After two years of repeat champions in the 16U Western Conference, the 16U Calgary Renegades’ girls and the 16U Pacific Storm boys appear ready to institute a changing of the guard atop the standings. Both teams went undefeated at the 16U Western Conference Tournament in Surrey last weekend and are poised to make long runs in the 2016-2017 NCL season.
In the girl’s division, the Renegades club showed impressive depth in racking up a 5-0-0 record in Surrey. Alison Cameron (17 goals), Emma Tufts (14 goals) and Stefania Mic (12 goals) may have led the way for Calgary, but the Renegades have goal scoring threats up and down the line-up. Eight different players for the Renegades had a game where they scored multiple goals. Calgary’s impressive depth is also a factor in net, where all three of Anna Kosloski, Gabriella Fisher and Anna Dilger could be counted on for a big save.
While calgary is off to a good start this season, but it will not be an easy road to the title. The western conference is filled with strong, competitive teams; nearly half the games played in Surrey were decided by three goals or less. The Pacific Storm squad that went 5-0-1 on the weekend might be the toughest competition for Calgary. Storm had an 11-7 lead on the Renegades late in the 3rd quarter in their contest in Surrey, but Calgary went on a 7-0 scoring run to turn the four-goal deficit into a three goal lead. It was a team effort for the Renegades in turning the game around, as six different players scored for Calgary on the game winning run.
In the 16U Boys Western Conference, Pacific Storm looks primed to end two seasons of frustration in their quest to capture the Western Conference Championship. Storm has given Saskatchewan a valiant run over the past two NCL season, but fell just short in the Western Championships on both occasions. There performance in Surrey might be a signal that the 3rd time while be the charm. Storm went 5-0-0 at the Fleetwood Pool in Surrey, and were never seriously threatened. Included in those five wins were two double-digits wins over the rivals from Saskatchewan. Much like the Renegades in the girls division, Storm features a potent offensive with scoring threats at multiple positions, including Maxwell Macmillan (22 goals) Lucas Bennett (18 goals), Finnegan Clements (17 goals), and Connor MacMillan (16 goals), and strong goaltending from Antonio Maric and Tyler James.
Saskatchewan rebounded from their two defeats to Storm to post a 5-0-2 record overall in Surrey and they will be a dangerous team to face as they attempt to claim a three-peat. Fraser Valley also posted a good record in Surrey (3-1-1), showing an ability to pull out close contests. Valley recorded their three wins by margins of one, two, and three goals, and they hope their experience in close games will serve them well going forward.
In addition to the 16U event in Surrey, the 19U Eastern Conference Men’s division had their first big event of the season in Ottawa this weekend. Each Men’s 19U team has played at least four games on the season now, and the standings are starting to take shape.
Historic rivals CAMO and DDO lead the field thus far, and a potential show-down between the clubs at the 19U Eastern Championships would be great theatre. CAMO is 6-0-0 on the season and has beaten each other club in the conference at least once, including their tightest game of the year, an 11-8 win against DDO. Félix Poliseno, the leading goal scorer in the Eastern Conference last season, leads the way for CAMO again the season. Poliseno poured in 20 goals in just three games in Ottawa. Dollard Black is 4-0-1, with their lone blemish being the aforementioned loss to CAMO.
The Ottawa Titans are the early leaders of the Ontario Division of the 19U East at 3-0-2. The Titans, led by extremely talented hole man Bogdan Djerkovic (24 goals in five games) and the goaltending of Simon Nadeau, showed the ability to play even with both CAMO and Dollard. The challenge for Ottawa, and all clubs against DDO and CAMO, will be maintaining that high level for the full 32 minutes required.
This week in the NCL
The NCL will be heading into the Holiday Break with a bang, as 17 games will be take place this final week, in either Montreal or Vancouver. All four Montreal area clubs (CAMO, Dollard, St-Lambert, and the Montreal Machine) will be hosting games this weekend and old rivalries will be renewed. Three games that are sure to be exciting are the matches between the Dollard Black and CAMO squads. The 19U Men and 16U Boys will meet at Claude Robillard on Saturday morning, and Sunday morning respectively, and the 19U Women’s teams will play Saturday night at AADDO. Additionally, both the Capital Wave 16U girls, and the Ottawa Titans 16U boys will be making the trek to Montreal for matches. The West coast will also see rivalry games as Pacific Storm will host Fraser Valley’s 16U boys and girls’ squads, and Saanich’s 19U men’s squad, at a triple header in Coquitlam.