Nieminen closing in on scoring leader


Ancaster-AvsAncaster’s Zach Nieminen made a determined run at the Golden Horseshoe Conference scoring lead Saturday night (Nov. 30) with his two-goal and two-assist performance on National Hockey League Night as the Avalanche shutout the Buffalo Regals 5-0 in the Morgan Firestone Arena.

Nieminen now has GHC scoring leader Connor Murphy of the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs firmly in his sights. Nieminen has 27 goals and 23 assists for 50 points in 27 games and is two points behind Murphy, who was held pointless on Saturday night when the Corvairs lost their game of the season after 24 straight wins. The Welland Canadiens beat them 3-2 in Caledonia.

Nieminen’s teammate Blake Luscombe picked up two goals and an assist while Hayden Guitard added the other goal. Luke Zupan set up two of the Ancaster scoring plays and goalkeeper Matt Calas recorded his first shutout of the season.

NHL Night featured former Hamilton Kilty Bee and 17-year veteran of the NHL Steve Staios, who dropped the ceremonial first puck, and signed autographs during the first intermission much to the delight of the fans in attendance as the Avalanche ran their winning streak to six games.

Retired NHL defenceman, Steve Staios performed the ceremonial faceoff on Saturday with Ancaster Avalanche captain Zach Nieminen (left) and Colton Anstey. (Photo: Paul Eustace)

Retired NHL defenceman, Steve Staios performed the ceremonial faceoff on Saturday with Ancaster Avalanche captain Zach Nieminen (left) and Colton Anstey. (Photo: Paul Eustace)

The Avalanche now travel to Thorold Thursday night (Dec. 5) to play the Blackhawks at 7:07 p.m. in the Thorold Arena. They return home to play the Welland Junior Canadians on Hamilton Bulldogs Night next Saturday (Dec. 7) in the Firestone Arena. That night will feature Bruiser, the Master Blaster, free T-shirts, a Shoot-to-Win Contest, Bulldogs tickets, and prize giveaways in support of the Hamilton Bulldogs Foundation and the Skate the Dream Program as well as the chance to win the use of a suite at a Bulldogs American Hockey League game.

Dec. 14th (Port Colborne) and Dec. 21 (St. Catharines) are the Ancaster Avalanche Toy Drive Nights. All fans who bring a new toy to the game will receive a free ticket to Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, Feb. 22 when the Niagara Falls Canucks come to town.

For a full schedule, season ticket order forms, and sponsorship and advertising information, visit www.ancasteravalanche.ca

Scoring summary

Period 1
Ancaster – Zach Nieminen (Blake Luscombe, Luke Zupan) 0:39
Ancaster – Hayden Guitard (Cole Nagy, Max Balinson) 1:47
Ancaster – Blake Luscombe (Zach Nieminen, Luke Zupan) 3:26

Penalties
Ancaster – Luke Zupan – (Checking from Behind) 2 MIN, 7:54
Ancaster – Luke Zupan – (Checking from Behind) (Game Misconduct) 7:54
Ancaster – Max Balinson – (Checking from Behind) 2 MIN, 14:39
Ancaster – Max Balinson – (Checking from Behind) (Game Misconduct) 14:39

Period 2
(no scoring)

Penalties
Ancaster – Brett Farrelly – (Tripping) 2 MIN, 2:57
Ancaster – Ryan Lewis – (Slashing) 2 MIN, 18:45

Period 3
Ancaster – Blake Luscombe (power play) (Ryan Knill, Zach Nieminen) 6:13
Ancaster – Zach Nieminen (Eric Eustace, Dustin Chenier) 8:10

Penalties
Buffalo – Taggart Ledyard – (Tripping) 2 MIN, 6:07
Ancaster – Elijah Williams – (Slashing) 2 MIN, 11:33
Ancaster – Ryan Knill – (Inciting an Opponent) (Misconduct) 10 MIN, 19:50
Buffalo – Christian Nati – (Inciting an Opponent) (Misconduct) 10 MIN, 19:50

Shots:
Buffalo 13-7-11 (31)
Ancaster 11-8-7 (26)