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News Article

05.02.2019
Eight teams advance to National Finals after 16U Conference Championships

This past weekend 48 games were played in Calgary and Ottawa to determine which eight teams would qualify for the 2019 16 and under National Finals. CAMO, Dollard, Fraser Valley and Pacific Storm will compete for the 16U Girls National Championship, while Fraser Valley, Mavericks, Montreal Machine, and West Coast Warriors will compete for the 16U Boys National Championship.

The 2019 Western Conference Championships were contested between 13 teams at the Repsol Sport Centre in Calgary. On the girls’ side, Pacific Storm entered the tournament as the defending champions and the second seed. On Friday, they played Fraser Valley in a 1 vs 2 game that gave the winner an automatic berth in the gold medal game. Both teams were playing a tight defensive game with the match being tied 2-2 at the beginning of the third period. Fraser Valley would take control in the third as they scored four goals to Storm’s one. With a 6-3 deficit, Pacific Storm turned it around in the fourth as they would score four unanswered goals and hold Fraser Valley to none as they would come back to win the game 7-6. Despite the loss, Fraser Valley would get another chance to make it to the National Finals through a second semi-final on Saturday night.

In order just to qualify for that other semi-final, the Calgary Renegades had to win two games against fierce competition. On Friday night, Renegades outlasted Edmonton 13-11 before defeating Saskatchewan 10-9 in Saturday morning’s quarter-final. In the semi-final, Renegades jumped out to a 7-1 lead by the beginning of the second period. Fraser Valley had a mountain to climb to get back in the game, but they did not give up. The defence started the rally as they would not allow a goal from the Renegades the rest of the period. With the Renegades unable to continue to build on their lead, Fraser Valley began chipping away at the deficit, scoring four unanswered goals to get within two. The two teams traded a couple of goals in the third, but in the fourth, Fraser Valley finally broke through by scoring four goals. Emma Lawson scored the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining. With the stunning comeback, Fraser Valley clinched a place in the National Finals and advanced to a gold medal game rematch against Pacific Storm.

After a tough loss to Fraser Valley, Calgary Renegades Black would not have much time to dwell on the defeat as they would face Edmonton Tsunami in the bronze medal match. The Tsunami had to take the long road to the bronze medal match as they lost to the Renegades in the quarter-final. They then had to defeat Renegades Gold and Saskatchewan in order to make it. The game was similar to the quarter-final game, as both teams could not get much breathing room. The Renegades’ Emilia Schorr was the difference in the game as she scored six goals for her team to lead them to a 12-9 victory and a bronze medal.

In the gold medal match, Pacific Storm picked up where they left off as they took a 4-1 lead at the end of the first. Fraser Valley tried to mount another comeback by scoring two quick goals in the second to get within one, but Pacific Storm would not allow them to get any closer. Martina Blazevic would lead the way for the Storm with six goals to secure a 10-7 victory for the Storm. The win earned them back to back Western Conference Championships.

On the boys’ side, the opening round went according to script as the top four teams advanced to the semi-finals. In the first semi-final #2 seed, West Coast Warriors faced off against #3 seed Pacific Storm. The two teams were evenly matched as they split the regular season with each winning one game and tying the other. Pacific Storm started off well and held an early 2-1 lead, but the Warriors would take over from there as they would score four unanswered goals to take a 5-2 lead. Pacific Storm tried to mount a comeback, but it would come up short, and with the victory, the West Coast Warriors advanced to their 2nd consecutive 16 and under National Finals.

In the other semi-final, undefeated Fraser Valley faced off against Saskatchewan. Even though Fraser Valley had not lost all year, Saskatchewan was not phased by them and took a 4-1 lead into the second period. Fraser Valley would come back to tie the game, and the teams went back and forth for most of the next two periods. Saskatchewan managed to take a 9-7 lead entering the final period, but just as with their 16U girls’ counterparts, Fraser Valley used an impressive fourth quarter to pull out the win. Valley scored four straight goals in the fourth quarter while shutting out Saskatchewan, to win the game 11-9. Abhishanth Tharmapala was the spark as he scored less than a minute into the fourth, and once again late in the final frame to put the game out of reach. Fraser Valley clinched their first-ever trip to the 16U Boys NCL National Finals with the win.

In the bronze medal game, Saskatchewan and Pacific Storm both got off to face to fast starts, scoring four goals apiece in the first. The game then became one of streaks as Saskatchewan went on a 5-0 run with top goal scorer Nathaniel Eidsness scoring 4 of the goals to provide a 9-4 lead. Pacific Storm would then go on a streak of their own, scoring seven straight to take the lead 11-9. The teams would continue to trade goals late into the game until Isaac James scored his second goal of the game to provide the winning margin. Pacific Storm took the bronze medal by a score of 15-13.

In the gold medal game, the West Coast Warriors were looking to solve Fraser Valley after three losses to them in the regular season. The game was tight in the early stages, and the score was knotted at three in the middle of the second period. Adam Carter of the West Coast Warriors then made some key plays as he scored a game-high four goals in helping his team build a six-goal lead. Goalie Jordan Blatny also kept Fraser Valley from getting back in the game, making some great saves, including two penalty shots, to keep Valley at bay. There would be no comeback in this game for Valley, as the Warriors played steady polo the rest of the way to clinch their first-ever NCL Western Conference Championship title.

*** 

In the East, the 16U teams had gathered in Ottawa at the Nepean Sportsplex for the Eastern Conference Championships.

The Mavericks boys entered the weekend looking for their third straight conference championship. In the semi-finals, they faced off against the Toronto Golden Jets who were playing some of their best water polo at just the right time. The game was close with the Golden Jets defence not giving the Mavericks much for the first couple of periods. While the Golden Jets put up a valiant effort, stopping the Mavericks high powered offence all game was a tough task. The Mavericks, who were led by Aidan Masters’ five goals and all-around strong play from Sergije Vrbaski, were eventually able to wear the Jets down and come away with a 15-7 win.

