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Mavericks, Dollard capture 16U Eastern Conference Championship Titles

The Maverick Black boys team, and the Dollard girls team were crowned champions of the Eastern Conference at the 2017 Eastern National Finals that took place at the Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa from April 21 st - 23 rd . The wins by Mavericks and Dollard booked their places at the 2017 National Finals in Calgary, where they will compete for the National Championships. Joining them in Calgary will be the silver medal winning boys team, the Montreal Machine, and the silver medal girls team, CAMO.

With 15 teams competing, the battle for the four National Finals berths and the Eastern Conference Championships was expected to be top-notch; and the spectators watching at the pool, or at home on livestream where not disappointed. The weekend was filed with entertaining and dramatic games, rivalries and upsets.

Friday’s boys quarter-final between the Montreal Machine and Ottawa Titans was one of those games. The match was expected to be close, and the expectations rang true. Machine led 3-1 after the 1st quarter, but the Titans responded strongly in the 2nd and 3rd and had a 1 goal lead entering the 4th quarter. Two goals by the Machine in the 4th quarter would give the Montreal boys the lead back, but two straight by the Titans returned the Machine’s deficit to one. With under 30 seconds to go, Machine took their timeout to set up a play for the tie. Leno Salamon earned a minor four against his defender with 12 seconds to go, and from long range, fired a perfectly placed shot of the right post and in to tie the game. It was Leno’s 5th goal of the game. A shootout would now decide the match. The teams matched each other goal for and save for save until the 7th round of the shootout, when a great save by Alexander Zaharkevich gave Machine an opening. Luka Dabic made no mistake, and the Machine were into the semi-finals.

Two matches a later, another boy’s quarter-final would also go right down to the wire, but this time in a game that was not expected to be a nail biter. Dollard Black had finished first in the very competitive Quebec division and were facing the 4th place finisher from the Ontario Division, Capital Wave. Capital Wave may have been the underdog, but with a raucous home crowd behind them, they competed with Dollard from the opening swim ball. A key point in the game was those opening minutes where Dollard jumped to an 4-1 lead and looked to be on the way to another victory. Capital Wave then scored 4 goals in a minute and a half to tie that game at 5. Nikola Bajic and Alex Nevills provided 2 goals each in that onslaught, and we go on to record 5 goals each for Wave in the game. From the point on, Dollard could not shake the home town favourites, and the crowd only get louder. As the 4th quarter wound down and the teams were still neck and neck, tied at 14, before Peter Kovacevic fired a bullet from long distance to give Wave the lead. Dollard could not tie on a last minute power play, and Capital Wave had earned the upset, and a spot in the semi-finals.

The night finished with the girl’s one vs two game between CAMO and Dollard. The two teams had controlled the girls’ division all season, with neither team having lost a game to one of their other four conference opponents. CAMO had won 3 of their 4 matches however, and the 1 vs 2 game followed the script of those previous wins. CAMO relied on strong goaltending and defense, along with timely counterattacks and goals, to prevail 7-5. The win clinched a spot in Sunday’s final for CAMO, and assured them a place at the National Finals.

Next up was semi-final Saturday, but before getting to the semi-final matches, a quick note of a couple consolation round matches is needed. Both the Dollard Gold boys squad, and the St-Lambert girls squad recorded their first victories of the year at the Eastern Conference Championships. Both teams made strong strides throughout the season, and to see their hard work and commitment payoff with well deserved victories was enjoyable for all to see.

On to the semi-finals. In the first boy’s semi-final, CAMO was pitted with the unenviable task of trying to defeat the undefeated and daunting Mavericks Black squad. The Black squad is led by their captain, Bor Tanesijevic, who sets the pace for the team. The Mavericks roster has many scorers and talented players, but they all feed off the play of their captain. In the semi-final, Bor scored five of his team’s opening six goals to stake Mavericks to a 6-2 lead. CAMO fought gamely the rest of the way, even pulling within two, early in the fourth quarter, but none other than Mr. Tanesijevic scored his 6th goal for Mavericks to push the lead back to three. CAMO would come no closer. Mavericks Black had won their 21st straight game of the season, and were off to both the Eastern Conference Final and the National Finals.

The 2nd semi-final featured the upstarts and fan favourites from Capital Wave against the newcomers to the NCL, the Montreal Machine. No matter the outcome, the fact that one of these two teams would qualify for the National Finals was a great story. Wave showed no signs of being satisfied with only one upset, and from the opening clearly had designs on claiming the Finals spot for themselves. Machine matched their intensity, and after one quarter, the lead was 4-3 for Montreal. The 2nd quarter was the difference in the game, with Montreal, led by Liam Masley and Leno Salamon, scoring 6 goals to Capital Wave’s 0 to break the game open. In the 2nd half, Capital Wave outscored the Machine 8-5, but the 2nd quarter deficit was simply too much to overcome, and the Machine, in their first season of the NCL, had qualified for the National Finals.

