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Field Set for National Finals after 16 and under Eastern Conference Championships in Montreal

The final four spots at the 2018 16U and 19U National Finals have been clinched after this past weekend’s 16U Eastern Conference Championship in Montreal. Dollard Black won the girls’ title, and Mavericks took home the boys’ championship as both teams defending their titles from the 2017 season.

Dollard Black went a perfect 18-0-0 during the regular season, earning themselves a bye straight to the semi-finals. They would face the winner of the quarter-final match between Mavericks and KW Inferno. In the quarter-finals, Mavericks opened the scoring in the first with the only goal of the quarter. They would never look back as they would go on to win the game 8-1. Erin Van Rooyen and Antonija Jakova led the way as they combined for over half the team’s goals.

In the semi-final game against Mavericks, Dollard Black’s faced their toughest test of the season so far. Despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the game’s first three minutes, Dollard could not shake the Mavericks loose like so many of their previous opponents. For the next two and a half quarters, the game was played at a standstill, with both teams scoring three goals and DDO maintaining their margin of three goals at 6-3. With the fourth quarter fast approaching, Dollard was facing a real challenge from the Mavericks. Dollard wouldn’t shy away from the fight however, as their defense put the clamps on the Mavericks the rest of the way. The offense adding three more goals to record a 9-3 win and earn a spot in both the Gold Medal Game and the National Finals.

On the other side of the draw, second-seeded Capital Wave faced off against seventh-seeded Dollard Gold in the quarter finals. Capital Wave would score the first four goals of the game and would not look back from there, recording a 16-5 win. Lashyn Ahmad, Jane Howes and Mackenzie Greco were fantastic up front, as they combined for 12 goals in the game.

In the next semi-final, Capital Wave would have to face perennial contender CAMO, who had defeated St-Lambert 12-6 in the other quarter-final. CAMO had earned a place in every previous Eastern Conference Final so Wave knew they faced a tall task. Wave could take heart in the fact they the had won the series against CAMO 2-1 during the regular season. All three of those games were decided by two goals or less, so a tight game was the expectation; and the expectation would match reality on this occasion.

In the first three quarters of the game, CAMO would on three instances take the lead, only to see Capital Wave tie it back up. In the fourth quarter, Wave was able to take their first lead at 4-3 courtesy of a Mackenzie Greco goal; but, this time it was CAMO that would come back right, tying the score with 1:13 to play on a power play goal by Kim Laberge. Capital Wave would earn their own power play with 33 seconds to play and Jane Howes was able to break the deadlock by scoring her first goal of the game. CAMO could not find the equalizer in the dying seconds as Capital Wave would hold on to win the game 5-4 and qualify for National Finals.

In the bronze medal game, CAMO and Mavericks would face off in a highly competitive match. Mavericks would score first and would build on their early goal to outscore CAMO 5-1 after 17 minutes of game time. CAMO would flip the switch after the fifth Mavericks goal, and cheered on by their hometown fans, would score four unanswered goals to tie the game. The teams would each trade a goal in the fourth which kept the game tied 6-6 at the end of regulation. A shootout would be needed to determine the bronze. The first two shooters from each team scored on their attempts, followed by the third shooters for both teams missing on their chances. After another round of goals for both teams, CAMO’s Nora El Mahboubi scored her team’s tenth goal and when the Mavericks’ last shooter could not beat goalie Torie Bouchard-Côté, CAMO had clinched the bronze.

The gold medal game was just as close as the bronze medal game. After facing a strong test from Mavericks in the semi-finals, Dollard Black’s game against Capital Wave was the first time the conference leaders were in jeopardy of losing all season. The game went back and forth in the early quarters, with both teams holding leads. The game was knotted at four-all in the fourth quarter when DDO’s powerplay would become the difference maker. Nadia Martyniuk would put home two goals on the PP to finally provide Dollard with a little breathing room. Capital Wave would get one back in the game’s final minute, but Dollard was able to run out the clock without giving Wave another possession. The 6-5 win gave Dollard back to back conference championships.

On the boys’ side, thirteen teams were competing for the two available spots at the National Finals. The early games mostly went according to script as the higher seeded teams won every game in the first and second rounds. St-Lambert (fourth inQuebec), Shadow (third in Ontario), Hamilton (fourth in Ontario) and CAMO (third in Quebec) emerged from the preliminary rounds to challenge the top four seeds who had received byes into the quarter-finals.

The quarter-finals also played out as the seedings dictated. Mavericks, the top ranked team in the Ontario Division, continued their two season long undefeated streak by besting St-Lambert 16-6. In the next quarter-final match, Dollard Black (second in Quebec) faced Shadow. Despite spending more time in the exclusion box then DDO may have liked, the Dollard squad was able to record a comfortable 19-9 victory. Justin Côté lead the way for Dollard Black, scoring six goals to counter a strong four goal performance from Shadow’s Aiden Masters.

The third quarter-final match featured undefeated Montreal Machine (first in Quebec) and Hamilton. Hamilton would take the lead by scoring the opening goal of the game, but the Machine responded with seven straight goals to ensure no upset would take place. The final would be 13-2 Machine.

In the last quarter-final game the Ottawa Titans (second in Ontario) faced CAMO. This game was expected to be the most tightly contested quarter-final; and so it was. The Titans jumped to an early lead after scoring four straight goals in the first quarter; however, CAMO would answer right back with four unanswered goals of their own to tie the game. The half came at a perfect time for Ottawa, who were able to regroup during the intermission. Titans started the third quarter much like the first, scoring another four answered goals to reclaim their four-goal cushion. This time, CAMO could not complete the comeback and they would fall 11-6.

