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The 2018-2019 NCL season is off and running after 62-game opening weekend

The fifth year of the NCL got off to a fast and furious start with sixty-two 16 and under games being played this past weekend in Regina and Dollard. Seven months of NCL competition now lay ahead for the record forty-six 16U and 19U teams attempting to win a National Championship this season.

The 16U girls’ division is shaping up to be one of the most tightly contested categories in the history of the NCL if the first weekend of games is any indication. In the Western Conference, a full third of the games played were decided by one goal. Fraser Valley and Pacific Storm have jumped to the early conference lead at 4-0-1, with Saskatchewan right behind them at 4-0-2. The three conference leaders played three games against each other in Regina, and all three were one-goal games. The Edmonton Tsunami sits 4th in the conference with a record of 2-0-4, but that record does not reflect the overall performance of the Tsunami team in Regina. Edmonton lost three of their games by a total of four goals and could just as easily be 5-0-1 as 2-0-4. The Calgary Renegades Black squad sits 5th with a 1-0-3 record, but they will be no easy out this season either. The Renegades improved with each game they played in Regina, and will no doubt be fitting for the conference championship by the time the calendar turns to April.

In the Eastern Conference, things are looking much tighter than the 2017-2018 season that saw Dollard go 23-0-0 on their way to winning the National Championship. Dollard’s winning streak was actually broken in their very first game of the season when the visiting Mavericks triumphed 9-7 over the tournament hosts. Dollard did show their championship pedigree by bouncing back to win their next four games to finish the weekend at 4-0-1 and tied for 2nd in the conference. Mavericks also went 4-0-1 to begin the season, with their only loss being an 11-8 contest against CAMO. CAMO is the lone remaining undefeated 16U girls’ team in the country, with a perfect 4-0-0 record. The two-time NCL Eastern Conference Champions (2015 & 2016) are off to a strong start in their campaign to return to the NCL National Finals after missing the event for the first time last season. Just three points back from the conference leaders sit the South West Stingrays, who went an impressive 3-0-1 in their NCL debut. With so many competitive teams in both conferences and only four spots available for the National Finals in May, the 2018-2019 16U girls’ season is sure to be gripping from start to finish.

In the 16U boys’ division, the early view of the Western Conference is that of a three-way battle between the teams from British Columbia. Pacific Storm, Fraser Valley, and the West Coast Warriors all went undefeated in impressive fashion during their contests in Regina. Storm and Valley currently lead the way at 5-0-0, with the Warriors just a game behind at 4-0-0. We will get our first chance to see how the BC teams stack up against one another when Storm and Valley meet on November 24th in Langley. The NCL season is a marathon and not a sprint though, so it would be foolish to write off any of the teams in the Western Conference after just one weekend of play.

In the Eastern Conference, only eight of the eleven competing teams opened their season this weekend, so just so much can be gleaned from the first few games of play. With that having been said, the two-time defending champion Mavericks squad are looking extremely tough once again. The Mavericks have gone two consecutive seasons without losing a game, and that streak continued into the 2018-2019 season with a 3-0-0 record in Montreal. The marquee matchup of the weekend was the Mavericks match vs. the two-time defending bronze medalists from the National Finals, Montreal Machine. The match was a tight contest, with perhaps the key moment happening late in the 2nd quarter. After Machine had scored three straight goals to close the gap to 8-7, Karim Aboudaoud scored with just eight seconds left in the half to push the lead back to two. That goal seemed to change the momentum going into halftime, and in the 3rd quarter, Mavericks shut out Machine, while adding two goals of their own, to give themselves enough breathing room heading into the fourth. Aboudaoud was a difference maker for Mavericks, tallying six goals in this game.

The next major events on the NCL schedule are the 19U weekends in Surrey (November 28-December 2) and Markham (December 7-9) where the majority of the 19U teams will get their NCL campaigns underway. Please see the NCL schedule for full details about upcoming games:

All-Star Team

GK: Charles Campbell, Pacific Storm // Hannah Primeau, DDO

Kimberly Frostad, Team Sask

Emma Lawson, Fraser Valley

Jessica Beauchemin, CAMO

Karim Aboudaoud, Mavericks

Adam Carter, West Coast Warriors

Tomas Andrijasevic, Ottawa Titans



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