Hockey: Figuring out who got the short straw with scheduling draw

You can bet your sweet bippy the OUA's new two-division format and unbalanced schedule will be a hot topic by the last two weeks, when teams are tooth-and-nail for playoff position.

The now 19-team league has dropped to two divisions, expanded the playoffs from 12 to 16 teams and re-emphasized conference play. Everyone will play at least 24 conference games (four former Far East teams will play 25 to make up for the odd number) with a Mardi Gras of cross-over play on the Nov. 13-14 and 20-21 weekends.

On the West side, reigning University Cup runners-up Western seem to have the toughest draw. York and Ontario Tech each have to head up to Trois-Rivières, which is no picnic.

Easiest ride? Lakehead, by far, with a two-game trip to RMC. The Thunderwolves also have play Ontario Tech four times. Windsor drew Ryerson and Queen's, who were a combined 2-14-1 in cross-overs last season.

Here is everyone's cross-over sked, in order of last season's finish (* indicates two-game series):

Laurier: McGill (h), Trois-Rivières (h), Carleton (a), Nipissing (a)
Western: Trois-Rivières (h), Concordia (h), Carleton (a), Ottawa (a)
Waterloo: Concordia (h), McGill (h), Nipissing (a), Ottawa (a)
Lakehead: U of T (h),* RMC (a).*
York: Queen's (h), RMC (h), Trois-Rivières (a), Concordia (a)
Guelph: Carleton (h), Nipissing (h), U of T (a), Ryerson (a)
Windsor: Ryerson (h),* Queen's (a)*
Brock: Nipissing (h), Ottawa (h), Ryerson (a), U of T (a)
Ontario Tech: RMC (h), Queen's (h), McGill (a), Trois-Rivières (a)
It is less clear-cut with the East, especially since the West is generally the stronger side. Its two best programs, McGill and Trois-Rivières, each have tough road opponents, as has Concordia. Carleton and Ottawa get a decent draw since their toughest cross-overs are on home ice.

Queen's two road games are both a relatively short trip and their Far West opponent, Windsor, was the odd team out last season.

Trois-Rivières: Western (a), Laurier (a), York (h), Ontario Tech (h)
McGill: Ontario Tech (h), Laurier (a), Waterloo (a)
Concordia: Waterloo (a), Western (a), York (h)
Carleton: Guelph (a), Laurier (h), Western (h)
U of T: Lakehead (a),* Guelph (h), Brock (h)
Ottawa: Brock (a), Western (h), Waterloo (h)
Queen's: York (a), Ontario Tech (a), Windsor (h).*
RMC: Ontario Tech (a), York (a), Lakehead (h)*
Ryerson: Windsor (a)*, Brock (h), Guelph (h).
Nipissing: Brock (a), Guelph (a), Waterloo (h), Laurier (h)
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