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05.05.2015
NCL Weekly Notes: April 27 to May 3, 2015
 
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Dollard boys, CAMO girls win first ever NCL 16U Eastern Conference Championships, advance to National Finals along with silver medal winners CAMO boys, and Capital Wave girls

The first ever 16U Eastern Conference Championships were held in Etobicoke last weekend as the 12 teams that made up the NCL 16U Eastern Conference were vying for the conference championship as well as the 2 coveted spots at the National Finals. In the boys division, Dollard won a pair of thrillers to win gold, while on the girls side, CAMO finished off their undefeated season in the east with two more convincing victories.

Boys’ Championship
The 16U Boys division was billed as a three team contest for the gold medal and the two National Finals berths. With due respect to the other teams in the conference, this weekend was always going to come down to CAMO, Dollard, and the Ottawa Titans. Dollard and Titans were pitted against each other in a do or die semi-final with the winner earning a shot at gold and a guaranteed place in Calgary for the National Finals. In the three games the teams played in the regular season, two ended in ties, so expectations were high for their final clash on the season. The game did not disappoint.

It was a tight, low scoring first half, with the scoring chances limited on both sides. Dollard took the advantage into half 4-3. Dollard came out strong in the 3rd quarter and looked to have Ottawa on the ropes. Two goals in the final minute of the 3rd gave DDO a four goal that most seemed to think would be enough to win the game. Dollard appeared to lay back in the 4th quarter, trying to protect their lead instead of pushing for more goals. With their season on the line, the Titans made their final drive midway through the 4th quarter. After a PP goal got the Titans within three, Dejan Paradjina put the Titans on his back and scored three consecutive goals in less than 2 minutes to tie the score. Dollard looked shaken but Ottawa could not finish them off, and the 4th quarter horn sounded with the teams deadlocked in a 10-10 tie. Unlike the regular season, this game could not end in a tie, and a shootout would decide the winner. Each team selected their five shooters and then had to let the chips fall where they may.

Six times the Titans scored to put themselves ahead, and six times Dollard answered right back. As the shootout headed into the sudden death stages, the pressure on each shot was magnified. Leading Titans goal scorer Milan Duhaime prepared for his 2nd shot, but as the ball headed towards the corner, Dollard keeper James Magliocco stuck out his hand and saved the penalty. Thomas Daoust made no mistake for Dollard, and DDO were off to the finals. After the incredible 4th quarter comeback, it was a cruel end for the Titans.

In the other semi-final, CAMO handily took care of the hometown Mavericks to set up a battle for gold featuring what many would argue is Canada’s best water polo rivalry, CAMO vs DDO. With the stands full of CAMO and Dollard supporters, one would have thought the game was being played at Claude Robillard or at AADDO instead of Etobicoke. In the 1st, Dollard may have not been mentally prepared to play after such a draining semi-final and CAMO quickly jumped to a 6-2 lead. Dollard would spend the next two quarters slowly reeling their crosstown foes in, inching ever closer until a goal late in the 3rd quarter knotted the score at 11. 8 minutes to play, tie score, bitter rivals, the first ever championship game could not ask for much more. Cameron Ball looked to be the hero in the 4th quarter as he scored the first two goals of the frame to put Dollard in front for the first time since the opening minute of the game; but for the 2nd straight game, Dollard could not hold a 4th quarter lead as two goals by CAMO tied the score again. With a minute and a half to go, a CAMO exclusion gave DDO the chance to go ahead one more time, and Cameron Ball continued his 4th quarter heroics, firing a laser into the net to stake Dollard to a 14-13 lead.

The next CAMO possession did not yield the tying goal and Dollard looked to run time of the clock in the final minute of play. With the shot clock running down, Jeremie Cote launched a shot that forced a save from the CAMO keeper Jonathon Vitti. As the ball caromed of Vitti’s outstretched hands and out of play, Dollard was rewarded a 2m throw and a new shot clock. With just 20 seconds left, DDO only needed to hold on the ball and the gold was theirs. But CAMO-Dollard games are classics for a reason, and CAMO somehow managed to come out with the improbable steal on the corner throw pass. A desperation foul from Dollard prevented a 2 on 1 break but also lead to an exclusion and a power play for CAMO. With 16 seconds to go CAMO would have one chance to tie the game. Dollard settled into their box and CAMO passed the ball around the outside, looking for their opening. With the final seconds ticking away, CAMO took their chance and fired a shot towards the corner. Unfortunately for CAMO, the Dollard defender was positioned perfectly and he blocked the shot before it entered the net and with that Dollard were champions.

