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Weekly notes (Jan. 11-17, 2016)
In terms of sheer number of games played, this past weekend was the biggest of the year for the 16U age category in the NCL. Fifty-five combined games were played in Gatineau and Calgary and after the dust settled, teams are starting to get a clearer picture of the playoff path they will need to take to qualify for the National Finals.
Here’s a breakdown of how each division is shaping up:
16U Boys East
Dollard Black remains undefeated in the 16U Eastern Conference, but winning the eastern championship will be no easy feat as there appear to be three strong challengers lining up behind them. CAMO sits in 2nd place at 8-0-3 (W,D,L) on the season and Mavericks Black sit just three points behind CAMO, with two games in hand. So far, Mavericks Black has gotten the upper hand on CAMO both times this season, including a 7-5 victory on Saturday in what was a real defensive battle. It no doubt helps that each club has one of the best goalies in their category. Thomas Chevalier-Vaillancourt (CAMO) and Komninos Kotzambasis (Mavericks) will certainly be battling each other for the goals against average lead all season. In 4th place with an unintimidating 5-0-7 record are the Ottawa Titans; but don’t be fooled, this team can give anybody a run for their money. Lead by their hulking hole player Bogdan Djerkovic, the Titans very nearly became the first team to knock off DDO Black this season. The final score was misleading at 18-13 for DDO as the game could really have gone either way. It was the most intense match of the weekend in Gatineau, and featured six lead changes and eight tie scores. The score was 14-13 DDO with 5 minutes to play in the 4th quarter when DDO finally pulled away. Djerkovic had scored seven goals up to this point, but he was being triple teamed by defenders late in the game and the Titans offense sputtered as they tried to squeeze the ball into their big centre forward. In the end, DDO remained undefeated, but no team will look forward to meeting the Titans in the playoffs. The importance of finishing 1st or 2nd and qualifying for the 1-2 playoff game is really magnified in the 16U boys East and while DDO Black is sure to be one of those teams, the 2nd spot is still up for grabs. Titans may have dug too big a hole to climb out of so it will likely come down to Mavs Black and CAMO. Mavs Black has already won the season series between the clubs, but Mavs still need to win their games in hand if they want to overtake the Montrealers for the top spot. Either way, the rest of the regular season is sure to be filled with excitement.
16U Girls East
The girls from CAMO had another strong weekend in Gatineau and pushed their record to 12-0-0. At this point it’s probably pretty safe to pencil in CAMO for the 1 vs 2 game. The 2nd seed remains a tight battle between St-Lambert and Capital Wave. The two clubs have played four times on the season with Capital Wave holding a narrow 2-1-1 advantage. Two of those games occurred this weekend in Gatineau with Wave taking the first game 11-5 and the 2nd ending in an 11-11 tie. St-Lambert looked like they had the 2nd game won but Juliette Belanger tied the score with just 10 seconds remaining. In the standings Wave has a three point lead on St-Lambert, but St-Lambert has three games in hand so 2nd place is still very much up for grabs. 4th and 5th place in the conference are Mavericks and DDO. Neither team will likely be able to catch St-Lambert or Capital Wave, but both could prove dangerous in the playoffs. Mavericks handed Capital Wave a 13-9 defeat in their last game on Sunday, and Dollard, despite just one win on the season, always plays their competition tough.
16U Boys West
In the 16U Boys Western Conference, it still appears as Pacific Storm (10-0-2) and Saskatchewan (9-0-0) will be battling it out in the 1 vs 2 game. The teams met for the 2nd time this season in Calgary, and once again it was Saskatchewan who was able to pull away late in a very close game. With the teams tied at 8-8 in the 3rd quarter, Saskatchewan’s Stephen Gloade was able to score with just 1 second left to give Sask the lead. The prairie boys would carry the momentum into the final period with three more unanswered goals. Storm could only reply with one late marker and the final score was 12-9 Saskatchewan. Fraser Valley (8-0-4) sits in 3rd place and while they are within 6 points of both the clubs they are chasing, it will be a tough task to catch up. The 16U boys west has proven to be a three horse race so far, as none of the top three teams have lost to anyone outside of the top three; and because Fraser Valley has already lost two games to Saskatchewan and Pacific Storm each, it will be very difficult – but nothing is impossible- for them to make up the ground required to qualify for the 1 vs 2 game.
16U Girls West
Just like the CAMO girls in the eastern conference, the Fraser Valley girls also continued their impressive run, recording 5 more victories as they pushed their record to 12-0-0. Even more impressive was the fact that no opponent was able to come within 10 goals of the Valley girls. With one more win, Fraser Valley can actually clinch their spot in the 1 vs 2 game. The 2nd spot in the 1 vs 2 game will very likely be Pacific Storm, who sit a clear 2nd in the standings with a 10-0-2 record. It was actually a perfect weekend for the west coasters in the girl’s category as Storm also went 5-0-0 in Calgary. In fact, Pacific Storm has not lost a game this year that was not against Fraser Valley. Both the Calgary Renegades and Saskatchewan gave Storm a run for their money in Calgary, but Storm was able to pull out a pair of two goal victories in both games and pull themselves eighteen points clear of both clubs.
This week in the NCL
It’s a down week for the NCL, as there are only a few games on the slate. Langley BC, Toronto ON, and Etobicoke ON will be the sites for games this week. Please see the NCL schedule for exact times and locations.


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