Hockey: Top 10 tracker; UNB extended to OT; Lakehead bounces back big-time

UNB survives a scare and the Nos. 7-8-9 teams\all lost to unranked foes, so there will be some shake-up in the bottom half of the poll. Laurier coach Kelly Nobes also flipped his lid after a 10-4 loss at Lakehead, getting a gross misconduct, which typically triggers an automatic suspension:
  1. UNB Varsity Reds (180) (16-0, 8-0-0 AUS) — Easy 5-1 road win at Dalhousie on Saturday.

    Alex Aldred pulled out a tough 4-3 overtime win at St. FX on Friday. The X-Men had the lead with less than five minutes to play before Luke Gallant equalized.

  2. Alberta Golden Bears (152) (11-3, 8-1-1 CW) — Swept UBC 6-2 and 8-1; at Lethbridge next weekend.

  3. UQTR Patriotes (138) (10-2, 8-0-0 OUA-E)Francis Charland got the game-winner with 4:15 left Friday in the 4-3 win over Queen's, which gave UQTR a bit of a run in its home rink. So much for figuring it would be easy against a Golden Gaels team which lost 10-1 last weekend to McGill.

  4. Saint Mary's Huskies (104) (9-4, 5-2-0 AUS) — Beat St. Thomas (4-0 on Sunday) and Moncton (5-2 on Saturday) to take 2-of-3 for the week.

    The Huskies' 7-5 loss to No. 10 St. FX might affect vote totals, but perhaps not their ranking. They're still well above McGill and Manitoba (who tied for No. 5).

  5. McGill Redmen (87) (10-2-1, 6-0-0 OUA-E) — Fans of using goal differential in a hockey argument take note: with Sunday's 5-0 win over Toronto, the Redmen have outscored teams 34-8 this season. McGill, which beat Carleton 4-2 on Wednesday, has not given up more than two goals in a league game.

    That skein of stinginess will get put to test next weekend at Laurier and Waterloo.

  6. Manitoba Bisons (87) (11-5, 6-3-1 CW) — Bye week.

  7. Waterloo Warriors (64) (8-5, 5-3-1 OUA-W) — Dropped road games to surging Western (3-2) and York (3-1), so the voters might deliver a knuckle rap on Monday.

  8. Nipissing Lakers (38) (8-6, 6-3-1 OUA-E) — Got swept 4-1 and 5-4 by Carleton. They basically played a good third period in each game (19 shots on Friday, four third-period goals Saturday), but that wasn't enough. Carleton also threw Ryan Dube in the second game in North Bay instead of workhose Alex Archibald, who earned a night off with 36 saves Friday.

    Carleton's two non-conference losses were to Manitoba, so the Ravens might get more Top 10 votes.

  9. Laurier Golden Hawks (36) (9-5, 6-2-1 OUA-W) — A lot of fireworks in a road split at Lakehead (10-4 loss followed by a bounce-back 7-4 win on Saturday). Those former Far West teams will just trade beatings like this all season. Paul Bradley scored twice in Saturday's game.

    In all honesty, there's not a lot of difference between each team and there's a lot of time for everything to settle.

    Lakehead had nine different scorers Friday, with Pierre-Marc Guilbault being the lone one to score two goals.

  10. St. FX X-Men (36) (7-7-1, 5-1-3 AUS) — Ended up with 4-of-6 possible points after a 3-2 OT loss at UPEI on Saturday.

    Goalie Bryan Gillis made 37 saves to get the point vs. UNB on Friday (the teams meet again Nov. 13). Won 7-5 at No. 4 Saint Mary's on Wednesday, a nice coup for them.
Also receiving votes: Lakehead Thunderwolves (32), Calgary Dinos (19), Western Mustangs (14), Lethbridge Pronghorns (6), Brock Badgers (3), UBC Thunderbirds (2).

The two OUA teams who went 0-2 likely drop out. Western (9-3, 7-2-0 overall) should move into the Top 10 and Lakehead scoring 14 goals in two goals might bump them up. Carleton, Saskatchewan (three-point weekend at Calgary) and Regina (home sweep of Lethbridge) each had decent weeks, but none have a base to build off.
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  1. I know I'm not the first one to question the validity of CIS rankings, but I really have to question the competence of some of those who are voting - these are a joke. How does Lakehead go from #4 a week ago to off the list this week? What happened last week? They played two road games against Waterloo (the #7 team), lost one game by one goal, lost the second by two goals. Oh, and outshot Waterloo by a wide margin in both games (32-20 and 37-21). So let's see, #4 in the country outplays a ranked opponent on the road in two games, runs into a hot goalie, so they are now an also-ran? I know someone will say it's all about the results and not the effort, but I think this is a bit much.