Dollard and CAMO both qualified for the National Finals as a result of their semi-final wins, and so there is chance there could be a rematch in a month in Calgary, this time, with the National Championship on the line.

In the bronze medal game, the Titans would rebound to beat Mavericks and finish their season on a strong note.

The final NCL 16U Eastern Conference boys’ standings are as follows:
1. Dollard – 17-2-2
2. CAMO – 16-1-3
3. Ottawa Titans – 15-3-3
4. Mavericks – 8-1-12
5. Capital Wave – 8-0-13
6. Toronto Golden Jets – 5-1-15
7. Hamilton – 0-0-21
 
 
 Boys’ all-star team, by position, as selected by the club coaches:
  • Goaltender from CAMO, Jonathan Vitti
  • Right-side driver from Capital Wave, Sean Legg
  • Left-side driver from CAMO, Emmanuel Ramos-Garza
  • Utility from the Ottawa Titans, Milan Duhaime
  • 2-meter guard from Dollard, Jeremie Cote
  • Center forward from the Ottawa Titans, Bogdan Djerkovic
  • Top Goal Scorer with 86 goals, from Dollard, Jeremie Cote


Girls’ Championship
The girls’ portion of the championship did not feature the same drama as the men’s side, as the CAMO girls’ were simply too good. CAMO earned a bye directly to the semi-final for finishing at the top of the standings in the regular season and so they needed just two victories to win the title. The first opponent was not who they expected, as St-Lambert shocked Dollard to win their first game of the year. After going 0-16 on the season, St-Lambert was not expected to make any noise at the Eastern Championships, but the St-Lambert girls have given their all every game this year, and it finally payed off in the most unlikely of places, as they took down Dollard 10-9 to advance to the semi-finals.

Beating Dollard was an upset, but beating CAMO as well would have been on par with the Miracle on Ice given the way the CAMO girls have played this year, and as expected, CAMO won going away to earn their spot in the finals.

The other semi-final was expected to be a closer affair between 2nd seeded Capital Wave, and 3rd seeded Golden Horseshoe, the hometown favourites. Golden Horseshoe hoped to use the partisan crowd advantage to come out strong against the visitors from Ottawa but just the opposite happened. Wave came out on fire while Golden Horseshoe couldn’t buy a goal and within a few minutes, the score was 5-1 Wave. The 2nd quarter was little better and at the half, Wave had extended their lead to 9-3. It was 12-4 midway through the 3rd and although Golden Horseshoe eventually began to find their groove, the game was already all but over. The strong performance not only netted Wave a shot at the gold medal, but also earned them a trip to Calgary for the National Finals.

CAMO’s average margin of victory on the season heading into the finals was in the double digits so Wave knew they would need to play their best game of the year to have a chance, and for the first half, they were. After falling behind early, Wave came back from 4-1 down to even the game at 4-4. CAMO scored in the last minute of the half to lead 5-4 but Wave was right where they wanted to be. Unfortunately, the close game seemed to wake the monster in CAMO and the 2nd half was a totally different story. CAMO put the clamps on Wave, and the few chances mustered by the underdogs were pushed aside by CAMO keeper Marianne Bouchard. CAMO would allow just 1 goal the rest of the way while scoring five more of their own to win 10-5. Capital Wave had held CAMO to their lowest goal scoring total of the year, but CAMO can beat you both offensively and defensively and that is why their perfect season continues.
In the bronze medal game, Golden Horseshoe defeated St-Lambert to take 3rd place.

The final NCL 16U Eastern Conference girls’ standings are as follows:

1. CAMO – 18-0-0
2. Capital Wave – 13-0-6
3. Golden Horseshoe – 9-1-9
4. St-Lambert – 1-0-19
5. Dollard – 5-1-12
 
 
Girls' All-star team, by position, as selected by the club coaches:
  • Goaltender from CAMO, Marianne Bouchard-Côté
  • Right-side driver from Golden Horseshoe, Verica Bakoc
  • Left-side driver from Golden Horseshoe, Zoe Hlady
  • Utility from CAMO, Miriam Lizotte
  • 2-meter guard from CAMO, Daphné Guèvremont
  • top center forward from CAMO, Melissa Manel Matalla
  • Top Goal Scorer with 78 goals, from CAMO, Mélissa Manel Matalla

 
 
 
 

 


 
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