ANCASTER (March 30)—The 2014-15 Golden Horseshoe Conference Junior B hockey season is just a memory and already the Ancaster Avalanche are preparing for the 2015-16 campaign.
Ancaster was victorious in the league standings as they gained fourth place with five victories in the win column, three fewer losses, and two fewer overtime losses to gain eight points over last year’s finish. The also increased its winning percentage by .082 percentage.
The Avs showed such improvement, that they advanced to the second round of the Golden Horseshoe Conference playoffs against the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs.
General Manager and Coach Ryan Kuwabara’s charges based on their 2014-15 showing will be a force to be reckoned with in 2015-16.
“I am very proud of how the team came together, and played so well down the stretch, and into the playoffs. The players worked very hard to learn our systems and it definitely showed during playoffs,” said Kuwabara..
“Unfortunately, we didn't get chance to play for the Sutherland Cup this year, however, we increased our wins, moved up another spot in the regular season standings. We got into the second round of playoffs, and finished up against a very good Caledonia team,” Kuwabara.
“I want like to thank all the people who volunteered their time to help give the Avalanche the best chance at success during the regular season and playoffs. It takes a lot of work to make our hockey team run smoothly, and without those volunteers working so hard, running a junior hockey team becomes very difficult.”
The 2014-15 season had some very memorable moments such as when Max Balinson scored two goals in a game, just days after his mother’s memorial service.
Goalkeeper Blake Richard was the recipient of the 2014-15 Russell Masterson Memorial Trophy as the League’s Most Valuable Player. He had a 2.22 goals-against average, and .933 save percentage. He also had four shutouts.
Lucas Triemstra was the recipient of the Corporal Tyler Crooks Award as the Player of the Year and the Dave Dunham Trophy for Most Valuable Defenceman in 2014-15.
In February, Fred LaLonde marked 50 years of volunteer service to Hamilton hockey, which began back in 1964. Former Hamilton Kilty B player, and current GM and coach of the Avs, Ryan Kuwabara, who first met up with LaLonde as a 15-year-old rookie during the 1987-1988 season still marvels at his dedication to the game.
Kelly Barber, Assistant GM of the Avalanche was one of the eight GHC Volunteers of the Year.
Thursday, March 19, the run to the championship ended as the Avs battled the Caledonia Pro Fit Corvairs in the final game of the best-of-seven GHC seminfinal in Caledonia’s Haldimand Centre. Ancaster opened the scoring with a powerplay goal by Blake Luscombe, but Caledonia prevailed 3-2 to win the series.
In the final two games of their playoff run, the Avs played before capacity houses in the Morgan Firestone Arena.
Caledonia won the best-of-seven series 4-1 in games to advance to the Conference final. Cole Nagy scored the Avalanche’s final goal of the game and of the 2014-15 GHC season at 8:13 of the third period.
Golden Horseshoe Conference
Caledonia Pro Fit Corvairs vs. Ancaster Avalanche
Caledonia wins series 4-1 in games
Ancaster 1, Caledonia 2 Friday, March 13
Caledonia 3, Ancaster 0 Saturday, March 14
Ancaster 1, Caledonia 8 Sunday, March 15
Caledonia 3, Ancaster 5 Tuesday, March 17
Ancaster 2, Caledonia 3 Thursday, March 19