A couple media dealie-type things:
  • Our Ottawa readers might like or hate this: The 6th Sens had me as a guest on their hockey podcast over the weekend.

  • Please check out Yahoo! Sports' Fourth Place Medal, at your leisure. Someone from this site will be writing there during the Vancouver Olympics.

  • The same guy wrote a rant for Seamheads.com (a great baseball blog) about Chicago Cubs fans who were upset Andre Dawson entering the Baseball Hall of Fame as an Expo.

  • Greg Hughes, whom you might remember from such as football liveblogs as pretty much every one we held during football season, had some pointed impressions that came out of the Canadian Association of Journalists conference. "Journalists have a lot of tools to use in reporting, but generally don’t use them especially well ... a lot of ideas about the Good Old Days of media consumption belong in a time of pre-information scarcity ... You will not make any money charging for content through paywalls."

    Someone needs to print that out to show to people in Ontario newsrooms, preferably by stapling it to their foreheads.
  1. UBC Thunderbirds (14-1 CW Pacific, 1st RPI) — Young Bucholtz took in the 'Birds bounce-back 77-68 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday, which could be the last game of any kind for a while between the teams (due to cross-over playoffs and things of that nature).

    The 82-79 loss to the Clan on Thursday is broken out elsewhere.

  2. Carleton (15-1 OUA-E, 2nd RPI) — Surprising tight outcome (78-70 win) over Ryerson on Saturday, but it was their third game in four nights plus Kevin McCleery (14 in 19 minutes) was limited before fouling out. Boris Bakovic had 31 for Ryerson — which wasn't even the best night by a guy playing in a game in Ottawa on Saturday.

    Fun fact: the Carleton men and women each had five double-digit scorers on Saturday and Ottawa had a player score 30 or more in each of its games. Crazy coincidence.

    McCleery went for at least 20 in Carleton's first two games: 22 in a 75-53 win over Toronto on Friday and 24 two nights earlier when Carleton beat Ottawa 74-66 in the Capital Hoops Classic.

    Talk about taking away the other team's best scoring guard: Toronto's Nick Magalas was held to six (27 less than he had in the first U of T-Carleton game) on Friday and Ottawa's Josh Gibson-Bascombe had just 13 (seven below his average).

    On Wednesday, up 15 coming out of recess, Carleton sagged a bit at the start of the second half when Ottawa made a 14-2 run to get within three. Cole Hobin got a big old-fashioned three-point play, tipping home an in-and-out Thompson shot as part of a 15-3 run to cancel out the Ottawa surge.

    There was a bit of a fatigue factor, since Hobin had to guard Gibson-Bascombe, who played all 40 minutes. The Ravens turned it over a bit — 16 turnovers, half of which were attributed to McCleery — so they weren't as efficient as they would have liked.

  3. St. Francis Xavier (13-0 AUS, 3rd RPI)Beat UPEI on Sunday by a closer margin (91-85) than you would like to see, with Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw gutting out a 25-point, eight-assist, five-steal day (six turnovers and just 6-of-21 shooting). UPEI, which played St. FX even for the first three quarters, shot an effective 56.7% to put a scare into the X-Men. Ottawa native Manock Lual had 27 for the Panthers.

    Jeremy Dunn
    and Chad Warren each had 18 points in a romp over UNB (95-78) on Saturday.

    Smushed Saint Mary's by 36 points on Wednesday (95-59), with Charlie Spurr leading a three-point bridage by making 6-of-9 for all of his team-high 18 points. Other popout stat is 7-foot-2 Riiny Ngot having four blocked shots in 12 minutes.

  4. Cape Breton (11-1 AUS, 4th RPI) — Anyone in Sydney who likes seeing a lot of points got their money's worth. The Capers hit a hundred in both games vs. Memorial (118-72 on Saturday, 106-70 on Sunday). The generosity extended to the scorer's table; Cape Breton was credited with 31 assists on 37 baskets on Sunday and 22 steals.

