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Field Set for National Finals after 19 and under conference championships

The NCL 19 under conference championship weekend saw 22 men’s and women’s teams in action in three cities across the country trying to qualify for the 2017 National Finals. On Sunday night, only eight teams remained standing in their quests to earn National Championship gold.

At the Western Conference Championships at the Repsol Centre in Calgary, Pacific Storm and Saskatchewan captured the men’s and women’s championships respectively. The wins follow Storm and Saskatchewan’s victories at the 16 and under western conference championships one week prior in the boys’ and girl’s categories respectively. It’s the first time one club has won both 16U and 19U categories of one gender in the western conference. Saskatchewan also won the Senior Women’s National Championship back in March, so there is a possibility Saskatchewan could win all four female categories of the NCL (14U, 16U, 19U, and Senior).

The defending National Champions from Pacific Storm had to work their way back to the National Finals after finishing outside the top two in the regular season. Storm had to win three games in two days in order to qualify for the finals. Despite having no margin for error, Storm played relaxed and confident in every game, beating Saanich/Spartans, Fraser Valley, and Saskatchewan in order, while only trailing for a combined 1 minute and 50 seconds in all three games. In the gold medal match, Storm met the Calgary Torpedoes, who had a much more straightforward path. Calgary (the 2nd seed) only needed to win their opening game against Saskatchewan (the 1st seed) to guarantee their place in the gold medal match and the National Finals. While the path may have been straightforward, it would be by no means easy. The game against Sask featured four lead changes and an amazing eleven times when the score was tied. There was nothing to split the teams until the final minute and a half when Alexis Reiher’s 3rd of the game, and Harrison Henning’s 7th of the game gave Torpedoes the final margin at 15-13.

Storm would win their 4th consecutive game in the final to capture the championship, defeating Calgary 18-13. After falling behind early, Torpedoes fought their way back within one after a last second goal to end the third; but Storm poured it on to start the 4th, and led by Mark Spooner’s 7 goals, pulled away for the victory.

The women’s side went more to script, with both the 1st and 2nd seeds qualifying for the National Finals. Saskatchewan were the favourites after having gone 17-1-2 in the regular season, and they backed up that record with a pair of wins over 2nd seed Fraser Valley. Fast starts were the key for Saskatchewan, as a 7-1 lead in the first game, and a 4-0 lead to start the 2nd game, put Fraser Valley in early holes they simply could not climb out off. Despite the loses to Saskatchewan, Fraser Valley did show their resolve by beating the host Calgary Renegades 9-7 in the must-win semi-final. The win assured Fraser Valley a trip to the National Finals, and possibly another shot at Saskatchewan.

In the Eastern Conference, the conference championships were split, with the women competing in Montreal and the men in Markham.

At the Markham Pan Am Centre, 7 teams were fighting for the 2 spots at the National Finals. The Toronto Golden Jets had one of the toughest paths to qualifying, needing to win three games in two days, including two games against higher seeded teams. After dispatching Capital Wave on Friday night, the Jets pulled off their first upset by knocking of Dollard Black 11-8. A fast start in the first quarter (4-0) and five goals by David Rapoport (who scored over 100 in the regular season) were the keys for the Golden Jets. With those two wins, if the Jets could knock off the Ottawa Titans, they would be back in the National Finals for the 2nd consecutive season. The game against Ottawa was a tight affair from start to finish, with the Titans consistently pulling ahead, but never quite able to shake the Jets loose. Ottawa were leading by one as the clocked ticked towards a minute remaining in the final quarter, but a great breakout pass by the Jets found Marko Avdalovic alone at the side of the net. Marko buried the tying goal to bring the Jets back once again, and a shootout would be necessary to decide the teams’ fates.

The Jets have had good experiences with shootouts, winning two in last year’s Eastern Conference Championship against CAMO to not only qualify for the National Finals, but win the Eastern Championships. It appeared the Jets brought some of those positive memories forward with them when goalie Andrei Velasevic made two saves to start the shootout, and the Jets capitalized on both of their shots to put themselves in a commanding lead. From there, it was only a matter of time until the Jets would close out the win and secure their spot in the National Finals.

