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Paths to the National Finals Taking Shape after Final 16U Eastern Conference Weekend of the Season

The 16U Eastern Conference NCL teams gathered for the final conference weekend of the regular season in Markham this past weekend with hopes of making a final push up the standings as the regular season comes to a close. After 25 games, each team’s road to the National Finals has begun to clear, and the clubs can begin their prep for the Eastern Conference Championships.

The most impressive overall performance on the weekend was no doubt shown by the Ottawa Titan’s 16U boys squad. The Titans went 6-0-0 over the three days, and recorded a win over every other conference opponent. Ottawa leaned more heavily on their big guns, like hole-man Bogdan Djerkovic, and the results spoke for themselves. In the games against top three teams Mavericks Black and CAMO, Djerkovic scored 11 goals and 7 goals respectively. He also had two other games with 7 goals.
The Titans are certainly a contender for the National Finals, but because of their up and down regular season, Ottawa will likely only claim the 4th seed in the playoffs. As the 4th seed, Titans will need a similar performance in the playoffs in order to claim a spot in the National Finals. They will likely have to beat two of Mavericks Black, CAMO, and Dollard Black just to qualify.
The threat the Titans represent means that the difference in finishing 2nd and 3rd in the standings is huge. The 2nd seed will get two shots to qualify for the National Finals, while the 3rd seed will have to run a gauntlet similar to what the Titans face. Currently, CAMO leads Mavericks Black by nine points in the standings thanks to a 12-10 win over Mavericks on Sunday; however, Mavericks are actually in a better position to qualify for the 1-2 game. Mavericks Black have three games remaining in the season, and will be heavy favourites in all three games; additionally, Mavericks Black won the season series against CAMO this year, giving them the tiebreaker. CAMO has just one game remaining, and it’s against conference leader DDO Black. If CAMO fails to earn a point against DDO Black, Mavericks Black will likely jump into a tie with CAMO, and take the 2nd seed on the strength of their head to head record.
On the girl’s side, the 1 vs 2 game is now set. CAMO (16-1-0) will face Capital Wave (12-1-7) for a berth in the Eastern Conference Championship Game and a spot in the 16U National Finals. Capital Wave earned the 2nd seed thanks to a 4-0-1 weekend in Markham which included a crucial 10-4 win over 3rd place St-Lambert. The win over St-Lambert gave Capital Wave the season series at 3-1-1 and so even if St-Lambert wins their final two games and pulls into a tie with Wave on points, the Ottawa girls will still finish 2nd. St-Lambert will have to take the more difficult path to the National Finals as they will face the winner of Mavericks and Dollard in the quarter-finals, and then have to come out on top in a must win semi-final.
Other NCL Action
In MLWP, the CAMO Roadrunners and Toronto Golden Jets kept pace with each other in the race for 1st place in the conference. CAMO won a pair of games in Gatineau against the Ottawa Titans, while the Jets earned a hard fought 9-6 victory over the Mavericks at U of T. The Jets remain the favourites to finish as the regular season champions. The losses by the Mavericks and Ottawa United mean that three teams are within 2 points of each for 3rd place in the standings. Ottawa United have 21 points while Mavericks and CAMO Masters have 19 each, with Mavericks holding a game in hand. Ottawa and CAMO finish their seasons playing twice against each other in Gatineau this Saturday. If one team can snatch both of those games, they will be in good shape to grab the 3rd seed at Senior Nationals.
Out on the west coast, Fraser Valley and Pacific Storm played a triple header at the Walnut Grove in Langley, BC. Pacific Storm swept the boy’s contests at 16U and 19U while the 16U Fraser Valley girls continued their perfect season with win number 15 on the year.
This Week in the NCL

It’s a scaled down week for the NCL but there will still be games taking place in Montreal, Gatineau, and Toronto, with a pair in Hamilton on Monday night for good measure. The best place to go to check out some water polo action this weekend is no doubt Cote Saint-Luc where old rivals CAMO and DDO will play five consecutive games against each other starting at 4:10pm on Saturday.
Please see the NCL schedule for exact times and locations of this weekend’s games.


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