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NCL gets 2019 off to a rolling start with 74 games held over four days in Calgary and Gatineau

Photo credit : Tracy Elliott

When we last checked in on the 16U Girls Western Conference in December, there was a historic five-team race shaping up between Calgary Renegades Black, Edmonton Tsunami, Fraser Valley, Pacific Storm, and Saskatchewan. After the 2nd Conference Tournament of the year, held in Calgary this past weekend, the race remains just as intense. The five teams above contested 11 games against each other at the Repsol Sport Centre in Calgary, and all eleven of those games were decided by four goals or less. Amazingly, eight of the eleven games were decided by two goals or less.

The Renegades Black squad recorded the best overall record in Calgary, going 4-0-1 in those close contests, and 5-0-1 overall. Their performance slingshot the Renegades up to 2nd overall in the conference, three points behind Fraser Valley. Earning one of the top two seeds in the Western Conference is a big advantage, as it gets a team a berth directly into the semi-finals and avoids the gauntlet of having to win three games in two days to qualify for the National Finals. With over a third of the season remaining, and all the five contenders still in the hunt for one of the top two seeds, the end of the season promises to be just as exciting as the start.

In the 16U Boys Western Conference, the three clubs from BC maintained their places atop the standings, however, the matches against the clubs from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were closer than during the initial tournament in Regina back in November. Saskatchewan became the first of the “interior” clubs to defeat a BC team when they defeated Pacific Storm 14-12. Saskatchewan also came within a goal of tying Fraser Valley, but the Valley squad held on 11-10 and pushed their record to a perfect 12-0-0, expanding their lead in the conference standings further. With a third of the season left, Fraser Valley has opened an 11-point lead on 2nd place West Coast Warriors and are in great position to claim the sole bye to the semi-finals at the Western Conference Championships. Doing so would leave Fraser Valley just a single victory away from qualifying for the National Finals.

Also taking place at the Repsol Sport Centre this past weekend was Western Conference play in the Major League Water Polo category. On the Women’s side, Saskatchewan booked themselves a place at the 2019 Senior National Championships by going 2-0-1 in Calgary. Saskatchewan has 21 points from nine games, clinching 1st place in the Western Conference and the 2nd overall seed at Senior Nationals. The Renegades went 2-1-0 in Calgary to also secure a berth at Senior Nationals.

In men’s play, the Calgary Torpedoes won all four of their matches against Pacific Storm to clinch first place in the Western Conference and the number three overall seed at the Senior National Championships.

The Eastern Conference also featured a major competition, as the 16 and under girls’ and boys’ squads gathered in Gatineau for a three-day competition.

The Mavericks’ boys added another three victories to their impressive streak, and are now 11-0-0 on the season, sitting 12 points ahead of 2nd place Montreal Machine. Machine had a perfect weekend as well, going 2-0-0 to improve their record to 7-0-2. Machine’s only two losses in the season were to the Mavericks, and they look like a strong bet to capture the 2nd seed at the Eastern Conference Championships.

After Mavericks and Machine, there is a list of seven teams of which any could conceivably end up as the number 3rd seed by the end of the season. The Ottawa Titans currently hold the number three spot, buoyed by a 3-0-2 record in Gatineau. Titans sit on 18 points (6-0-5) from 11 games played, but many teams behind them have several games in hand and could jump over Titans in the months ahead. The biggest mover of the weekend was no doubt Capital Wave, who went 3-2-1 at the Centre Sportif de Gatineau. Wave, who had earned just one point in their first four games, grabbed 11 points from their six games played this past weekend to jump from 11th to a tie for 5th in the standings. Owen Pilson, Adrien Wera, and Alexander Luckett served as a three-headed attack for Capital Wave over the weekend, with Pilson scoring 14 goals, and Wera and Luckett each adding 13 of their own.

After completion of the games in Gatineau, there is a three-way tie atop the 16U Eastern Conference Girls standings between CAMO, Mavericks, and South West at 24 points; however, both of South West (3 losses) and Mavericks (4 losses) have dropped games this season, while CAMO is a perfect 8-0-0. The most likely challenger for CAMO for the conference lead is the defending National Champions from Dollard, who sit three points behind CAMO, with a 7-0-1 record. Dollard and CAMO have three meetings to come this season, and it is looking more and more likely that those three games between the old rivals will determine which team gets a bye into the conference semi-finals as the #1 seed.

Water Polo Canada would like to thank the volunteers from the local Calgary clubs and the Ottawa Titans for their help in Calgary and Gatineau this weekend.

All-Star Team

16U Western Conference

GK: Jordan Blatny, West Coast Warriors / Thea Ulsamer, Calgary Renegades Black

  • Nathanial Eidsness , Saskatchewan
  • Thomas Gibson, Fraser Valley
  • Ernest Hoptioncan, Pacific Storm
  • Martina Blazevic, Pacific Storm
  • Amanda Chambers, Edmonton Tsunami
  • Emilia Schoor, Calgary Renegades Black

16U Eastern Conference

GK: Capucine Monteil, CAMO / Ethan Le, Shadow

  • Chloe Nifakis, Dollard
  • Alicia Petkov, CAMO
  • Gabrielle Patenaude, Tiburon
  • Owen Pilson, Capital Wave
  • Leno Salamon, Montreal Machine
  • Lazar Todorovic, Mavericks


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