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NCL Weekly Notes: February 2 to 8, 2015
19U Men and Women battle it out in Surrey
The last time the Western Conference 19U NCL teams got together for a conference weekend was back in November in Regina. A lot can change in three months and so as the teams re-congregated in Surrey for their second of three conference weekends, some surprises were in store. The Edmonton Tsunami’s showing certainly qualified as such.
At the Regina event, the Tsunami couldn’t find a win, and at the conclusion of the event found themselves sitting in last place in the standings at 0-5. Fast forward to Surrey and the Tsunami were a whole new team. The Tsunami went 4-2 over the course of the weekend, scoring victories over Fraser Valley, Saskatchewan, and twice over the Calgary Wild. The key to the Tsunami attack is balanced scoring. With only 8 players on the roster for Surrey, Edmonton did not have the roster depth of some of the other clubs, but the players Edmonton did have were all strong contributors. Alexander Nikolic, Marko Grgic, Vukasin Radosavljevic, Jovan Kostadinovic, and Milan Laban each scored at least 10 goals over the weekend, with Nikolic leading the way with 23 goals.
In their last game of the event, the Tsunami gave the undefeated Pacific Storm, who beat them by 12 goals in Regina, all they could handle, before finally succumbing, 15-13. A place at the National Finals seems out of the question for Edmonton as they would have to make up 14 points on Storm in the final half of the season; but while they may fall short of the National Finals, coach Darko Slankamenac has done a great job with this Edmonton squad. The final conference weekend is scheduled for March 19th-22nd in Calgary and teams will definitely be on the lookout for this Edmonton squad.
On the women’s side , it was more of the same from Regina, as the four teams proved once again how closely matched they are. First the Calgary Renegades beat Saskatchewan, and then Fraser Valley beat Calgary, but then Saskatchewan beat Fraser Valley, Saskatchewan was then beaten again by the Renegades, who were tied by Pacific Storm, who were defeated by Fraser Valley, and so on. Not a single match can be taken lightly and every single point is crucial, especially with the Renegades having already clinched their National Finals spot as the host. Saskatchewan has put themselves in the driver seat with a 5-point edge over Fraser Valley for the western at large berth for the National Finals. With 9 games to go, there is still much to be decided but it seems unlikely that any team will be able to separate themselves from the pack given the tightness of the competition.
This week in the NCL
This week’s NCL action is focused in Markham, at the new Markham Pan Am Centre. The Ottawa 16U boys teams, the Capital Wave and the Ottawa Titans, will be taking on their counterparts from Toronto, the Mavericks and Golden Jets. This is an especially important week for the Titans as they have fallen behind conference-leading CAMO and Dollard and need all the points they can get. The weekend will also feature some action on the girls side as CAMO’s 19U women will play a three game set against Golden Horseshoe. Golden Horseshoe may need to sweep the series in order to take 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and a spot in the National Finals.


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