Hockey: Previewing the OUA quarterfinals

Some notes on the first playoff round of OUA hockey, with three games scheduled for tonight...

Carleton vs. McGill

If the 12-13-3 Ravens fall to the 18-9-1 Redmen, somebody at the McGill Tribune will be happy: "We want another chance to get sloshed and chant about amorous relations between the Golden Gaels and sheep, so let's hope the Redmen can reel off a couple quick wins." We also learn from the Tribune that Redmen coach Martin Raymond considers the Ravens a big team who "play a very physical brand of hockey" (like most good Canadian kids).

A player to watch in this series is McGill fourth-year goalie Mathieu Poitras, who has continued his first- and second-year success while studying mechanical engineering. Not exactly a popular major among varsity athletes.

Toronto vs. Ottawa

Information on this series seems hard to come by. Then again, both teams are .500 or worse and were almost outscored by their opponents during the season. Note that Game 1 tonight is in Toronto because, as the Ottawa Citizen thinks, the Blues "[took] advantage of a rule that helps limit travel." These two teams have played twice and Toronto won both times, outshooting the Gee Gees 36-26 and 26-16.

York vs. Western

Clarke Singer, the Mustangs' coach (note: not Stinger; thank you for catching that, Tyler) told the London Free Press that he's looking forward to this series because York is pretty good: "They are very similar to us. They have great goaltending, a couple of lines that score for them. They play very, very solid defensive hockey." Singer may be selling his own team short, as Western gave up only 68 goals in the regular season, tied with Lakehead for the fewest in the West (third overall), and York has allowed 90 goals, or almost a goal per game more.

Another point in Western's favour is that their fourth-year forward Kevin Richardson is third overall in the OUA with 18 goals and 26 assists. Salvatore Peralta is not far behind with 18 and 23. Goalie Brad Topping also finds himself in the top 5 of the country in save percentage and goals against average.

Laurier vs. Waterloo

Waterloo goaltender Jimmy Bernier stopped 89.6% of the shots he faced during the season, which isn't the highest in the league, but he probably faced more shots than any other OUA goaltender whose team made the playoffs. I say "probably" because Queen's' Ryan Gibb is at 906 to Bernier's 910 and more likely than not, a four-shot difference on the OUA website is not to be trusted.

If you do believe the OUA statistics, Laurier's first-year forward Craig Voakes led the province (and the country, it looks like) with 23 goals. However, these appear to be two evenly-matched teams. Laurier won 4-1 a week ago at Waterloo and took the Warriors apart 6-3 in January at home, but those two wins only split the season series because Waterloo won 8-2 and 6-2 back in the fall.

First-Round Playoff Schedule
Unless otherwise noted, the second team listed for each matchup hosts the first and third games of the series.

Carleton vs. McGill

Game 1: Wednesday (13th), 7:00
Game 2: Friday (15th), 7:00
*Game 3: Sunday (17th), 5:00

Toronto vs. Ottawa
Game 1 at Toronto: Wednesday (13th), 7:30
Game 2 at Ottawa: Friday (15th), 7:00
*Game 3 at Ottawa: Sunday (17th), 7:00

York vs. Western
Game 1: Thursday (14th), 7:00
Game 2: Saturday (16th), 2:00
*Game 3: Sunday (17th), 7:00

Laurier vs. Waterloo
Game 1: Wednesday (13th), 7:30
Game 2: Friday (15th), 7:30
*Game 3: Sunday (17th), 7:30

* If necessary
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  1. Good stuff, Rob. Funnily enough, Queen's Athletics was offended enough by the Tribune's sheep reference to forward it to us at the Journal (although those signs are in evidence at every Queen's-McGill game, and Queen's students usually counter with stuff just as offensive). Also, on the shots question: I haven't seen Waterloo play this year, but Queen's defensive strategy (according to the coach) is to allow a lot of shots from the outside. Whether those shots are all from the outside is debatable, but Gibb certainly has to stop a lot of rubber, so I wasn't surprised by him being up there. I don't know how Waterloo is on their shot counts, but Gibb's totals are definitely a bit inflated: there was one game I was at where they somehow concluded he faced 63 shots. Thus, I don't have a problem with concluding that Bernier saw more pucks: as you mentioned, OUA statistics are always questionable though (an ongoing theme in coverage of any of their sports).

  2. Well, we sure don't need super-accurate statistics for the first Waterloo-Laurier game. The score will tell you everything you need to know; there's nothing more I can add.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. It's Clarke Singer, not Stinger.

    I expect Neate to take action on this outrageous mistake.

    And why is the travel thing in the Toronto/Ottawa series only what the Ottawa Citizen "thinks"?

    Finally, say what you will about McGill fans - but they routinely fill their arena and both cheer on and support their team - perhaps more importantly, that actually goes for their athletics department as well.

  5. Tyler: I actually wasn't sure. Toronto is seeded lower than Ottawa and I thought the higher-seeded team would have the choice of hosting Game 1 or 2, not the Blues. But my use of the word "thinks," implying that the Citizen was incorrect, was unnecessary.

    I also misread Singer as Stinger and failed to follow up further; correction made and thanks for pointing these out.

  6. Neate too sick today mistake correct.