    The Capers seem to have smooth sailing from here until Feb. 17, when they play two in a row vs. St. FX.

  5. Ottawa (14-3 OUA-E, 9th RPI) — Two out of three was pretty good; they beat Toronto (89-69) and Ryerson (82-73) after losing early on in the week to Carleton (74-66).

    Warren Ward had a career night vs. U of T, scoring 38 points on 15-of-20. He made 11-of-12 in the first half, including all three of his triples, to finish with 25 at the break. His eye-popping statline probably shows how far Josh Gibson-Bascombe (19 points, nine assists on Saturday) has come with getting teammates involved.

    All told, WWJD (or Gibson's Finest Worldwide") scored 69% of Ottawa's points this week by our count. The Gee-Gees' glass half full is they only lost to Carleton by eight (74-66) despite Gibson-Bascombe (13 points, nine assists) not scoring his first basket until the game was 33 minutes old. The big three (JGB, Ward and Donnie Gibson) was 2-of-16 shooting in the opening half. They showed some character, not to mention their talent, in making a third-quarter run.

  6. Calgary (12-4 CW Prairie, 6th RPI) — In progress vs. Regina. Jarred Ogunbemi-Jackson (28 points, six assists) led the way in Friday's 91-74 Dinos win over the Cougars. (Speaking of that nickname, did anyone else notice Washington State has "Cougs" on the front of its basketball uniforms? Too slangy.)

  7. Simon Fraser (12-3 CW Pacific, 4th RPI) — See No. 1. They're in a pretty good position to challenge for one of Canada West's two playoff berths, or a Final 8 wild card.

    (One small note/face-saving move: Canada West is actually different from other conferences with tiebreakers; it uses records within the divisions instead of head-to-head. UBC and Simon Fraser are each 6-1 within the Pac-D (the Clan had two losses to Prairie teams), so if the T-Birds stumbled ... just sayin'.)

  8. Lakehead (12-4 OUA-W, 8th RPI) — The good news: They're still first in OUA West after losing by more than 20 (87-65) at Windsor on Saturday, thanks to the heroics of Jamie Searle (29 points, seven three-pointers) in an 89-87 OT win over the Lancers on Friday.

    Searle went from sick shooting to sic transit gloria — he was 0-for-8 from the field in the second game. Lakehead made 30 three-pointers in the two games. You can imagine how few two-point shots they hit on Saturday.

    A good debate starter: Is every team in the OUA West good, or is every team just about average? On the whole, you prefer a league with no sure things.

    Lakehead is at home for two of the final three weekends. Their road trip is to Brock.

  9. Windsor (11-5 OUA-W, 7th RPI)Isaac Kuon (26 points Friday, 24 on Saturday) was paramount in both games as the Lancers didn't get the full result they were seeking, but a gained a tiebreaker advantage over Lakehead. They seem to be slightly more consistent of the OUA West leaders, but the division has been so volatile there are four teams you could imagine making it to the Final 8 (and the OUA play-in game, should one be required, is West-hosted).

  10. Dalhousie (9-5 AUS, 18th RPI) — Held both their opponents under 60 this weekend, beating UNB (69-55) on Sunday and UPEI (76-58) the day before. Joseph Schow had 20 points in the Sunday game; Andrew Sullivan totalled 27 for the weekend, making 7-of-12 threes. When he's on, Dal can be daunting.

    Saturday, Simon Farine scored 26 and the Tigers' D limited the Panthers to an effective 37% from the field.
It's a little, "What idea? Renovating the restaurant you don't own? Or spending the 200 million dollars you don't have?" but at least it's good to see the enthusiasm for CIS hockey in St. John's, N.L., which lost the AHL to Toronto and QMJHL to Montreal:
"Currently there are nine Newfoundlanders skating in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) hockey conference, four in the Ontario university circuit and another two representing United States college teams.

"Imagine for a moment if these players had a chance to remains at home and play varsity hockey at Mile One Stadium?