In the second semi-final, Montreal Machine battled the Ottawa Titans. The Machine took a 5-1 lead in the first thanks to Vladyslav Shabalin’s four goals, but the Titans would start to come back in the second period, scoring three straight while being spurred on by a raucous home crowd. Machine was not fazed by the crowd, however; and showed the mettle of a team that had been to the National Finals in two consecutive years by scoring 11 of the next 13 goals to record a 16-6 victory.

In the bronze medal game, the Titans held the lead for most of the beginning portion of the game, but team captain Bora Kaya helped kept his Jets in it, scoring five goals in the first three periods alone. Penalty trouble would prove important in this game as the Titans capitalized on four penalty shots throughout the game. Those goals provided the difference in a 10-8 Titans win.

In the gold medal game, the Mavericks offense showed why it scored over 400 goals during the regular season, as they scored seven goals in the first period alone. The Machine was able to hold on defensively in the second and was staying within fighting distance of Mavericks until another offensive explosion by Toronto in the 3rd. This time it was eight goals, and that was simply too much for Machine to overcome. Alexander James and Aidan Masters combined for 10 goals as they helped lead the Mavericks to their third straight conference championship. Despite the loss, the Machine qualified for National Finals once again and will have another chance to beat the Mavericks later this month.

On the girls’ side, the first semi-final featured undefeated #1 seed CAMO against #4 seed Mavericks. CAMO’s offence was unstoppable in this game, and their defence played tight as they took the game 12-2. CAMO’s offence was fueled by a trio of players with Jessica Beauchemin, Alicia Petkov, and Nahla El Mahboubi, who were all voted to the league all-star team, combining for all 12 of CAMO’s goals.

The second semi-final game was Dollard vs South West. Dollard showed their talents both defensively and in nets during this game as goaltender Hannah Primeau and company had a shutout going into the third period. By the time South West was able to get on the board, Dollard was already up 6-0 and could ride their defence the rest of the way. The final score was 8-2 DDO.

In the bronze medal game, South West and Mavericks traded first period goals and were tied entering the second period. The Mavericks would take over from there, scoring five goals in the 2nd period while also shutting South West out. That period would prove to be decisive as Mavericks were able to hold South West enough at bay the rest of the way to win the game 10-7 and earn their first-ever 16U girls NCL conference medal.

The gold medal game was a rivalry match with CAMO and Dollard competing for the championship. DDO and CAMO had combined to win each of the four previous 16U girls Eastern Championship; each club having two titles of their own. With their victories in the semi-finals, both clubs had qualified for National Finals, so this game was for playoff positioning as well as bragging rights. From the start, CAMO looked like a team set on reclaiming the conference title they had last won in 2016. Nahla El Mahboubi’s strong game upfront combined with some spectacular goaltending by Capucine Monteil helped CAMO win the game 11-2 and earn their third Eastern Conference Championship.

Water Polo Canada would especially like to thank the host clubs from this past weekend: The volunteers from the local Calgary clubs, who worked together to host the 16U Western Conference Championships, and the volunteers from Capital Wave who organized the 16U Eastern Conference Championships at the Nepean Sportsplex.

Final Standings

16U Western Conference – Boys

  1. West Coast Warriors
  2. Fraser Valley
  3. Pacific Storm
  4. Saskatchewan
  5. Calgary Wild
  6. Mako Tsunami
  7. Manitoba
All-Star Team

 

  • Nathanial Eidsness - Saskatchewan
  • Ethan Benoit - Fraser Valley
  • Quinn Macmillan - Pacific Storm
  • Adam Carter - West Coast Warriors
  • Cameron Hexter - Fraser Valley
  • Ernest Hoptioncan - Pacific Storm
  • Goalie - Thomas Dunlop - Calgary Wild

 

Top scorer, regular season: Nathaniel Eidsness, Saskatchewan

16U Western Conference – Girls

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

 

 

All -Star Team

Kimberly Frostad - Saskatchewan

Raha Peiravani - Pacific Storm

Ashley O'Neill - Calgary Renegades

Alia Burlock - Edmonton Tsunami

Emilia Schorr - Calgary Renegades

Brynn Jonatschick – Fraser Valley

Goalie - Cassandra Pereira - Pacific Storm

 

Top scorer, regular season: Kimberley Frostad, Saskatchewan

 

16U Eastern Conference – Boys

1. Mavericks

2. Montreal Machine

3. Ottawa Titans

4. Toronto Golden Jets

5. Dollard

6. CAMO

7. Shadow

8. St-Lambert

9. Capital Wave

10. Mavericks DS

11. South West

 

All-Star Team

Karim Abodaoud - Mavericks

Lazar Todorovic - Mavericks

Bora Kaya - Toronto Golden Jets

Leno Salamon - Montreal Machine

Alexander James - Mavericks

Thomas Sapozhnikov - Shadow

Goalie - Ethan Le - Shadow

Top goal scorer, regular season: Karim Abodaoud, Mavericks

 

16U Eastern Conference – Girls

1. CAMO

2. Dollard

3. Mavericks

4. South West Stingrays

5. Tiburon

6. Capital Wave

7. Ottawa Titans

 

All-Star Team

Sarah August - South West

Erin Van Rooyen - Mavericks

Alicia Petkov - CAMO

Nahla El Mahboubi - CAMO

Serena Brown - Dollard

Jessica Beauchemin - CAMO

Goalie - Teodora Mikic - South West

 
Top scorer, Regular season: Alicia Petkov, CAMO
 
 
 
 
 

 


 
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