    There is an argument that Lakehead had a pretty light schedule up until they played Waterloo (which I'd buy), but then how do you justify them being #4 a week ago?

    And before anyone jumps on me for being a Lakehead booster, I'm actually a Western alumni, so I'm no fan of Lakehead. I'd just like to see some more rational thought go into the voting.

  2. Well it is early in the season, and the OUA West is pretty bunched up, so if you're Lakehead and drop two games, somone else from your division will probably take your place, like Waterloo.

    The early season rankings are often a bit of a yoyo, especially with the numerous OUA teams.

    Btw, the AUS has announced that Friday's Saint Mary's at St. Thomas games has been postponed thanks to H1N1 concerns -- that's the third SMU game to be postponed this season already.

  3. how high does nipissing go if they sweep carleton this weekend

  4. Where the OUA teams sit in the rankings should get straightened out over the next three weeks. The formerly far east and far west divisions play crossover games starting next weekend and continuing (for some) the following week. My hunch: McGill's record is real and UQTR's is not - the crossover games should help determine that.

    Nip U is the feel good story of the year so far. However, their schedule as been pretty spongy so far. We'll see if they are for real in their final four games leading up to the Christmas break: Waterloo, Laurier, McGill, and UQTR.

  5. Laurier got squashed by Lakehead on Friday 10-4 and their coach is none too happy with the officiating.


    PIMs in the game were 34-22 Laurier which includes a Laurier 10 minute misconduct.

  6. "The two OUA teams who went 0-2 likely drop out, but it's not obvious whom other than Lakehead joins in." I would certainly hope that one on them is Western, who one could argue are more deserving to be in the top 10 than the Wolves. After dropping their first two games of the season, they've won 7 straight and are first in the West with a game in hand on both Lakehead and Waterloo.

    I am really looking forward to the crossover games next week to see how the top teams in each conference compare.

  7. The SMU/STU game will be made up today at 3pm...

  8. @4:38 a.m.: Good call; the one drawback of posting late at night after work is sometime stuff gets missed. Either I needed to get up earlier or stay later, judging by your time-stamp.

    Western and Lakehead might be the OUA West teams to vote for this week; UQTR and McGill from the East. Finding a third from Can West might be tricky. Calgary's got a good record but was outscored 7-4 on home ice by Saskatchewan.

    @10:53: Thanks!

  9. Because they have played between 2 and 4 games fewer than every other team in the OUA(except Queen's), McGill has been kind of flying under the radar this season. They are now 6-0, but are in 3rd place in their division. With their 5-0 blanking of U of T this afternoon, they are sitting at 8 goals against in 6 games. I wonder if the OUA tracks best defensive season stats. Will be interesting to see how they fare against Lauier and Waterloo next weekend.

  10. For what it's worth (probably not much, ha-ha), yours truly has usually placed McGill ahead of Trois-Rivieres for just that reason.

  11. I have been putting McGill ahead of Trois-Rivieres all season, so you're not the only one.

  12. Lakehead may pull ahead after these next 2 weeks in the OUA west. With Laurier, Western and Waterloo playing teams like McGill, UQTR, Carleton and Nipissing (currently the top 4 teams), it will take a huge effort for any of those 3 to come out with all 8 points. Against Toronto and RMC, I will be surprised if Lakehead does not earn all 8.

    Nipissing has been a feel good story, but I look forward to seeing how they do in each of their next 6 matchups. I want to see how the mid-high level OUA west teams like Brock compare to mid-high level teams in the East like Nipissing, who are looking like number 4 in the East.

    As for your votes, I have to say, looking at McGill's stats, and the fact that they smoked UQTR in the preseason, at this point I am more worried about them on Friday night than UQTR on Saturday night against my Golden Hawks. I will see them both play this weekend though which is a treat. I could be wrong though.

  13. @3:27PM. You make an excellent point. This was something I spotted the day the OUA schedule was released. Overall, Lakehead does have a lighter schedule than the "big 3" in the west and if it comes down to a point or two in the standings (which it very well might), this could be the difference. In addtiion to not playing McGill, UQTR, McGill, or Carleton, Lakehead has 4 games against UOIT (although they did drop one of these in overtime already).