The semi-final matchups looked dynamic. Mavericks and Dollard Black would face off in one semi-final, with the result of their only regular season matchup having been a draw. The other semi-final featured Montreal Machine vs. Ottawa Titans, and their only regular season matchup was a one goal win for Machine.

In the first semi-final between Mavericks and DDO, only one thing was certain: this match would not end in a draw. The match was fantastic from start to finish. A great crowd was on hand to watch a game that featured a little bit of everything: great saves, blistering shots, defensive magic. The theme of the game was Mavericks gaining a small advantage on Dollard, only to watch Dollard come back time and time again. In three separate occasions in the second half, Mavericks scored to take a lead, only to see DDO respond with the equalizer. The second half also featured the teams’ respective top goals scorers, Mavericks’ Patrick Almasi and Dollard’s Justin Côté going head to head to try and get their team over the finish line. Côté would score of three of his team-high five goals in the second half to keep DDO close, but he was slightly outdone by Almasi, who would score four of his game-high seven goals in the second half to give Mavericks the slight edge. It was Almasi’s goal at 3:13 of the fourth quarter that provided Mavericks with the marker that would stand up to be the winner in the 14-12 Mavericks victory.

Next up was Machine versus Titans. The game started off for Machine much the same way as their quarter-final against Hamilton, with the Titans scoring the first goal of the game, only to see Machine respond with a string of goals of their own. On this occasion, it was four straight markers that put Machine ahead 4-1. Unlike the quarter-final however, Titans were not undone by this early Machine run. Led by four goals from Ethan Young, Ottawa were able to slowly reel Machine in, closing to within one goal with just under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Titans, just as the momentum seemed like it was going to push them over the top, the top goal scorer in the Eastern Conference had his say. Leno Salamon would add two goals in the final minutes to provide the all-important insurance markers for Machine. The 10-7 victory assured Machine back to back trips to the National Finals.

The bronze medal game was another tight contest, as the Ottawa Titans and Dollard Black looked to bounce back from their semi-final defeats to close out their season with a win. The game was similar to the Titans-Machine semi-final, with Dollard Black taking the early initiative, and Titans working all game to claw back from behind. Dollard led 10-6 entering the fourth quarter, only to see Ottawa score five of the next seven goals to cut the lead to 12-11 with two minutes to play. Ottawa would then earn a power play with a chance to tie the game, but on this occasion were unable to find the back of the net, and Dollard came away as the bronze medallists.

The gold medal game was up next and featured a matchup of two undefeated teams playing for the title. The 2017-2018 NCL season is only the second ever for the Montreal Machine, but they are quickly building a budding rivalry with Mavericks. The teams met in the 2017 Eastern Championships game, and played to a tie in their only regular season matchup in 2018. The 2018 Eastern Final would be one more classic between the clubs. As a sublot, the game also featured the top two goal scorers in the conference, Leno Salamon and Patrick Almasi, who had over 200 goals between them.

It was a game of momentum swings. Just as one team appeared to be gaining the upper hand, their opponents would upend the dynamic. During the course of the entire game, there were a total of four lead changes and seven ties. After a tight first quarter, Mavericks jumped to the lead in the second, outscoring Machine 5-3 to take a 7-5 lead at the break. A late goal by Leno Salamon (with just six seconds remaining) would be an important momentum swinger for Machine. Montreal would build on that goal early in the third quarter and turn what was a three goal Mavericks lead into an 8-7 Machine advantage. Machine would keep Mavericks at bay for rest of the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter, never trailing at any point; however, Machine were unable to put Mavericks away, and eventually Mavericks were able to take advantage. Trailing 11-9 with five minutes to play, the Mavericks’ defense began to assert itself, and Patrick Almasi, Lazar Todorovic, and Konstantinos Athanasiou would score three unanswered goals to give Mavericks the lead back at 12-11. Almasi, Todorovic and Athanasiou actually combined to score all twelve of the Mavericks goals in the game. Athanasiou’s marker came with just 1:25 to play, so Machine only had a couple of opportunities to try and tie the game. The Mavericks defense would hold firm as it had done for most of the fourth quarter and Mavericks would clinch their second consecutive 16U Boys Eastern Conference title by a score of 12-11. The Mavericks also extended their undefeated streak to 45 games.

Water Polo Canada would especially like to thank the volunteers from CAMO and Claude-Robillard for the help in hosting the 16U Eastern Conference Championships.

Final Standings

16U Girls

  1. Dollard Black
  2. Capital Wave
  3. CAMO
  4. Mavericks
  5. KW Inferno
  6. Saint-Lambert
  7. Dollard Gold

16U Girls - All – Star Team

  • Rose Kanemy, DDO
  • Casey Taylor, DDO
  • Nahla El Mahboubi, CAMO
  • Gabrielle Patenaude, Saint-Lambert
  • Mackenzie Greco, Capital Wave
  • Emmanuelle Laflamme, DDO
  • Nadia Martyniuk, DDO
  • Goalie: Hana Truchla, Mavericks

Top Goal Scorers in the regular season: Rose Kanemy & Casey Taylor, DDO (71 goals)

16U Boys

  • Mavericks Water Polo Club
  • Montreal Machine
  • DDO Black
  • Ottawa Titans
  • CAMO
  • Shadow
  • Hamilton
  • Saint-Lambert
  • KW Inferno
  • Capital Wave
  • Toronto Golden Jets
  • Laval
  • Dollard Gold

All-Star Team

  • Patrick Almasi, Mavericks
  • Leno Salomon, Montreal Machine
  • Justin Côté, DDO
  • Lazar Todorovic, Mavericks
  • Simon Fabisiak, Ottawa Titans
  • Ethan Young, Ottawa Titans
  • Goalie: Alexander Zaharkevich, Montreal Machine

Top goal scorer in the regular season : Leno Salamon, Montreal Machine (102 goals). 


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