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News Article

11.14.2017
2017-2018 NCL Season is off and running

After 156 long days since the 2016-2017 NCL season came to a close at the Repsol Centre in Calgary, the National Championship League has returned to action! The 2017-2018 season got off to a flying start as 59 games were played over four days of action in Regina and Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

A record fifty-five 16U and 19U NCL teams are vying for National Championship banners in 2017-2018. 24 of those teams began their journeys this past weekend at the 19U Western Conference Weekend in Regina, or the 16U Eastern Weekend at Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

The NCL season is a long and gruelling road, with seven months of competition spanning the opening games in November, and the National Finals at the end of May. The length of the season means that even teams that get off to the best of starts, are not guaranteed to be the ones standing at the finish. With that said, several teams’ performances from the opening weekend have served notice that they will be tough outs come the NCL playoffs.

In the West, the Saskatchewan 19U men and women had very impressive weekends, with each squad finishing with a perfect 6-0-0 record. Playing in front of their home fans, the Saskatchewan boys overpowered their opponents, racking up 100 goals scored to only 18 against. Many had pegged the Saskatchewan squad as contenders for the 19U men’s title this year, as many of the players who make up the team were key contributors to the 16U teams that won back to back NCL National Championships for Saskatchewan in 2015 and 2016.

Sask’s 19U women’s squad were not as dominating as their male counterparts from a goal differential perspective, but they nonetheless accomplished the same 6-0-0 record while showing the ability to hold their nerve in close games. The Saskatchewan women pulled out 11-10 and 10-7 victories over Pacific Storm, and a 12-10 win over the Edmonton Tsunami. The confidence gained from pulling out these contests will no doubt come in handy down the road for Saskatchewan. After two consecutive years of finishing runners up at the National Finals, the Saskatchewan girls hope that the third time will be the charm in their quest for the gold.

In the East, a crowded field of thirteen teams are contesting the 16U Boys category. The NCL welcomed the Laval Tritons and St-Lambert to the boys’ division for the first time in NCL history, with Laval picking up their first ever NCL win in only their 2nd game, a 14-8 victory over Capital Wave. Only seven of the thirteen teams in the conference were in Montreal for the competition so a full review of how the teams stack up against one another is not possible yet, but it is possible to draw some early conclusions. Dollard Black looks to be in a strong position this year, recording three double digit wins, including topping an Ottawa Titans team that finished 4-0-2 overall. The surprise bronze medallists from last season, Montreal Machine (who accomplished the feat in their first season as a club) also started the season undefeated (2-0-0). Their 2nd win was a nail-biting 7-6 contest over the Titans that brought back memories of one of a last year’s most memorable matches, a 16-15 shoot-out win for the Machine in the quarter-finals of the Eastern Conference Championships.

All seven teams in the 16U Girls’ Eastern Conference were present in the Montreal for the season opening event, and Dollard Black clearly established themselves as the early favourites in the conference. The 2017 16U Eastern Champions and National Bronze medalists went 4-0-0 while compiling a goal differential of +78 in those four matches. The Dollard girls also have a championship pedigree, with many of the team members helping Dollard to back to back 14U Eastern National Championships in 2016 and 2017.

The 16U Girls’ Eastern Conference also welcomed a new team to the mix for the 2017-2018 season, the KW Inferno. KW wasted no time in making their presence known in the league, achieving a 9-9 tie against last year’s Eastern Conference bronze medallists, Capital Wave.

This Week in the NCL

Another fourteen NCL matches are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, with games taking place in Ontario and British Columbia for the first time this season. Hamilton Water Polo Club will host four games at McMaster University on Saturday in their return to the National Championship League while another three games will be hosted by St-Lambert in Montreal on Saturday night. On Sunday, Pacific Storm and Fraser Valley will renew their rivalry at Watermania in Richmond B.C, while Laval and St-Lambert will host games in Montreal. Please see the NCL schedule for further details: http://www.waterpolo.ca/NLScheduleResult.aspx

Final Notes

Water Polo Canada would like to thank the volunteers from Dollard Water Polo Club and Water Polo Saskatchewan for the many hours spent hosting the opening two NCL events of the season.

 
 
 
 

 


 
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