ANCASTER — The Avalanche celebrated their inaugural season in Ancaster with a fifth place finish in the Golden Horseshoe Conference of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League on Sunday (Feb. 23) with a 14-5 thrashing of the Port Colborne Pirates. The game was a re-scheduled affair it was cancelled on Dec. 14 because of severe weather.
The victory at the Morgan Firestone Arena in Ancaster was the second for the Avs in their past five games. The Avalanche finished regular season play with a record of 24 wins, 19 losses, and six overtime-shootout losses for 54 points in 49 Junior B games.
The Avs opens a best-of-seven quarter-final with Thorold Blackhawks on Thursday (Feb. 27) at 7:07 p.m. at Thorold. Game two is set for Saturday (March 1) at 7:30 p.m. in the Firestone Arena.
Under the direction of general manager and coach Ryan Kuwabara during the past three seasons, the Avs (previously the Stoney Warriors) have moved from seventh place to fifth. The Avs relocation to Ancaster meant a return of junior hockey to the town since the Royals departed 20 years ago.
Team scoring leader Zach Nieminen finished fourth in the GHC with 36 goals and 37 assists for 73 points in 47 games while teammate Luke Zupan rounded out the top 10 scorers with 22 goals and 41 assists for 63 points in 49 games.
Blake Luscombe, Michael Pollice, and Jake Milligan had five point nights on Sunday for the Avalanche with three goals and two assists each. Noah Matteson, Max Balinson, Chris Klack, Hayden Guitard, and Zach Nieminen completed the scoring with single goals. Brock Ackerman with a pair of goals and James Mense-Detrich, Matt White, and Quinn Geddes replied for Port Colborne.
Best-of-seven quarter-final series
Thursday, Feb. 27 at Thorold, 7:07 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 at Ancaster, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, March 3 at Thorold, 7:07 p.m.
Tuesday, March 4 or Wednesday, March 5 at Ancaster, arena/time TBD
*Thursday, March 6 at Thorold, 7:07 p.m.
*Saturday, March 8 at Ancaster, 7:30 p.m.
*Monday, March 10 at Thorold, 7:07 p.m.
Sunday’s scoring summary
Ancaster – Max Balinson (Christopher Klack, Zach Nieminen) 1:51
Ancaster – Blake Luscombe (Ryan Lewis, Luke Zupan) 9:57
Ancaster – Noah Matteson – (Warm up Violation, misconduct), 10 MIN, 0:00
Ancaster – Blake Luscombe (Luke Zupan, Ryan Lewis) 0:48
Ancaster – Zach Nieminen (Michael Pollice, Christopher Klack) 1:00
Ancaster – Michael Pollice (Zach Nieminen, Jake Bain) 1:17
Ancaster – Michael Pollice (short handed) (Christopher Klack) 6:09
Ancaster – Jake Milligan (Jake Bain, Nicholas Camano) 7:39
Ancaster – Jake Milligan (Marcus Baird, Nicholas Camano) 11:38
Ancaster – Hayden Guitard (empty net) (Max Balinson, Jake Milligan) 14:01
Ancaster – Michael Pollice (empty net) (Jake Milligan, Eric Eustace) 16:44
Port Colborne – Brock Ackerman (James Mense-Detrich, Matthew White) 17:54
Ancaster – Blake Luscombe – (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 2 MIN, 5:24
Ancaster – Ryan Kuwabara – (Too Many Men, bench minor) 2 MIN, 8:55
Port Colborne – Matthew White (Brock Ackerman, James Mense-Detrich) 0:54
Ancaster – Jake Milligan (Blake Luscombe, Eric Eustace) 7:46
Ancaster – Christopher Klack (Zach Nieminen, Michael Pollice) 9:41
Ancaster – Noah Matteson (APM) (Blake Luscombe, Nicholas Camano) 10:01
Port Colborne – James Mense-Detrich (Matthew White, Brock Ackerman) 12:48
Port Colborne – Brock Ackerman (James Mense-Detrich) 13:43
Ancaster – Blake Luscombe (Zach Nieminen, Eric Eustace) 17:04
Port Colborne – Quinn Geddes (unassisted) 17:24