss). 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,” said Avs’ general manager and coach Ryan Kuwabara.

“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.”

In the shootout loss to Port Colborne the previous night, Charlie Izaguirre scored the winner. He also set up the Pirates regulation time goals by Brock Ackerman and James Mense-Detrich. Cody Levasseur had the other goal. Lewis, Eric Eustace, and Nieminen replied for the Avalanche.

“I didn’t think we played particularly well in Port Colborne. 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,” said Kuwabara. “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.”

On Thursday (Oct. 10) in the Firestone Arena, Zupan’s powerplay goal at 14:30 of the third period spoiled the shutout by Colin Furlong as the Avalanche fell 4-1 to the league-leading Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs.

Next action for Ancaster is against the Blackhawks on Thursday (Oct.17) at 7 p.m. in Thorold. Saturday, the Niagara Falls Canucks visit for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff in the Morgan Firestone Arena.

The Avs hold down fourth place with a 7-4-3 wins-losses-overtime losses record.