The final semi-final was the girls’ matchup between Dollard and Capital Wave, who like their male counterparts, had gone on a run at the Eastern Championships. It was one of the loudest games of the weekend, with many Dollard and Wave fans cheering on their squads. Dollard looked like they might have the game won early thanks to a four-goal run in the 2nd quarter to turn a 3-3 tie into a four goal lead, but Capital Wave responded with a four goal run of their own to tie the game. Two quick goals from Dollard restored some breathing room but Wave continued to fight on, pulling with one goal again on two separate occasions. Casey Taylor had the answer both times for Dollard, and the two clutch goals from her in the 2nd half helped tide the Wave momentum. Dollard would hold on to record a 12-10 victory, capture a spot in the National Finals, and earn a rematch in the Eastern Championship with CAMO.

With the National Finals berths decided, teams now focused on Sunday’s medal games. The girls bronze medal game was up first, and featured Capital Wave against a Mavericks squad who they had squeaked by in the quarter-finals, 6-4. The Mavericks were primed to return the favour to the Wave girls, and their strong defensive play kept their opponents a long way from the net for entire first half. Mavericks shut out Wave in the first half, and in the meantime, they had scored four goals of their own to lead 4-0. The 2nd half turned out to be a mirror image of the first, with Capital Wave turning on the defensive clamps, while finding four goals of their own, to tie the score and force a shootout. And what a shootout it would be. A total of 20 shots would be taken, with each team seemingly on the verge of victory at multiple points. As the shootout wore own, it became clear that it would be a shame either team had to lose this game. In the end, it was Capital Wave who prevailed, as the Mavericks tying shot was saved by Abigail Gasparotto to win the bronze for the local girls.

The boys bronze medal game featured the Capital Wave boys against CAMO. For the 3rd consecutive game, Capital Wave played right with a higher seeded team, but for the 2nd straight game, a run of goals by their opponents would be the difference. Trailing 9-6 entering the 4th quarter, CAMO put things into high gear, scoring 8 straight goals, by 7 different players no less, to flip the script on Capital Wave, win the bronze for their club, and end the season on a high note.

The action then shifted to the gold medal games. First up, was meeting number six on the season between the old rivals, CAMO and DDO. It was another low scoring and tight affair, just like the semi-final, but this time it was DDO who built the early lead, and CAMO who was forced to play catch up. Leading 7-4 late in the 3rd quarter, things were looking good for DDO, but a late marker by Alicia Petkov gave CAMO some momentum heading into the 4th. The momentum carried over and within the first minute of the 4th, CAMO had tied the score at 7. What followed was an incredibly tense and tight final seven minutes of play, with both teams coming close to finding the winning goal, only to be turned aside by great saves by keepers Aurora Girard (DDO) and Torie Bouchard-Cote (CAMO). With time winding down another shootout looked imminent, until Casey Taylor leaked out on a break, and found herself one on one with the goalie. Showing patience beyond her years, Casey faked, and faked, and faked, and just before being caught by the defense, fired the ball into an open side of the net, to give Dollard the championships.

Last up was the men’s final between Mavericks, looking to complete an undefeated season, and Montreal Machine, who had survived a shootout, and a tight semi-final affair just to qualify for the finals. The Machine played right with Mavericks for nearly 3 quarters of play, with Leno Salamon once more scoring timely goals to keep pace with the favourites from Toronto. But it takes a full 32 minute game to knock off the Mavericks, and at the end of the 3rd and into the 4th quarter, the Black squad found the gear that no other opponent has been able to match this season. Mavericks won the championship going away, 13-6 and now sit just two games away from completing a perfect season. Those two games will no doubt be the most difficult.

Congratulations to all the teams and athletes who participated at the 16U Eastern Championships, and good luck to the teams advancing to the National Finals. For those wishing to watch replays of the games, video is available here:

Next up for the NCL is the 16U Western Conference Championships at the Repsol Centre in Calgary this weekend.

NCL 16U Eastern Championships Final Results

1. Dollard Black
3. Capital Wave
4. Mavericks
5. Dollard Gold
6. St-Lambert 
1. Mavericks Black
2. Montreal Machine
3. CAMO 
4. Capital Wave
5. Dollard Black
6. KW Inferno
7. Ottawa Titans
8. Dollard Gold
9. Mavericks Red 

Award Winners


Top Goal Scorer

Floranne Carroll - CAMO, 74 goals in 18 games

All Star Team

Valeria Rojas - Capital Wave
Floranne Carroll - CAMO
Rose Kanemy – Dollard Black
Nadia Martniyuk – Dollard Black
Casey Taylor – Dollard Black
Louise Calugariou - St-Lambert
Goalie - Torie Bouchard-Cote - CAMO


Top Goal Scorer

Ontario Division - Bor Tanasijevic - Mavericks, 78 goals in 20 games
Quebec Division – Nicholas Serediuc – Dollard Black, 77 goals in 19 games

All Star Team

Bor Tanasijevic - Mavericks
Diego Gonzales - Titans
Kyril Marinov - Mavericks
Nicholas Serediuc - Dollard
Nikola Pejovic - CAMO
Luka Dabic - Montreal Machine
Goalie - Colin D'Amour Dollard



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