Hockey: Top 10 tracker; SMU, Western scoot up

UQTR losing to Concordia (just the Stingers' second win and the Patriotes' second loss) lets people say whatever they want to say, does it not?
  1. UNB Varsity Reds (170, all 17 first-place votes) (19-0, 11-0-0 AUS) — Shut out UPEI 2-0 on Friday.

  2. Alberta Golden Bears (153, all 17 second-place votes) (15-3, 12-1-1 CW) — Swept Calgary, 7-2 and 6-4, at home. Sean Ringrose had two goals in Friday's win.

  3. Saint Mary's Huskies (116) (11-6, 7-3-1 AUS) — Lost 3-2 at St. FX and 2-1 in OT to rejuvenated UPEI, so they'll be dropped.

  4. Western Mustangs (101) (13-3, 11-2-0 OUA-W) — Defeated Ottawa (6-4) and Carleton (5-1) to run winning skein to 11 games; they'll likely move up to No. 3 in the poll.

  5. UQTR Patriotes (96) (13-4, 11-2-0 OUA-E) — Got one-sided cross-over wins over UOIT and York (aggregate score: 13-2), but their ranking is bound to slip after that WTF 5-3 loss to last-place Concordia.

  6. Manitoba Bisons (89) (14-6, 9-3-2 CW) — Lost 3-2 in shootout to Saskatchewan, settling for three points out of a home wekend; won 5-2 on Friday.

  7. McGill Redmen (81) (12-3-1, 8-1-0 OUA-E) — Handled UOIT 5-1 at home on Friday, but were only up a goal going into the third period.

  8. Lakehead Thunderwolves (41) (11-5, 9-3-2 OUA-W) — Dropped a costly point by losing second game, 5-4 in OT, to RMC. They took out the Paladins 6-0 the first game.

  9. Acadia Axemen (36) (11-7, 9-3-0 AUS) — Pair of one-goal wins over Dalhousie, 4-3 and 3-2.

  10. Laurier Golden Hawks (24) (12-6, 9-3-1 OUA-W) — Beat Nipissing (7-3) and Carleton (5-4 shootout). Centre Jean-Michel Rizk had a three-point night and scored the shootout clincher vs. Carleton, which threw everything into scoring a last-minute game-winner.
Also receiving votes: St. Francis Xavier X-Men (18), Calgary Dinos (7), Waterloo Warriors (3).
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  1. What would a new week be without me commenting on the top 10! I like how the top looks.

    Still think UQTR is too high, although I guess you have to give them props for beating Laurier. Really do believe the comment from someone last week that travel affected UQTR and McGill in their games against Western and Laurier respectively last Friday. Trois-Rivieres must be something like a 9 - 10 hour bus trip to London. No wonder they were gassed in the 3rd period.

    Glad to see Laurier hang on to number 10. Actually find it mildly irritating that Lakehead is rated higher on the merits of 2 wins over U of T (one of which they just eeked out) vs. Laurier splitting with two priviously top 5 teams. Just watch Lakehead sweep RMC this weekend and move up some more next week!

  2. There aren't 5 teams better than Stfx in the OUA...and I hate Stfx lol. Bout time Acadia got in the top 10, but seeing as they have only lost to #1 UNB and #3 SMU, they should be much higher.

  3. The 40 point gap in voting between 7 and 8,9,10 suggests that those bottom three are bubble Top 10 teams.

    The top OUA teams all appear to have weaker opponents this week, so I wouldn't expect much change in their rankings, unless of course one of them bombs out.

  4. One of my favourite anomalies is the 2-game series in Kingston that Lakehead and Windsor each play once a season. RMC and Queen's are in the same city, how hard is it to split the trip?

