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News Article

04.15.2015
NCL Weekly Notes: April 6 to April 12, 2015
 

Western NCL 16U Regular season wraps up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Fraser Valley claim top overall seeds.

The NCL 16U western conference regular season that began five months ago in Edmonton came to a close this past weekend in Saskatoon after a total of 100 regular season games were played between the B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan boys and girls teams that make up the western conference. At the end of it all, Fraser Valley on the girls’ side and Team Saskatchewan on the boys’, earned the regular season titles and the 1st overall seeds at the Western Conference Championships that come with it.
 
The girls from Fraser Valley finished the year at 13-0-3, putting them 5 points ahead of the 2nd place Calgary Renegades and giving them the bye straight to the semi-finals at the Western Championships. It may take only a single win at the Western Championships to earn Fraser Valley a spot in the National Finals, depending on what happens in the other games. Things are not all well for Fraser Valley however, as the 2nd half of the season has seen the Renegades emerge as a challenger to Fraser Valley’s position as the number one team in the West. The Renegades went 4-0 in Saskatoon and ran their winning streak to 8 straight games, including two victories over Fraser Valley.
 
The addition of Nina Ceklic to the squad in January has proven to be a huge difference maker for the Renegades, as was made clear in Saskatoon. In the Renegades two biggest games of the weekend, against Fraser Valley and Saanich, Ceklic scored 16 of her team’s 29 goals. Against Saanich, Ceklic scored her teams last 6 goals, including three in the 4th quarter that turned a 9-8 deficit into an 11-10 victory. Against Fraser Valley, Ceklic scored 9 goals, including 4 consecutively that turned a narrow 6-3 lead into a 10-3 margin from which Fraser Valley could never recover. The pairing of Ceklic and Tamara Curcija, who has 58 goals in 16 games for the Renegades, may mark the Renegades as the favourites at the Western Championships, even though they are just the number 2 seed.
 
The matchups for the 16U girls Western Conference championships are as follows:
  • QF 1: #2 seed Calgary Renegades (11-1-4) vs. #5 seed Edmonton Thunderbirds (0-0-16)
  • QF 2: #3 seed Saanich (9-0-7) vs. # 4 seed Team Saskatchewan (6-1-9)
  • 1st round bye: #1 seed Fraser Valley (13-0-3)
Congratulations to Adrien Van Dyke of Team Saskatchewan for finishing as the leading goal scorer in the Western Conference, finishing with 65 goals in just 16 games.

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Team Saskatchewan claimed 1st overall in the boys division, on the back of a 6-0 record in Saskatoon. The youngsters from Saskatchewan are now on an 11 game unbeaten streak heading into the Western Championships after overcoming two strong tests from the Calgary Torpedoes and the Pacific Storm. Saskatchewan was able to outlast the Torpedoes 7-6 on the strength of four goals from Jake Morris and great goaltending from the ever impressive Brody McKnight, who unbelievably, is not even 14 years old.
 
That set up a winner-take-all showdown with Pacific Storm as the winner would have the clear path to first place. Morris and McKnight would once again prove to be the difference with Morris providing five of his teams nine goal in what would turn into a 9-6 victory. Saskatchewan’s big week gives them a first round bye and the guarantee of avoiding Storm and Torpedoes in the semi-finals; however, Saskatchewan should by no means think they have an easy road to the final. 4th place Fraser Valley has shown flashes of great potential and has beaten each of Storm, Torpedoes, and Saskatchewan on the season. The Torpedoes have already clinched a spot at Nationals via the host spot so that leaves the other five teams vying for one sport, and no room for error. It’s sure to be a fantastic Western Championships in Calgary, May 8-10th.
 
The matchups for the 16U boys Western Conference championships are as follows:
  • #3 seed Calgary Torpedoes (12-2-6) vs. #6 seed Saanich (0-0-20)
  • #4 seed Fraser Valley (11-0-9) vs. #5 seed Edmonton Tsunami (4-0-16)
  • 1st round byes: # 1 seed Saskatchewan (16-2-2) and #2 seed Pacific Storm (14-2-4)
Congratulations to Reuel D’Souza of the Pacific Storm for finishing as the leading goal scorer in the Western Conference, finishing with 100 goals in 18 games. Reuel scored 23 goals in 4 games in Saskatoon to pass Luka Maletic who finished with 93.
 
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Big weekend in Montreal boosts 19U Titans National Finals chances

The Ottawa Titans knew going into their 4 game road trip through Montreal that they needed a strong performance or they would lose their tenuous grip on 2nd place in the 19U Eastern Conference standings and the National Finals berth that comes with it. Faced with 2 games against conference leader St-Lambert, as well as games against Dollard and CAMO, it was a make or break weekend for the Titans. Ottawa went 2-1-1 on the road trip, with both victories coming by a single goal. In Friday’s contest against CAMO, Ottawa led most of the game, but could never put CAMO away, and back to back goals by CAMO in the final 2 minutes tied the game at 15-15. It looked as Ottawa was going to let a crucial 2 points slip away, but Raphael Siegel came to the rescue, burying the winner with just 15 seconds to play. For CAMO, a team that can play with anyone, it continued a frustrating season that has seen them come up on the short end of nearly ever close contest and is without doubt the reason they are out of the playoff race.

After the second win over CAMO, the Titans moved on to face a two game set against St-Lambert on Saturday. The morning game saw Titans jump to an early lead and then keep St-Lambert just out of reach for the rest of the game. St-Lambert got it to 10-9 in the 4th quarter, but strong defense and great goal keeping from Yorek Hurrelmann preserved the victory for the Titans. In the evening game, Ottawa once again held a two goal lead in the 4th quarter but this time, they could not keep the conference leaders at bay, as two late goals tied the score at 8 and this time the Titans could not find a late winner.
 
Even so, Ottawa now had 7 of a possible 9 points heading into the road trip finale against Dollard. Dollard was also fighting for their postseason lives and a loss to the Titans would have basically been the final nail in their coffin. Dollard seemed to catch Ottawa at the right time, as the Titans appeared fatigued from their previous three one-goal contests. Going into the 4th the score was 8-7 Dollard, but then it seemed the Titans ran out of gas as Dollard put their foot down, adding 6 goals in the final quarter to record a crucial 14-10 win.
 
The battle for 2nd place after the weekend now looks like this:
  • 2nd: Ottawa Titans, 18GP, 10-2-6, 32 points
  • 3rd: Dollard, 18GP, 9-1-8, 28 points
  • 4th: Mavericks 15GP, 8-1-6, 25 points.
The Titans have opened a slight gap between them and their pursuers but the Mavericks have 3 games in hand and thus also control their own fate. Dollard will need a little help in order to make up the ground on the Titans as they have no games left against Ottawa. Mavericks and Ottawa have one game remaining against each other to be played in early May, and that game could end up deciding who goes to Nationals, and who stays home.
 
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This week in the NCL
 
After a big slate of games in the previous week, it’s a down week for the NCL as there are just 4 games on the schedule. The final 16U boys regular season games will be played as Hamilton will be in Etobicoke to take on the Mavericks on Thursday, April 16, at 9:20pm, before Mavericks take on the Toronto Golden Jets on Sunday, also in Etobicoke. Sunday, April 19, will feature a doubleheader in Etobicoke as the 16U game at 7:30pm will be followed by a 19U Golden Jets –Mavericks game at 8:50pm. That is a must win game for the Mavericks in their chase for a National Finals berth. The last 16U girls’ game will also be played Sunday as Dollard will travel to St-Lambert for a 5pm game on Sunday to conclude their regular season schedules.
 
 
 
 

 


 
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