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NCL Weekly Notes: January 13 to 19, 2015

1) Calgary Teams Dominate at Home

Talisman Centre in Calgary welcomed the western conference 16U boys’ and girls’ NCL teams for a four day event last week, Thursday to Sunday. This was the 2nd of three 16U conference weekends for the 16U teams and, with over half the regular season played, the sprint to the Western Final has begun.

Going into the event, the Calgary Torpedoes and Renegades had experienced somewhat disappointing starts to the season, as each team had lagged behind the conference leaders in their respective 16U boys’ and girls’ conferences. Both teams are assured places at the National Finals as the host representative and so perhaps the Calgary teams did not play with the same urgency as some of their opponents in the early going. At the Surrey 16U event just a month ago, the Renegades won just 1 of 5 games. The Torpedoes on the other hand, while having success against the teams at the bottom of the standings, were 0-3-1 against the top two teams in the division (Pacific Storm & Saskatchewan) after a Thursday night loss to Storm. By the end of Sunday’s games, both of the Renegades and Torpedoes had announced themselves as contenders for the National Championship.
Western Conference 16U girls updates

The Renegades started the event with a hard-fought 17-17 tie with Saskatchewan as Rhianna Wood tied the game with less than 3 minutes to play after Saskatchewan had scored four straight to take the lead. From that point on, the Renegades were the class of the girls’ side, winning four straight contests, three against teams that the Renegades had failed to beat all season coming into the contest. Tamara Curcija led the way for Calgary as she was the Renegades leading scorer in all five games. Frontrunners in 25-4, 11-7, and 18-6 victories over Edmonton, Fraser Valley, and Saanich, the last game of the event showed the Renegades also had resiliency as the Calgary girls dug themselves out of 5-0 nothing first quarter hole to topple Saanich for the 2nd straight time. Just two points back of conference leader Fraser Valley, the Renegades have a shot at finishing 1st in the standings, something that seemed impossible just a month ago. Coaches Brooke Zimmerman and Julia Paterson have done a great job getting their girls back on track.
Western Conference 16U boys updates

On the boys’ side, the Torpedoes showed they will be able to handle the pressure of close games. After the opening loss to Storm, the Torpedoes earned a tie with Saskatchewan in a hard-fought back –and-forth affair and then held off a Fraser Valley comeback to win 16-15. A 25-4 win on Saturday over Saanich sent the Torpedoes into a rematch against the conference leading Storm with momentum on their side. Down six three at the half, the Torpedoes held the high-scoring Storm to just four 2nd half goals. Harrison Henning’s 4th goal of the game, with under a minute to play, provided the final margin of victory, 11-10. As the final game of the weekend, it was a great wrap to an exciting event.
2) 16U Eastern Conference Updates: Games in Gatineau

The other major event of the weekend was a 16U event in Gatineau held at the beautiful Gatineau Sports Centre. 10 games were played over Saturday and Sunday between the local Ottawa/Gatineau teams and the visitors from Montreal. The most exiting games of the weekend were no doubt played between the trio of 16U boys’ teams fighting for the conference lead, CAMO, Dollard, and the Ottawa Titans. Those teams combined have yet to lose a game to one of the other four teams in the division. The games between them are crucial in determining the overall standings, and they did not disappoint. The three games played between these teams resulted in two draws (Dollard 17- Titans 17, CAMO 10 – Titans 10), and a one goal victory (CAMO 12 – Titans 11). As only two of Dollard, CAMO, and Titans can qualify for the National Finals, the Eastern Finals in May seem sure to provide excellent drama.

The 16U girls’ east does not have the same parity as the boys; the girls from CAMO have been a juggernaut. In going 6-0 to begin the year, CAMO has won every game by at least nine goals and their opponents are barely averaging five goals a game against them. It remains to be seen if any team can give them a real challenge as they race towards the National Finals.

3) What’s Happening this Week:

It’s a quiet week in the NCL with only 8 total games on the docket. The game of the week takes place Wednesday in Dollard as the old rivalry between CAMO and Dollard is renewed. The CAMO 19U men are in critical need of a victory in order to keep their National Final dreams from slipping away. Game time is at 8:40pm at the AADDO in Dollard. Fans can catch a double header with the 19U contest being preceded by a 16U girls’ match between St-Lambert and Dollard.



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