  5. @Sager: I think the rationale behind the scheduling among those 4 teams is as follows. Under the previous OUA 4 division structure, Far West teams played each of the Mid East teams once per year. Except for Windsor and Lakehead, because no one goes to Thunder Bay for only one game. So what happened is that Lakehead would play two games at RMC (and not play Queen's at all) and Winsdsor would play two games at Queen's (and not play RMC at all) in year one, and then the following year RMC would play two at Windsor and Queen's two at Lakehead. So over two years, the teams would all play each other twice, just like all the other teams in both divisions. Although they could have split the Kingston trip, Windsor (say) would have ended up playing RMC 3 times over 2 years (once on the road in year 1 and twice at home in year 2) and Lakehead would have played Queen's 3 times over the same period. (I'm actually simplifying the schedule a was actually a work of art until UOIT joined the league).

    Under the new schedule that is less balanced, it's probably feasible to split the trip, but it doesn't look like the schedulers have been inclined to do that.

  6. I also don't understand how Lakehead winning 2 games (one of them very close) against Toronto is a more impressive win than Laurier absolutely destroying McGill (who are lucky they got 2 last minute goals to not end it 8-2). McGill had just come off beating Toronto 5-0. On that same note, I see that 8-10 could be considered "bubble" teams, but I cannot understand why it is not 7-10. McGill's roadtrip consisted of getting absolutely demolished by Laurier on Friday, and then winning a close one despite getting outshot the next night against Waterloo (who are currently not ranked, but still a good win). I am not sure why that gets them a large nod in front of several good teams, including the one who just killed them Friday and handed them as many goals against than their first 6 games combined.

    I also think UQTR is way too high. They got steamrolled by Western, and even in their win against Laurier, were outshot 38-24, and 19-3 in the third. Seeing as how they were outclassed by PEI in the preaseaon, even as an OUA fan, I find it hard to put them above Manitoba and teams like Acadia. Glad to see Laurier get in, but too bad St. FX dropped out. It is very close, and I am sure they will be back into that bubble region again soon.

    I also feel for SMU. They have likely solidified themselves as the number 3 team in the country, and unless they knock off UNB, will not have a chance to play at the 6 team nationals. I wish the OUA could send 2 teams when not hosting, and only the Queen's Cup winner and host when hosting.

  7. Could not agree more with the previous post, the fact that the AUS can only send one team this year is insane. I believe UNB, SMU, and ACA could beat the best the OUA has 8+ games out of 10. The comittee in charge of the breakdowns for teams needs to reevaluate based on ability and stats, not on number of schools.

    Look at last year, SMU earned their place at the Nationals, but if not for the extra pick, the team who DESERVED to and DID win would not even have been there.

    Something needs to be changed.

  8. Laurier seems to have a bit of a identity crisis. They got bombed out of the building in a 10-4 loss to Lakehead earlier in the month, then smoked Lakehead the next night 7-4.

    Neither team is as strong as the top 6 or 7 identified in the rankings, and I do believe that Lakehead has not demonstrated enough to be ranked any higher than 10. Their schedule gets tougher through December and January, and that is when we'll see if they are a Top 10 team or not.

    In the meantime, Lakehead and Laurier are both bubble teams.

  9. Basketball has contemplated holding four regionals one weekend and a Final Four the next.

    Why not in hockey? Granted, money is an object and you could be sending teams a long, long way to play one game.

  10. Not to mention how much time away from school some teams would have to miss...which is another issue that would have to be dealt with.

  11. At 12:54, other than that 10-4 loss, Laurier has been pretty consistent. Their only other losses have come against Western (4-3), Waterloo (OT), and UQTR (5-3 in a game where they were the better team, UQTR got 2 goals on 3 shots in the third). You say that they are not as strong as the top 6 or 7. They played less than a week ago against number 7, and blew them out. My argument is not that Laurier is a top 6-7, they have been put in the 8-10 range, and that is exactly where I think they belong, but if you are looking at "bubble teams," I feel that McGill or UQTR would have to be one of them if Acadia is. I saw nothing from McGill or UQTR that showed me that these teams were definatively far better than Laurier or a team like Lakehead (as the votes indicate). McGill and UQTR are certainly a great teams, but a few days after earning a blowout loss and close win against a "bubble team" and a not ranked team, I don't understand how they are THAT much ahead of the other "bubble teams," especially ones like Acadia.