In the gold medal game, the Jets met their adversary from the previous year, CAMO. CAMO had qualified for the final after winning a tough 14-10 contest over the host Mavericks. The game was touch and go to start, with not a lot to separate the teams. At the half, it was CAMO leading 5-4. Perhaps understanding that playing the Jets in a shootout was not a winning proposition, CAMO came out in the 3rd quarter with the mission of making that outcome an impossibility. By outscoring the Jets 7-2 in the 3rd quarter, CAMO had doubled their opponents up 12-6 heading into the 4th, and secured themselves their first ever NCL Eastern Conference Championship.

The women’s competition took place at Pointe-Claire in Montreal. It was a simple two game competition, with a semi-final on Saturday between Dollard and St-Lambert, with the winner to advance to face top seeded CAMO in the final on Sunday. The semi-final was especially important, as it would determine which team also joined CAMO in the National Finals. St-Lambert were the underdogs against Dollard, so jumping to an early 3-1 lead was important. Led by the Bolduc sisters, Elisabeth and Meganne, St-Lambert was able to fend off the Dollard comeback attempts the rest of the way. When Dollard scored four straights goals in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 7-5 lead, the Bolducs scored three straight of their own, to retake the lead 8-7. When Dollard tied it up a 9-9 with under two minutes to play, Meganne Bolduc’s 4th goal of the game just 20 seconds later, would provide the winning margin. The victory assured the St-Lambert women’s first ever appearance at the National Finals.

In the final on Sunday the CAMO women would not let another upset happen, recording a 19-6 victory behind six goals from Tyanna Supreme. The win clinched CAMO’s third consecutive eastern conference championship. Now, they will try win the third consecutive National Championship at the National Finals. The wins by CAMO’s 19U men and women in the 2017 Eastern Conference Championships also mark the first time a club has won both the men’s and women’s 19U titles at a conference championship.

Final Standings

19U West – Men

  1. Pacific Storm
  2. Calgary Torpedoes
  3. Saskatchewan
  4. Fraser Valley
  5. Edmonton Tsunami
  6. Saanich Spartans
19U West – Women

  1. Saskatchewan
  2. Fraser Valley
  3. Calgary Renegades
  4. Pacific Storm
  5. Edmonton Tsunami
  6. Edmonton Thunderbirds

19U East – Men

  1. CAMO
  2. Toronto Golden Jets
  3. Ottawa Titans
  4. Mavericks
  5. Dollard Black
  6. Capital Wave
  7. Dollard Gold

19U East – Women

  1. CAMO
  2. St-Lambert
  3. Dollard

Award Winners

19U West – Men

Top Goal Scorer - Stefanos Rizopoulos – Calgary Torpedoes – 93 goals in 22 games


Stefanos Rizopoulos – Calgary Torpedoes
Reuel D'Souza – Pacific Storm
Alexis Reiher – Calgary Torpedoes
Jake Morris – Saskatchewan
Georgiy Belyaev – Fraser Valley
Jovan Kostadinovic – Edmonton Tsunami
Goalie - Aleksandar Veljovic – Calgary Torpedoes

19U Women – West

Top Goal Scorer – Emma Fraser – Edmonton Tsunami – 65 goals in 17 games


Adrian Van Dyke – Saskatchewan
Blaire McDowell – Saskatchewan
Viktoria Orlova – Pacific Storm
Nina Ceklic – Calgary Renegades
Emma Fraser – Edmonton Tsunami
Devyn Smith – Saskatchewan
Goalie: Katie Campbell – Saskatchewan

19U East - Men

Top Goal Scorer - Félix Poliseno – CAMO, 119 goals in 20 games


Félix Poliseno – CAMO
Benjamin Lemay-Lavoie – CAMO
Jérémie Coté – Dollard
David Rapoport – Toronto Golden Jets
Bogdan Djerkovic – Ottawa Titans
Blake Carnevale – Mavericks
Goalie: Juan Sebastian Hoyos – Dollard

19U East – Women

Top Goal Scorer - Elisabeth Bolduc - St-Lambert, 48 goals in 14 games


Verica Bakoc – Dollard
Myriam Lizotte – CAMO
Elisabeth Bolduc - St-Lambert
Valeria Rojas – Dollard
Daphne Guevremont – CAMO
Chayma Hlandif – CAMO
Goalie: Clara Vulpisi - CAMO



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