" ... St. Francis Xavier X-Men coach Brad Peddle says a Memorial hockey team would be one to be reckoned with.

" 'Memorial has the potential to ice a very competitive team in the AUS,' said Peddle, a St. John's native."
Peddle added, "this is strictly from a hockey perspective as there would be significant financial implications to be considered and overcome in respect to Memorial and the existing AUS hockey teams.

"At the same time, I do believe there is potential for a successful hockey program under the right financial model and it is something that would be well-received in Newfoundland."

Again, there is nothing concrete, but it's worth making a meme out of a molehill. There would likely need to be another school starting hockey to keep the AUS' numbers even. There does not seem to be anyone who jumps out (Cape Breton? Mount Allison?).

Enough talent to fill an AUS roster; Newfoundlanders would have opted for MUN if they had a choice (Dave Salter, St. John's Telegram, Jan. 23)
Just when we thought we had the division figured out, Lakehead goes and sweeps Western, throwing the OUA West into uncertainty yet again.

The top four teams are separated by only four points and even a 16 game win-streak by Western didn't give the Mustangs enough space in the standings to save them from one bad weekend against Lakehead.

Both Lakehead and Western have only one challenging game left in the regular season, both will play Laurier on the final weekend. Lakehead will be the visitor and Western the host, however, outside of those two games the other 6 all come against the bottom five teams in the division.

Waterloo, just one point behind the division leaders, have the easiest final few weeks of the schedule, they host York, Brock and Windsor before closing their season at UOIT. It wouldn't be a shock to anyone if the Warriors ran the table, putting heat on both the 'wolves and 'stangs.

Laurier has the hardest of the four schedules, they also sit four points behind the leaders, but if anyone will play spoiler it will be them. Next weekend they travel to Windsor for two games, which they absolutely need to win to have any chance, then on the final weekend they will host Lakehead and travel to Western.

Feasibly all four teams should win both games this upcoming weekend, which would mean the standings would look something like this:

  1. Western - 40 pts.*
  2. Lakehead - 40 pts.
  3. Waterloo - 39 pts.
  4. Laurier - 36 pts.
* - Western has the tiebreaker: more league wins.

Now is the time I'll mess with your brain.

Realistically, Laurier has no chance at winning the division, their play down the stretch has ensured that, as has perhaps their inability to bring in any winter recruits. However, this is not to say they do not still hold a tremendous amount of sway.

Now, if Laurier manages to beat Western but loses to Lakehead and both those teams win the weekend's other game, Lakehead wins the division.

However, considering the above, if Lakehead slips up over the last two weeks and loses just one game, Western would win the division by virtue of the first tiebreaker which is league wins. Western also has the second and third tiebreaker: both are 2-2 against each other, but Western has a +3 goal differential in those head to head matches.

Now, if Laurier manages to beat Lakehead but loses to Western and both those teams win the weekend's other game, Western wins the division.

And, considering the above, if Western slips up over the last two weeks and loses just one game, Western would still win the division by virtue of the first tiebreaker (yet again) which is league wins.

Lakehead needs to beat Laurier, then have Laurier turn around on the last day and beat Western, they lose all the tiebreakers otherwise.

So if you're a Thunderwolves fan, it doesn't look good for winning the division. If you're a Waterloo Warriors fan however, it looks great.

The Warriors as I stated earlier could very realistically win out, if they do and both Western and Lakehead lose 1 of their remaining 4 games, the Warriors will be division champions. If Waterloo wins out and Western loses a game in OT or the SO then the Warriors and Mustangs will have the same amount of league wins and Western will win the tiebreaker as they are 2-1 against Waterloo this year.

If Waterloo and Lakehead somehow wind up tied, the Warriors will be ahead of the Thunderwolves since they hold the first three tiebreakers as they went 2-0 against the 'wolves this year.

