Martlets may be out of their league

This is a hard sell, but if you look past the standings, CIS women's hockey is getting a bit more competitive.

The league has made to the holiday break (save for a couple games to be played today) with only one double-digit score, an 11-1 win Moncton rang up over Mount Allison back in October.

That is noteworthy. As a developing sport, with a lot of programs that are less than 10 years old, lopsided scores have been a reality for the women's game. Two years ago, for instance, there were 15 games where a team scored 10 or more goals. So it's getting better -- or maybe the top teams have decided it's bad form to score 10 goals when six will do.

The operative words are look past the standings. The traditional way of following sports (albeit one developed by men) is that you watch a game since you don't know who's going to win.

Coming from that perspective, it's hard to be interested in the regular season, especially living in Ottawa, as I do. Top-ranked McGill, which has Olympian Charline Labonté in goal and national women's team coach Peter Smith behind the bench, stands out as a team that's just that far removed from its league opponents. McGill has the means to invest well in women's hockey, and evidently, it has done so.

The Martlets (10-0-0) stand out since they have a 48-5 goal differential and, of course, play in a four-team Quebec conference where everyone else is below .500. They've won seven games by shutout, been given up two goals in a game only once and have trailed for all of 10 minutes 21 seconds in their league games.

How do you put time into following a league that lopsided, though? Unless you have family or friends playing right now, it's hard to muster an interest, and this is coming from someone who is curious about the women's game, what with having a mom and sister who are heavily into the game.

McGill will get a better indicator of where it stands at a holiday tournament at the end of this month where it faces No. 2 Alberta, No. 4 Laurier and No. 8 Guelph.

Martlets keep rolling over opponents (Randy Phillips, Montreal Gazette)
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  1. In the 10-team OUA seven points separate fourth from ninth. And the 10th-place team is an "expansion team." Three teams are tied with 15 points. Windsor, which never made the OUA final four last season, would if playoffs started today.
    Seems pretty competitive to me.

  2. Exactly.... that was the point of the whole post, it's got a lot better top to bottom, if you look past a couple top teams that are getting most of the (limited) media attention.

  3. On the CanadaWest side, it's much more competitive as well. Look at Alberta—they lost to UBC at home this year, and are tied for CW first with the Bisons.
    Everybody's catching up, and it's exciting.