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NCL Recap November-December
With over 200 games played across the country so far, the National Championship League season is now well underway. This season marks the biggest entry of teams in NCL history with 85 teams over three age categories. This season has also seen great parity across the league as many teams that finished lower in the standings last year have come out strong to start the season. The 16U and 19U age categories in each conference have begun their sea sons over the course of the last two months with Etobicoke, Markham, Montreal, Regina and Surrey hosting many of these games.
T he 16U age category in the East started the season off and since, has seen some exciting games. On the boy’s side the defending champion Mavericks are again seen as favourites as they had not lost a game in over 4 years. They sit atop the standings in the East but have faced some challenges. In Montreal, the Montreal Machine played Mavericks to a 10-10 draw. Even with the tie, it was still looking like the Mavericks would continue their streak until the tournament in Etobicoke, where the Ottawa Titans Black shocked the defending champions by defeating them 15-8. The Mavericks would return the favour and win 13-9 the next day to stay on top of the standing but the weekend showed just how close other teams are to the Mavericks. As of now the leading scorer in the conference is Mahmoud Rouby who has amassed a stunning total of 56 goals in just 10 games. Behind Mavericks in the standings, Ottawa Titans Black, Montreal Machine and Shadow are all within striking distance as they only have two losses between the three of them. This season is looking like it will be a fight to the finish for the conference.
On the girl’s side, Dollard Black has come out hard as they have gone 7-0 over the course of the last 2 months. They have looked incredibly strong as they have already scored 118 goals in those seven games while only averaging less than five goals against per game. The stats are looking good for Dollard as well as Serena Browne leads the conference in goals with 29 with 21 assists also which puts her point total to 50. They will have some challenges to be sure as the KW Kraken have come out hot as well. The Kraken are 5-0 with Sarah Alexander leading the way with 28 goals on the season. The Kraken won last years 14U National Championship and some girls like Sarah Alexander and goalie Mabel Gibson were part of that team. The Mavericks have also shown promise as they have started the season 4-1 and have a strong goalie Ryleigh Kay, who leads the conference in goals against average and save percentage. The season is young and a lot can still happen between now and April.
In the Western conference, the 16U Girls conference is still highly competitive. Defending National Champion, Fraser Valley continued where they left off by going undefeated over 7 games with a 6-1-0 record. Sarah Portas leads the way with 36 goals and 11 assists which put her number one in points. Saskatchewan sits in the second spot with a 5-1 record with their only loss coming against Fraser Valley. Simone Lapierre has been stellar in net as she has one of the best GAA and save percentage in the conference. In third sits Pacific Storm. The Storm put a scare in Fraser Valley, tying them 17-17 in Surrey. The game was a back and forth affair with goals leader Raha Peiravana scoring 5 times in the game. There have not been many games in the West so far, so the standings can shift very quickly.
In the Boy’s conference, defending conference champion, West Coast Warriors have not lost and have looked strong in their outings. So far in six games, they have scored over 100 goals and have only allowed 37. Goaltender Nichita Maltev has looked phenomenal as he has a goals against average of less than 4 as well as the highest save percentage in the conference. He however does not lead the league in saves which is a testament to the strength of the team’s defence which has not allowed many shots. Tied alongside them are the Calgary Torpedoes who are a surprise this year as they did not have a team in the NCL last year. The Torpedoes are also undefeated and have walked away with some heart stopping wins. In their first 3 games, they won each game by only one goal. After those games, they started to pick up steam as they would win the next 3 games by a combined score of 47-22. The close games they had can also be seen as a positive for the teams sitting below them in the standings as there is still an opportunity to move up.
The 19U Men’s conference in the East has turned out to be the most competitive conference in the NCL. After two months, there are four teams with only six points separating one from four. Dollard is on top at 8-1. Justin Côté has been playing well as he leads the conference with 56 points. Dollard will have a lot of teams to look out for as many are right at their heels including Ottawa Titans Black, who handed Dollard a 15-9 loss. The Titans’ Ethan Young has played well in net with a conference leading 6.00 GAA. They are 5-1 on the season, with their one loss being a 16-10 game against undefeated Mavericks. The Mavericks are 6-0 and sit second in the conference. Many of these players come from the club’s 16U teams that won back-back National Championships which gives them a lot of experience coming into the season. It has been a team effort as no players lead the league in points or goals, but they have still been winning. In the fourth spot is Montreal Machine which sits at 5-2. They have Leno Salamon who leads the conference in goals with 43. Their team, like the Mavericks are also made up of the former 16U players from the strong Montreal Machine teams of the past couple of years. It will definitely take some time for the standings to become more clear.
On the Women’s side Dollard Black has been on fire. They sit atop the standings at 7-0 with a point differential of almost +90. The stat line has been looking good for them as well as 4 of the 5 top goal scorers and points leaders are from DDO. In the top 5 in goals, Casey Taylor leads with 24, Nadia Martyniuk is not far behind with 23, Rose Kanemy sits in third with 18 goals and Serena Browne is in fifth with 16 goals. They will be tough to beat but there are teams ready to try and overtake them in the standings. First is new South Central Ontario. This team has had strong goaltending so far this year with Teodora Mikic and Hana Truchla both playing exceptionally well. Right beside South Central Ontario is defending National Champion CAMO. CAMO’s Alicia Petkov sits in the top 5 for goal scorers and has also played two less games than Dollard. CAMO has won four of the last five National Championships so they can never be counted out.
Moving to the Western Conference, the 19U Women’s side has continued to be highly competitive as no team seems to have the distinct advantage just yet. Edmonton Tsunami sits on top with a 4-1-1 record but are followed close behind by Saskatchewan 3-1-2, Pacific Storm 2-0, Calgary Renegades 2-1-3 and Fraser Valley 1-1-6. Every team has shown that they can compete with one another as Fraser Valley was able to hold on to tie the Tsunami while the Renegades were able to draw with Saskatchewan. Paige Donald of Saskatchewan leads the conference in goals with 16 but like the standings, the top five is very close with number five Emilia Schorr of Renegades only two goals back of Donald. This conference looks unpredictable with teams most likely going back and forth from the top spot all the way until the end of the season.
On the Men’s side things are looking just as close. On top, is defending National Champion Saskatchewan with a 5-1 record. Nathanial Eidsness has helped power Saskatchewan with 37 goals and 45 points in six games. Not far behind Saskatchewan are the West Coast Warriors who handed Saskatchewan their only loss of the season. So far the Warriors have flipped the script from last season as they finished dead last in the conference the year previous. This year, the Warriors sit at 5-1-2 and have a good chance of challenging Saskatchewan for the conference crown. Sitting just behind the Warriors with only three games played is Pacific Storm who so far are undefeated. Tyler James has played well in net and leads most goalie stat categories. His play has helped the Storm out to a 3-0 record and within striking distance of first place. With teams so close together in the standings a West Crossover win would be huge as it would give the West an extra spot at National Finals.
Water Polo Canada would especially like to thank the host clubs from Etobicoke, Markham, Montreal, Regina, Richmond and Surrey. Water Polo Canada would also like to thank all the volunteers that have helped during our events so far this year.


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