Western will win the division if they go 4-0
Lakehead will win the division if they go 4-0 and Western goes 3-1
Waterloo will win the division if they go 4-0 and Western and Lakehead go 3-1, but if Western gets a loser point Waterloo can't win, and if Lakehead gets a loser point Waterloo will win
Laurier will win the division when pigs fly

So if you're a Thunderwolves fan, you don't want to tie Waterloo.

If you're a Waterloo fan, you need to win out and hope for help.

If you're a Western fan, you've probably got a giant grin on your face.

And if you're a Laurier fan, you're doing what I'm doing and drinking.

And if you're any sort of CIS hockey fan, your brain will probably be hurting just as much as mine by the time this whole situation sorts itself out.
No. 2 Alberta @ No. 9 Manitoba
Clinching first place will have to wait at least another week for the Golden Bears, as they split their weekend series in Winnipeg against the Bisons. Alberta now sits 11 points ahead of second place Manitoba, who could still technically secure top spot if the Bears drop their remaining six contests and the Herd win their remaining six contests.

Friday night, Alberta needed a big comeback to earn the victory, as they scored three unanswered third period goals including the game winner from Eric Hunter with only 39 seconds remaining to secure the 4-3 win. Hunter along with his linemates Jesse Gimblett and rookie Sean Ringrose were the catalysts for the Bears, as both Hunter and Gimblett had a goal and an assist, while Ringrose added two assists in the winning effort.

In the second game of the two game set, Manitoba this time wouldn't cough up an early two goal lead, as they came out on the winning side of another 4-3 decision. Both Ian Duval and Calin Wild had one goal, two assist efforts to lead the Bisons to their second win of the season over Alberta. With the win, the Herd handed the Bears only their second regulation loss of the season. The Bears other regulation loss of the season also came against Manitoba back on October 30 in a 3-2 decision. Chad Klassen was a man on a mission Saturday night, netting his second hat-trick of the season against the Bisons, but Klassen didn't get any scoring from his supporting cast en route to the series split.

Alberta will be looking to clinch top spot in the conference next weekend as they host Lethbridge, while Manitoba heads to Regina.

The Winnipeg Free Press also had a great feature on Bears captain Tyler Metcalfe, a Manitoba native.

Calgary @ Regina
Without question, the most surprising result of the weekend came in Regina where the Cougars played host to the Calgary Dinos. It was the Queen City crew who came out with the better effort in the Saskatchewan capital, as they handed the Dinos a pair of losses. Those losses coupled with a Saskatchewan sweep of UBC pushed the Dinos into fourth place in the conference, and Regina into sixth ahead of the T-Birds.

It was a game full of power play potency on Friday night as the two teams combined for five PP markers. Regina was 2-for-7 on the man advantage, while the Dinos went 3-for-7. It was a tight affair, as the two played 65 minutes without a winner, with a 3-3 deadlock needing a shootout to decide a winner. The skills competition went four rounds, as both teams scored on all three of their first shootout attempts, before Carter Smith scored the decisive goal in the fourth round to give Regina a 4-3 win.

Saturday night the Cougars came out looking to pick up only their second series sweep of the season, and they did just that, taking a 3-0 lead into the final frame. In the final 20 minutes the Dinos scored a pair of goals to get on the board, but the Cougars added one of their own to hold onto a 4-2 win. Ryan Sawka had a pair of markers for Regina in the win, as the Cougars all but ended any hopes the Dinos had at hosting a home playoff series.

The Cougars as mentioned above host the Bisons next weekend, while Calgary has the week off before heading to Saskatoon in two weeks time for a tough series against the Huskies.

Saskatchewan @ UBC
Coming off a pair of tough overtime losses last weekend at home against Alberta, the Saskatchewan Huskies bounced back on the road with a sweep of the UBC T-Birds in a rare set of games in Burnaby, B.C. with the T-Birds being temporarily evicted from their home as the Vancouver Olympics draw near.

