Avalanche frustrate coach with inconsistency

Ancaster-AvsConsistency has been the enemy of the Ancaster Avalanche recently, and it continued over the weekend as the Avs lost, 3-2, in overtime Friday night (Oct. 25) to the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs and 6-2 to the Thorold Blackhawks the next night in Golden Horseshoe Conference Junior B hockey action in the Morgan Firestone Arena.

On Friday, Ancaster was edged in overtime by the first place Corvairs in the Haldimand Community Centre after the Avalanche had taken a 2-0 lead as Luke Zupan and Jake Milligan scored twice within a span of 24 seconds to set the Corvairs back on their heels. Zupan connected on a powerplay at 5:15 and Milligan added an even strength goal nine seconds later.

Caledonia rallied and tied the score in the middle period. The game remained scoreless until Kyler Nixon connected for the overtime game-winner at 2:53 with Mitch Brown and Connor Patton assisting. Despite the fact the Avs were outshot 43-24 they held their own against the Corvairs. League scoring leader Connor Murphy and Spencer Gourley added the other Caledonia goals.

Saturday night, Thorold took a 2-0 first period lead on Chris Goulet’s powerplay goal, and Owen Sobchak’s shorthanded effort, and never looked back. Ancaster’s Michael Pollice narrowed the count to 2-1 three-and-a-half minutes into the second period, but that was as close as they could get.

Joe Mitchell led Thorold with a goal and two assists while Goulet, Sobchak, and Ryan Sarris had a goal and an assist each. Drake Hart and Zach McQuade added single goals with Matt Pizzo and Kevin Lavoie drawing two assists each. Pollice and Max Balinson, on a third period powerplay, replied for the Avalanche.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been as consistent as I would like. We seem to have one really good game, and then the next night we come out flat,” said general manager and coach Ryan Kuwabara. “It definitely is frustrating for the coaching staff because we know that we can win each game if we play like we can.

“We have been in three overtime situations in our last six games, but we haven’t had the puck bounce our way to win them. We will get in a good week of practice this week, and watch some game tape in order to help us improve our game.”

Over the season, the Avs have lost five games in overtime or overtime shootouts. Ancaster holds fourth place with seven wins, six losses, and five overtime/shootout losses.

Ancaster’s Zach Nieminen currently is fourth in the Golden Horseshoe Conference of the Greater Ontario Junior B Hockey League with 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 points in spite of the fact that the opposition has held him pointless in his last three games.

Next action for Ancaster is against the Welland Canadians on Saturday (Nov. 2) at 7:30 p.m. in the Firestone Arena. The Avalanche will then play the Canucks in the Niagara Falls Gale Centre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 and return home to meet Caledonia’s Pro-Fit Corvairs on Saturday, Nov. 9 in the Firestone Arena. Game time is 7:30 p.m.