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NCL Weekly Notes: February 16th to 22nd, 2015
Saskatchewan Women clinch berth in Senior Nationals
Team Saskatchewan met Team Manitoba in the 2nd half of their six game series to determine the Western entrant to Senior Nationals last weekend in Winnipeg. Saskatchewan won all 3 games played over the course of Saturday and Sunday to sweep the series against their prairie province rivals. The series victory sends Saskatchewan to Montreal for the MLWP championship weekend, March 27th-29th.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba were the lone MLWP women’s entries in the western conference this year and so a playoff series format between the two teams was set up. Each team would play a three game weekend in Regina and Winnipeg and the team with the most points would move on. The first half of the series was played in the Saskatchewan capital, January 3rd-4th. Saskatchewan took all three games at home, meaning they only needed a single tie in Winnipeg to earn their spot in Montreal. The first game was a tight affair in the opening half as Manitoba looked to get on the board with a victory and hopefully turn the momentum in their favour. The game was tied 4-4 at the half but slowly Saskatchewan began to turn the tide as they had done three times previously. Auriel Bill would be the dominant player in the game, tallying six goals. Four of those came in the 2nd half as Saskatchewan built an 8-5 lead going into the 4th. Manitoba would close within two on Devyn Smith’s 2nd of the game, but three unanswered goals by Saskatchewan but the game and the series on ice.
The remaining two games were inconsequential, but that fact did not seem to lessen the intensity. Manitoba came hard at their neighbours in both games while Saskatchewan fought tooth and nail to keep their perfect record alive. In the end, Saskatchewan was able to keep Manitoba at bay in both games, earning 6-5 and 12-10 victories. Manitoba will rue being unable to pull out the close contests in the series, as they lost two games by one goal, and two more by two goals.
Saskatchewan will head to Montreal hoping for one more perfect 3-0 weekend. Do that, and the Saskatchewan women will find themselves as Senior National Champions.
CAMO, Dollard sweep through GTA
CAMO’s and Dollard’s 16U Boys’ teams travelled to Markham this weekend to take on their 16U counterparts from the GTA. The Quebec clubs are 1st and 2nd respectively in the 16U Eastern Conference and in a dog fight for the regular season title. This weekend’s games in Markham served as further prove to how closely these two teams are matched: CAMO beat Hamilton by 24 goals, Dollard beat Hamilton by 24 goals. CAMO beat the Mavericks by 13 goals, Dollard beat the Mavericks by 13 goals. CAMO beat the Golden Jets by 9 goals, Dollard beat the Golden Jets by 8 goals. Even when they are not playing each other it seems they are still trying to beat each other.
At the end of the weekend, CAMO and Dollard had played 17 of their 18 games each. CAMO went 14-1-2 (W,D,L) for 43 points. Dollard went 13-2-2 for 41. Each team’s last game of the season is against winless Hamilton and so barring a miracle; CAMO will take first place and earn the all-important 1st overall seed and first round bye at the 16U Eastern Finals. Dollard as the 2nd seed will have to play in the quarterfinals and then likely face a match against the 3rd place Ottawa Titans, who have already tied them twice on the year. Only the two semi-final winners qualify for the National Finals in Calgary and so the value of earning the one seed for CAMO cannot be understated.
Other Action
Also in Markham, the 16U girls from St-Lambert came agonizingly close to their first victory on the season, dropping a heart-breaker to Golden Horseshoe. Up 10-8 going into the 4th quarter, St-Lambert just missed out on putting the game away and Golden Horseshoe was able to secure the victory, scoring the winner on a power play with just 30 seconds left. Even though they are winless on the season, the girls from St-Lambert come into every game with a belief they can win and their positive attitude is not lost on those who see them play.
The marquee match of the quadruple header played at the Walnut Grove in Langley BC was definitely the 19U Women’s match between fierce rivals, Pacific Storm and Fraser Valley. Both clubs needed the 3 points as they try and reel in Saskatchewan and take the National Finals berth for themselves. The game was a see-saw affair in which neither team could shake off the other. Fraser Valley jumped to an early 2-0 lead before Storm answered with two of their own. From that point of the 1st quarter on, neither team led by more than a goal the rest of the way. In the final minute of play, Abby Irving looked like she finally put Pacific Storm ahead for good, giving her team a 9-8 lead with just 16 seconds to play. Fraser Valley had rallied from a goal down twice in the 4th quarter already, but a 3rd comeback with so little time left seemed like too much to ask. Fraser Valley pushed forward anyway and with just 2 seconds left in the game, Emily Aikema was able to find the mesh, tying the game at nine, and sending the home crowd into a frenzy. Both teams will not be satisfied with just the single point, as a chance to gain ground went by the wayside, but it was nonetheless another fantastic game in the 19U Women’s Western Conference.
This week in the NCL;
The NCL focus this week is in Montreal where the MLWP Eastern Conference Men’s teams will gather for their first crossover of the season. The four Ontario Division teams (Golden Jets, Silver Jets, Mavericks, and Hammer) will each play the four Quebec teams (Laval, Dollard, CAMO Maitres, and CAMO Roadrunners) once each from Friday to Sunday in the Montreal area. It will be the first opportunity this season to see how the two division stack up against each other. Games will take place at Cote Saint-Luc, AADDO, and Cegep Vieux Montreal. Consult the online schedule for full details.


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