It was a bust night Friday for UBC netminder Jordan White who faced 40 shots, stopping 37 of the pucks directed his way. At the other end, Jeff Harvey only had to make 15 saves in a winning effort, as his Huskies came away with a 3-2 win.

Saturday night good things came in twos for the Huskies, as they scored a pair of goals in all three periods, with Steven DaSilva and Brennan Bosch both scoring two goals each, as the Huskies doubled up the T-Birds 6-3 for the series sweep. David Reekie got the win in net for the Sled Dogs, making 29 saves for his fifth win of the season.

With the pair of wins, the Huskies crept closer to Manitoba in the CW standings after the Bisons picked up a split with Alberta. Saskatchewan now sits only a single point behind Manitoba for second place, as their Feb. 19-20 series in Saskatoon could be the determining factor in who hosts an opening round playoff series.

Both the Huskies and T-Birds are idle next week in what will be a light CW schedule with only four teams in action Feb. 5-6.
There is more to the unfolding story about Brock goalie Mark Yetman.
"A Brock University goalie is now accused of sexually assaulting three woman.

"Niagara Regional Police said Friday they charged Mark Yetman, 21, of Thorold, with sexual assault, two counts of choking and one count of threatening.

"Those charges were in addition to two counts of sexual assault police laid against Yetman earlier in the week."
One wonders how big this might become as a news story, especially if it goes to trial. It doesn't seem like the St. Catharines paper has really put a ton of energy into finding out particulars, let's just leave it at that for now.

Brock goalie faces more charges (St. Catharines Standard)
UNB, Lakehead and Waterloo are the only teams to get through this week unscathed, which means ... yep, Alberta lost a game.

Meantime, there's a tie at the top of the OUA West with Waterloo lurking just one point back:
  1. UNB Varsity Reds (160, all 16 first-place votes) (33-1, 23-0-0 AUS, 1st RPI) — Beat No. 4 Acadia 5-2 on Saturday and actually played with a deficit for about 7:28 over the first and second periods. Also beat Saint Mary's 3-1 on Friday.

  2. Alberta Golden Bears (144) (24-4, 19-2-1 CW, 2nd RPI) — Split a pair of 4-3 decisions at Manitoba and needed a late goal from Eric Hunter to get their win on Friday.

  3. Western Mustangs (114) (20-9, 18-6-0 OUA-W, 3rd RPI) — Swept 4-0 and 8-5 at No. 8 Lakehead (it got testy the second game), so they're probably not too fun to be around these days.

    FOTB Daniel Da Silva noted in the comments it looks like goalie Anthony Grieco, who was a big part of Western's earlier 16-game league win streak, is not close to returning.

    Western and Queen's hockey teams were lit up for 17 goals on Saturday, which should warm the hearts of staff at every posh country club in Ontario.

  4. Acadia Axemen (111) (18-12, 14-7-2 AUS, 9th RPI) — Lost 5-2 to UNB on Saturday to finish a 1-2-0 week. The 5-3 margin in Friday's loss vs. UPEI might have flattered the Axemen a bit, since the Panthers led by five goals by the mid-point of the second period.

    The Axemen, who also beat Saint Mary's 4-1 on Wednesday, have a four-point lead over the Huskies.

  5. UQTR Patriotes (98) (20-7, 18-3-2 OUA-E, 4th RPI) — Wound up taking 3-of-4 points after beating Carleton 6-3 on Saturday, getting payback for an earlier extra-time loss to the Ravens..

    The Patriotes lost 3-2 in a shootout to Ottawa on Friday. The Gee-Gees' Riley Whitlock turned aside 49 shots, then stymied three in a row during the shootout.

  6. McGill Redmen (85) (23-10-1, 18-5-0 OUA-E, 7th RPI) — Hammered Concordia 11-0 on Sunday to keep within two points of UQTR in the race for home ice in the playoffs. Two "charity points" are all that separate them. Their game on Feb. 8 might settle matters.

