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NCL Playoffs continue with the 16U Conference Championships

(Credit : Monique Dykstra) 
16U Eastern Conference Championships

With the 2018-2019 NCL regular season now over, the focus shifts to the Conference Championships. This weekend, the 16U Conference Championships will take place, with the Eastern Championships being held at the Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa. With only the top two teams from the boys’ and girls’ divisions qualifying for National Finals, every team will need to perform at their best in order to qualify.

Dollard are the defending National and Conference champions on the girls’ side and will be looking for their third straight conference title. They had another good season this year going 14-1-3 putting them in second place behind CAMO.

CAMO had a fantastic regular season as their potent offence scored more than 300 goals, helping the team to a 17-1-0 record and clinching a spot in the semi-finals. The only tie came from their rival Dollard so if the two face each other again, it should be an exciting game.

Behind CAMO and Dollard, newcomer South West Stingrays, as well as Mavericks, have shown that they can compete with the top teams. South West comes in as the #3 seed while Mavericks come in as the #4 seed. They will have a difficult road as they must get through tough quarter-final matchups before possible games against CAMO and Dollard in the semi-finals.

Tiburon, Capital Wave, and the Ottawa Titans round out the girls’ standings, and these clubs will be looking to peak at just the right time in order to upset the status quo.

On the boys’ side, Mavericks continue to be heavy favourites as they finished another season undefeated. The Mavericks unbeaten streak has continued to grow as it has reached 67 games over three seasons. It will be a tough task to defeat Mavericks as no team has come within than five goals of them over the regular season. They will start the weekend with a first-round bye and will face the victor of the Capital Wave and St-Lambert match.

Sitting in second is Montreal Machine who will be looking to improve on their silver medal performance from last year’s conference championships. Machine had a strong regular season with there only loses coming against Mavericks, making them the odds-on favourite to secure the 2nd spot at the National Finals. Their defence was the story this year as they allowed less than 6 goals a game. Machine also has a first-round bye and will wait to play the victor of the CAMO and Mavericks DS match.

In third place, the Ottawa Titans are coming into the championships on a hot streak. They started the season 6-5 and were sitting in the middle of the standings in February. Since then, however, the Titans have gone undefeated and finished the regular season 13-5. They will face off against the winner of the Shadow and South West match. This Titans squad want to be the first to ever qualify for the NCL National Finals from their club.

The only quarter-final that is already set is the 4 vs. 5 game. Dollard and Toronto Golden Jets were close in the standings with the Golden Jets defeating Dollard in their only meeting. Like the Ottawa Titans, both the Golden Jets and Dollard had a slow start to the season but got hot at the right time to move up the standings. The teams were close in almost every statistical category, so this game has all the makings of a tight one.

In all, 28 games will be played this weekend in Nepean as 18 teams vie for the four available berths at the National Finals. It should be a fantastic weekend of water polo.

16U Western Conference Championships

The16U Western Conference Championships will be played this weekend at the Repsol Sport Centre in Calgary. As with the Eastern Championships happening simultaneously in Ottawa, only the top two teams from the boys’ and girls’ divisions will qualify for National Finals.

Pacific Storm is the defending Conference Champion on the both boys’ and girl’s side and will be looking to top two very competitive fields to repeat as champs.

In the boys’ division, the number one seed is Fraser Valley, who come into the tournament undefeated. They will get a bye into the semi-finals and will face the winner of the Saskatchewan and Calgary Wild match.

The West Coast Warriors enter the tournament as the second seed and will face off against seventh seeded Manitoba. The West Coast Warriors have one of the top goaltenders in the league in Niko Brkich and will be looking to qualify for the their 2nd consecutive 16U National Finals.

Defending conference champion and third seed Pacific Storm will be facing off against the sixth seeded Mako Tsunami. The Storm have not lost to Mako Tsunami all year, but all records are reset in the playoffs and nothing is guaranteed.

Fourth seeded Saskatchewan and fifth seeded Calgary Wild will face off against one another to see who will face Fraser Valley in the semi-finals. Saskatchewan has beaten Calgary Wild three times this season but all of them were relatively close games and Wild will be hoping to use their home town support to go on a magical playoff run.

In the girls’ division, there is no heavy favourite as the top five teams have all defeated each other over the course of an incredibly competitive season. The points are also extremely close as well with only a few points separating first and third.

Fraser Valley and defending champion Pacific Storm earned a big advantage based on their regular season play, as by finishing as the top two seeds, they earned a spot in the “1 vs 2 game” with a spot in Sunday’s final and a berth in the National Finals on the line. The loser will also have a 2nd shot at the National Finals as they will play in Saturday’s semi-final. The teams split the season series 2-2 with most games being decided by just a few goals so the game should be considered a true toss-up.

The first game will have Calgary Renegades Black facing Edmonton Tsunami. The Renegades started off hot as they were sitting in first place in January. However, after February they lost 6 of their last 7 to fall to fourth including a loss to Tsunami. They have beaten Tsunami three out of four times this season and will be hoping that pattern continues for one more game.

The second game features Saskatchewan and Calgary Renegades Gold. Saskatchewan got hot at the end of the year to jump into third place. They also have the top scorer in Kimberly Frostad who scored 89 goals during the regular season. The winner of the Saskatchewan-Renegades Gold game will face the winner of Renegades Black – Tsunami for a spot in the semi-finals.

Admission is free at the Repsol Sport Centre for the 16U Western Conference Championship so please come out and support these incredible young athletes as they attempt to qualify for the National Finals.

Please see the NCL schedule for full details about the 16U Conference Championships.



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