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Pacific Storm wins double gold at 14U Western National Finals.

Pacific Storm’s 14 and under girls’ and boys’ teams were crowned Western National Champions after capturing gold at the 2018 Western National Finals on Sunday in Edmonton. The victories add to a record season in western conference play for Storm, who have now won gold in the 14U boys and girls categories and 16U boys and girls categories, to go with the silver in 19U men’s, and bronze in 19U women’s play.

The Pacific Storm 14U girls were going for their third straight 14U Western National Championship and came out of the gates at the tournament looking strong. During Friday’s two round robin games, Storm was able to record comfortable victories over their opponents. Against the Calgary Mako in their opener, Storm took early control by opening the game with five straight goals. They would continue the fast pace, adding twelve more goals to win the game 17-2. It was more of the same against the Regina Armada, with Storm once again scoring early on in the game to jump to a lead, this time on their way to a 15-4 win. Raha Peiravani had a strong start in the tournament; she led Pacific Storm through the first two games scoring twelve goals.

On Saturday, they finished the round robin a perfect 3-0-0 with an 18-2 win against the Alberta provincial champions Calgary Renegades. Raha Peiravani and Sarah Feng were on fire in this game as they combined for twelve of the team’s eighteen goals. Things would get tougher for Storm in the semi-final as they faced off against Prairie Team from Saskatchewan. The Prairie Team did their best to keep up with the Storm as their own Mikayla Hack scored four goals on the tough Pacific Storm defense. The key to the game was the first quarter in which Storm used one of their patented strong starts to open up a 4-0 lead. Prairie Team would play Storm level the rest of the game, but simply could not overcome the four goal hole from the start of the game.

In the other half of the bracket, another British Columbia team was having an undefeated tournament as well, with Fraser Valley finishing in top spot in their pool and facing off against the Calgary Renegades in the semi-final. Valley used a fantastic defense effort and strong goaltending from Katrina Bos to hold the Renegades to 1 goal over the first 27 minutes of the game. Renegades would add two goals in the final minute, but Fraser Valley had a five-goal margin to spare at the point, and advanced to the final with a 6-3 win.

In the bronze medal game, the Calgary Renegades faced off against Prairie Team in quite possibly the game of the tournament. The teams dueled to a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation tie, with the tying goal for Renegades coming courtesy of Jasmine Rosehart with just one minute to play. With the score leveled, a shootout would decide the game. Prairie Team opened up the shootout with a goal from Morgan Krueger, but Renegades would respond as Jasmine Rosehart, Genevieve Bland and Ava Stotz who would all score on their attempts while Calgary netminder Sasha Hicks would not let another goal past her, securing the bronze for Renegades with a 6-4 win.

The gold medal game would pit undefeated Pacific Storm against undefeated Fraser Valley. The game stayed close for the first three quarters as Fraser Valley would continue to fight back against the Storm with Alexis Aujla chipping in her team high, three goals. However, in the fourth, Pacific Storm would run away with the game outscoring Fraser Valley 4-1 in the quarter. Leading scorer Raha Peiravani continued her dominant tournament performance with another five goals in the game. The Storm would go on to win the game 12-7 and take home their third straight 14U Girls Western National Championship.

On the boys’ side, Pacific Storm would also be led by a strong offence. In their first two games of the round robin, they defeated Team Manitoba 14-2 and the Calgary Seawolves 17-3. In both games, at least eight different players scored a goal, a good demonstration of Storm’s depth. In the last round robin game, the offence and defense worked together seamlessly, as they defeated the Calgary Destroyers 13-0 and finished the round robin 3-0-0. The offence continued the pattern of previous games as they had nine different players scoring at least a goal. Goaltender Evan Siu as well as the Pacific Storm defense played phenomenally as they only allowed 5 goals in the three round robin games.

The semi-final game pitted Storm against fellow BC representative Fraser Valley. Fraser Valley was able to find some seams in the Storm defense for the first time in the competition, putting eight goals into the back of the net; however, Valley was unable to slow down Storm in the other end of the pool. Joel Blanco was the key player in the game, with his six goals providing the difference in Storm’s 13-8 victory.

Just as in the girls’ competition, another BC team lead the other side of the bracket. Spartans also finished 3-0-0 in their pool and were pitted against the Calgary Seawolves in the second semi-final of the day. Jacob Lucci led the way for the Spartans, recording a hat trick in the first quarter, helping his team take a 4-1 lead. Spartans kept their pace for most of the game to record a 14-4 win for a place in the Championship game.

In the bronze medal game, Fraser Valley would defeat the Calgary Seawolves by a score of 12-8. Fraser Valley had a strong start, taking a five-goal lead after the first half (7-2). The game was much closer in the second half with Calgary outscoring Valley six goals to five, but the half time deficit was too much to overcome. Alexander Preocanin and Nicholas Robson led Valley’s offence in this game as they combined for half of Fraser Valley’s total goals.

In the gold medal game, Pacific Storm faced off against the undefeated Spartans. Spartans had finished ahead of Pacific Storm in the BC Provincial League, so Storm was looking to flip the script in the Western Finals’ Championship Game. Pacific Storm would face an additional challenge early in the championship game: being forced to play from behind for the first time all tournament. Mateo Curak and Jacob Lucci had opened the scoring for the Spartans, staking them to a 2-0 lead. The early Spartans lead would hold up for the entire first quarter and for the first four minutes of the second as it looked like the Spartans might be the team to finally solve the Storm attack. In a credit to Pacific Storm’s coaching staff and players composure though, while the offense was struggling, the defense held firm for Storm, and they did not allow Spartans to expand their lead. As the 2nd quarter wound down, Storm’s offense came to life at last, scoring three goals in the last two and half minutes to grab a lead at the half. The momentum had clearly shifted and from the swim ball to start the 2nd half, Storm would be in control for the rest of the game. Spartans were unable to muster any more goals on offense and Storm slowly but surely pressed their advantage and extended their lead. The final score would be 9-2 as Pacific Storm captured their first ever 14 and under and boys’ gold medal.

Thanks to all who attended the 14U Western National Finals at the Kinsmen Center in Edmonton, Alberta. Water Polo Canada would especially like to thank host clubs Edmonton Tsunami and Edmonton Thunderbirds, as well as Alberta Water Polo for their help in hosting the 2018 14U Western National Championships. A special note of thanks also goes out to the Saanich Water Polo School for providing the live stream equipment at the 14U Western National Finals. 

Final Standings

14U Girls

  1. Pacific Storm Blue
  2. Fraser Valley
  3. Calgary Renegades
  4. Prairie Team
  5. Regina Armada
  6. Tsunami Bears
  7. Calgary Mako
  8. Pacific Storm Black

Most Valuable Defensive Player : Alexis Aujla, Fraser Valley
Most Valuable Goalie: Sasha Hicks, Calgary Renegades
Most Valuable Coach: Marie Anderson, Fraser Valley
Most Valuable Player: Raha Peiravani, Pacific Storm Blue

14U Boys
  1. Pacific Storm
  2. Spartans
  3. Fraser Valley
  4. Calgary Seawolves
  5. Prairie Team
  6. Calgary Destroyers
  7. Calgary Wild
  8. Manitoba

Most Valuable Defensive Player: Joel Blanco, Pacific Storm
Most Valuable Goalie: Brandeau Botica, Fraser Valley
Most Valuable Coach: Sam Donoghue, Pacific Storm
Most Valuable Player: Jacob Lucci, Spartans



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