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News Article

04.17.2019
Saskatchewan, Pacific Storm, and Fraser Valley to represent Men’s Western Conference at 2019 National Finals

The NCL Playoffs have officially begun with the playing of the 19U Men’s Western Conference Championships in Regina from April 4-7. As the event got underway at the Lawson Centre, three teams, Fraser Valley, Pacific Storm, and West Coast Warriors, were eyeing earning one of the two available berths for the National Finals. Saskatchewan had already clinched a berth at the National Finals courtesy of their victory at the Crossover, but the title of Western Conference Championships and seeding at the National Finals were still on the line for the home town favourites.

In the first semi-final game, Saskatchewan faced off against second-ranked Fraser Valley to see who would earn a berth directly into Sunday’s finals. Fraser Valley was coming into the game with confidence as they had handed Saskatchewan their only defeat of the season just one day earlier during the final regular season game. The game started out similar to that game as it was close throughout the first half. Fraser Valley, however, could not stop Bruno Marunica of Saskatchewan, who would score five goals in the game, pacing his team to a 13-9 win and a spot in the gold medal game.

The second game was the quarter-final between Pacific Storm and West Coast Warriors. With the game tied at two, Pacific Storm would take over as they would score the next six goals and would win the game 12-8 and advance to the semi-final to face Fraser Valley.

In the semi-final game between Storm and Valley, both defences played well, and Fraser Valley had a 4-2 lead at halftime. In the third, Fraser Valley would add to their lead making it 5-2, but with the game starting to slip, Pacific Storm caught fire as they would repeat their performance against the West Coast Warriors and score six unanswered goals to win the game 8-6.

The bronze medal match between Fraser Valley and West Coast Warriors had much more riding on it than normal. Saskatchewan’s victory at the Crossover not only clinched them a spot at Nationals but also added an extra spot for the bronze medal winner from the West. With so much on the line, the tension was ratcheted up on all sides. Fraser Valley were the favourites heading into the game, as Warriors had been unable to earn a victory against one of their western conference foes all season long. Things were going to script with Fraser Valley holding a comfortable 6-2 lead in the third quarter, but then the Warriors began to play some of their best water polo of the year and started to mount a comeback. Warriors slowly started to reel Fraser Valley in, and the pressure only increased with every passing minute of the game. Warriors pulled to within one in the final minutes and had one last chance to tie in the final seconds. A turnover looked like it would seal the Warriors fate, but a ball under call gave the Warriors a 2nd chance, and Adam Carter made no mistake, burying his shot into the left corner to score his fourth of the game with just seven seconds left. A shootout would decide the teams’ fates. In the shootout, the first three shooters for both sides scored. In the fourth round, after a Fraser Valley goal, Kyle Bos made a key stop to preserve an 11-10 lead. With one round left, Garrett Davis scored on his attempt to make it 12-10 and sealed the victory which clinched them a spot at National Finals.

While both Pacific Storm and Saskatchewan had clinched a spot at Nationals, this game still had a lot of meaning as it would determine not only the Conference Champion but also the seeding for National Finals. Playing in front of their huge home crowd, with a chance to win a Western Championship on home soil for the first time, Saskatchewan maybe played their most complete game of the season, allowing only three goals against while scoring 13 themselves to take the title. The victory marked Saskatchewan’s second straight Conference Championship, and they will move on to the National Finals looking to win their first ever NCL 19 and under Men’s National Championships.

WPC would like to especially thank all the volunteers from Saskatchewan who helped to make the Men’s Western Championships an incredible event.

Final Results:

  1. Saskatchewan
  2. Pacific Storm
  3. Fraser Valley
  4. West Coast Warriors

Top Goal Scorer: Bruno Marunica – Saskatchewan

All-Star Team

  • Maxwell MacMillan – Pacific Storm
  • Connor MacMillan – Pacific Storm
  • Bruno Marunica – Saskatchewan
  • Stephen Gloade – Saskatchewan
  • Thomas de Wit – Fraser Valley
  • Joshua Lucci – West Coast Warriors
  • Brody McKnight (Goalie) – Saskatchewan
 
 
 
 

 


 
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