  12. Neate,

    The CIS last did regionals for hockey in the seasons 1983-84, 84-85 and 85-86. I remember 83-84 when Toronto and UNB had a tough series in the Regional in Fredericton, and then Toronto cakewalked through the University Cup, hammering UQTR in a best-of-two and Concordia (!!!) in the final 9-1. Concordia has upset Alberta in their best-of-two.

    I don't want to revisit best-of-twos, and remembering the last Final Four in Toronto in 1997, that was a lot of travelling for Alberta to be upset in one game by UNB in the semi-final and then head home ...

  13. You nailed it. We're pretty much stuck with six teams, host berth, 4 division/conf. winners and a designated wild card. Perhaps the wild card should be revisited; the women's tourney gives it to the conference which produced the previous national champion.

    Ironically, wouldn't that have kept UNB (AUS runner-up) home last season and have resulted in an extra spot for the AUS this season?

  14. Those of you who didn't believe UQTR's record and feel they are overated will feel redeemed this morning. The Pats lost last night to the previously 1-9 Stingers. Ouch! (pun intended)

  15. The whining about the teams going to The Nationals is getting old. Until someone can suggest a better and objective solution, the current format makes sense. Lets see what we have:

    Each conference champ gets a seed. Hard to argue with that.

    Another seed goes to the OUA finalist. Lets think about this for a minute. The OUA gets 2 seeds because it is effectively two leagues - Quebec and Ontario - not simply because they have the most teams. If and when Quebec reestablishes a QUAA league, I expect they will take the Nationals seed with them.

    Another seed goes to a wildcard. This gets rotated annually through each of the conferences. Hard to argue with that, given that the the logistics around a pre-Nationals national playoff is impractical. In fact, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that the OUA get the wildcard every second year because it is made up of two leagues (I'm not advocating this, just follow my logic).

    Finally, the host team gets a seed. The CIS has determined that rotating the tournament around and including a host team is the best way to market their product, so again, it's hard to argue.

    The comment above about UNB "deserving" to be there last year is crap. If they won the AUS championship they "deserved" to be there. They didn't, but it was their lucky year because the AUS had the good for them. They absolutely deserved to win the CIS championship based on their play in that tournament.

    Personally, I'd rather see each conference champion go, plus a wildcard based on a three team tournament involving the runner-up from each of the conferences. But that's not going to happen.

    Does it happen that the 6 best teams in the country don't make it to the Nationals? You bet...probably the case every year. But you could make the same case about the Vanier Cup. For all we know, Montreal was the second best team in the country. Who knows how they would have done if they didn't have to go through Laval. But they did have to, and that's just the way it is university sports in this country.

  16. Play it like the Allan Cup tournament format - that's the answer. The schools wont't go for it because they will say that students can't miss that much school, when in reality they would only miss a few more days than they do with the current format.

  17. Missing a couple more days in late March (ie/ just before final exams) is pretty significant though..IMO anyways.

  18. "The comment above about UNB "deserving" to be there last year is crap."

    WOW, talking about smelly comments, I agree they deserved to be there, and the fact that the guy expressed that the current way of doing this is broken is true.

    If you are not from the OUA, you should be cause your way would see them have most of the teams in the finals cause they have two leagues. SO WHAT, they have weaker teams, period. Accept it.

    Or don't, but don't say somebody elses comments are crap, cause yours don't smell so good!!!

  19. IMO Calgary is under-rated. They have splits with Alberta and Manitoba and once they make up games in hand could be in the running for a top 2 placing in the 2nd half.

    I do not believe that there should be more than 3 OUA teams in the top 10, based on what I have seen of them in the nationals and exhibition games against the AUS and CW.