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NCL Weekly Notes: December 8 to 14, 2014 and quarter-season recap
With only three games remaining before the Holiday break, this seems like a good time to review the season so far and check in on some of the exciting races shaping up.
Women’s 19U:
In the eastern conference, the Dollard Women have jumped to a commanding early lead in the standings, posting a perfect 4-0 record, with at least one win against all of the other teams in their conference. Taylor Vijh leads the way for Dollard with 15 goals, not far behind the league leader despite having played three less games. While Dollard has put themselves in a good position to earn one of the two National Finals spots up for grabs in the east this year, they have not been blowing away the competition while doing so. Dollard has won all four of their games by only a combined 7 goals. With over three quarters of the season still to play, expect to see CAMO, Golden Horseshoe and St-Lambert make a charge in the coming months.
At the quarter pole, the 19U Women’s western conference can be described by one word: parity. After 5 games played by each team, all four teams are separated by a grand total of 6 points. More amazingly, in the 10 games played so far between the western teams, only one has been decided by more than 3 goals. Saskatchewan leads the way so far with 10 points, followed by Fraser Valley with 8, the Calgary Renegades with 6, and Pacific Storm with 4. Each team play five games against each of their conference foes and because the regular season standings determine the National Finals qualifiers, every single game can make or break the season in the hotly-contested west.
Men’s 19U:
In the 19U western conference, it is shaping up as an early two-horse race between Pacific Storm and Fraser Valley. With the host spot at the National Finals being fought over by the Calgary Torpedoes and the Calgary Wild, there remains only one other western berth available and it looks like the Battle of B.C. will decide it. At 5-0 and 4-0 respectively, Fraser Valley and Pacific Storm are perfect at this point in the season, having dismissed the early challenges from the other four clubs in the conference. The teams will play on December 20th in Coquitlam, the first of four pivotal meetings between the teams this season that will likely determine who books their ticket to Calgary for Nationals.
Stats Leaders:
Heading into the holiday break, Luka Maletic is the leading goal scorer in the NCL with an impressive 45 goals in eight games for the 16U Pacific Storm. On a per-game average, however, Stefanos Rizopoulos’ 7 goals per game (35 goals in 5 games) paces the league. The leading female scorers are the Saskatchewan pair of 16U girls Devyn Smith & Adrien Van Dyke with 27 goals apiece in 6 games played. Dollard’s Taylor Vijh has the best per-game rate with 15 goals in just 3 games.
The new 5 on 5 format has made things especially tough on goaltenders but that hasn’t stopped some keepers from putting up fantastic numbers. For goalies with at least 64 minutes played (2 games), Marianne Bouchard-Côté of CAMO’s 16U girls leads the way with a miniscule 5.00 goals against average. For the guys, Aleksa Veljovic has been a wall for the Torpedoes, playing 8 games while holding opponents to a measly 7.63 goals a game.
Interesting Tidbits:
Be careful what you wish for. Every coach would prefer a penalty shot for their team over a powerplay but against Annie McIntyre they might start to think differently. Saskatchewan’s 16U keeper has managed to stop an amazing 5 of 7 penalty shots on the year.
Special teams killer: Milan Laban of the 16U Edmonton Tsunami is deadly accurate if given open space. 2nd in the NCL with 43 goals, Milan has scored 19 of those goals either on a powerplay (9, 3rd most in the NCL) or from the penalty spot (10, most in the NCL).
When they win, they win big: The 16U Calgary Torpedoes have had a strong start to the season, recording 5 wins, 1 draw, and 2 loses to begin the season, sitting a comfortable 3rd in the Western conference; but if one were to simply look at their goals differential, you might think they were blowing away the competition. The Torpedoes are a staggering + 116 on the year, which is nearly double any other team in NCL.

The NCL Weekly notes will pause for the Holidays and will be back for the week of January 5. Happy Holidays to all and looking forward to a thrilling 2015 in the NCL!


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