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NCL Weekly Notes: December 1 to 7, 2014

Surrey welcomes 16U boys and girls teams for first 16U conference weekend of the season
The city of Surrey welcomed teams to the beautiful Surrey Sport and Leisure Aquatic Complex for four days of exciting competition. For many of the 16U teams this was a first glance at the opponents in this year’s fight to National Finals. There will be a few takeaways from the weekend:
1. The Saanich Girls are 16U contenders. After a season-opening 17-8 loss to Fraser Valley, many people may have counted out the 16U Saanich team. After this weekend’s games in Surrey, that will no longer be the case. Saanich went undefeated in their 4 games, beating the Calgary Renegades 12-8, Team Saskatchewan 10-9, and recording a pair of big wins over the Edmonton Thunderbirds, 17-0, and 17-3. At 4-1, Saanich now holds the 2nd place in the 16U girls’ Western Conference, trailing by only 3 points behind first-place Fraser Valley.
Saanich’s victories might be even more impressive considering they only had 8 players on the roster; managing to win all four games despite having only two substitutions and facing teams with 4 times that many. The 4-player quartet of Emma Fraser, Tianna Smids-Dyk, Aspen Williams, and Prairie Simard led the attack for Saanich, each capable of carrying the scoring load. Denna Brown, Natalie Veronneau, and Margarethe Huelscher were defensive stalwarts that frustrated the opposition’s attacks and Madison Rozelle provided strong goalkeeping and great breakout passes from the net that took further advantage of Saanich’s speed. Together, they showed a Saanich team with great cohesion and a group that very well could find itself playing at the National Finals in Calgary.
2. The 16U boys’ Western Conference is going to be a dog fight. Game after game in the 16U boys’ side, teams showed that there would be no dominant leader in the 16U West this year: Calgary Torpedoes 16 – 16 Pacific Storm, Calgary Torpedoes 11 – 12 Team Saskatchewan, Team Saskatchewan 13 – 17 Pacific Storm, Team Saskatchewan 13 – 12 Pacific Storm. It’s going to be an exciting year in that group in the NCL!
Markham Pan Am Centre pool opens with a splash
The brand new Markham Pan Am Centre welcomed its first NCL games of the year, as four Montreal teams made the trip to the GTA to play the local Toronto teams. Eight games were played in the 19U Men’s division between the quartet of St-Lambert, Dollard, Mavericks, and the Toronto Golden Jets and there was not much to separate the four clubs. The visitors showed no signs of early travel fatigue, and they captured the first 4 games against their Toronto opponents. The Mavericks lost a pair of heartbreakers to drop their record to 2 wins and 4 losses on the year, putting themselves in a more precarious position towards the National Finals’ qualification. The Mavericks seemed aware of the importance of winning their remaining two matches as they came out strong and exacted revenge on Dollard and St-Lambert with a pair of two-goal victories which included handing St-Lambert their first loss of the season. With the two wins, the Mavericks quickly found themselves right back in the hunt for a National Finals berth.
19U CAMO and Titans face off in Gatineau
Tight 19U men’s games did not only take place in Toronto. The Ottawa Titans and CAMO played a double header in Gatineau on Saturday and the Titans continued their strong play on the year, taking both contests, including a 15-14 squeaker in the nightcap. The Titans now find themselves only 2 points out of the all-important 2nd place position in the Eastern Conference, with 2 games in hand.



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