    The Redmen lost 4-2 to Carleton on Friday, falling for the second time this season to their potential second-round playoff opponents. They ran into a hot goalie, since Carleton's Alex Archibald stopped 37-of-39. Mike Byrd was equal to or greater than the word for the Ravens, scoring the winner with 5:29 left.

  7. Saint Mary's Huskies (59) (17-14, 12-8-4 AUS, 11th RPI) — Tough week with losses to UPEI (5-3), UNB (3-1) and Acadia (4-1), meaning they are 0-3-0 so far with Mike Danton. One wouldn't want to extrapolate anything from such a small sample size, but others will.

  8. Lakehead Thunderwolves (48) (20-9, 17-5-2 OUA-W, 6th RPI) — Shut down Western Friday (4-0) and outscored 'em Saturday (8-5, two apiece from Matt Dias and Dan Speers). They're now tied with the Mustangs with four games remaining.

  9. Manitoba Bisons (33) (20-10, 13-7-2 CW, 7th RPI) Steve Christie made 40 saves in the second game vs. Alberta and Ian Duval was clutch in the third period, scoring a go-ahead goal in the first minute of the frame and later assisting on the game-winner.

    Manitoba is only a point ahead of Saskatchewan for second place in Can West, with six games to go.

  10. Waterloo Warriors (12) (20-9, 17-6-1 OUA-W, 5th RPI) — Rode fast starts to wins over Laurier (4-3 on the road) and Brock (4-0 at home). Against the Badgers, it was 3-0 after ten minutes and that's about as close as it got.
Outside the top 10:
  • The ARV teams: Laurier (8), Saskatchewan (6), Calgary (2).

  • Friday's and Saturday's action served to jazz up that OUA East race again, since Carleton and Toronto (each 13-8-3) are again tied. The Ravens split their McGill-UQTR home weekend, while U of T split a pair of close ones, losing 4-3 to Queen's on a goal in the penultimate minute and then pulling out an OT win over RMC

    Queen's likes to do quirky, awkward things that seem funny, kind of like Napoleon Dynamite. One night after snapping a seven-game Toronto win streak, the Gaels (13-11-1) lost 9-5 to Ryerson on Saturday (Kevin Krasnowski scored a natural hat trick and then some, since he scored the first four Rams goals).

    The remaining schedule of the teams fighting for third in the OUA East, you notice any difference?
    Carleton — McGill, Concordia, Ottawa, UQTR
    Queen's — RMC, Ryerson, Nipissing
    Toronto — Ryerson, Nipissing, RMC and RMC
    The crafty Paladins might yet play spoiler.
Join in our coverage of the women's game below the jump!

The top-ranked UBC Thunderbirds men's basketball squad rebounded well from their Thursday loss to No. 7 SFU, finishing with a 77-68 victory in today's rematch against the Clan. The two teams were pretty close throughout, with SFU leading 35-30 at the half, but UBC turned it up a notch in the third quarter. They outscored SFU 25-15 in the frame and finished strong down the stretch.

UBC's shooting improved significantly after the half, boosting their field goal percentage from 42.3 per cent in the first half to 46.7 per cent after the break. They also got stingier on defence, and SFU's shots stopped falling; the Clan shot 40.6 per cent in the first half, but only hit 30.4 per cent of their field goals in the final quarters. Part of that came from the Thunderbirds' transition to a higher-tempo game; SFU didn't have anyone who could run with Josh Whyte, Blaine LaBranche and Nathan Yu. Whyte finished with 16 points, while LaBranche had 21 and Yu chipped in seven. The fast-paced offence seemed to knock SFU off guard and created lots of second chances for the Thunderbirds off rebounds; they picked up eight offensive rebounds to the Clan's five, and outrebounded SFU 41-34 over the course of the game.

SFU guard Chas Kok, who led the Clan with 18 points, said afterwards their failure to control the glass cost them the game.

"Defensively, we didn't really do what we wanted to," he said. "We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, and that's what killed us."

Kok said the Clan weren't able to keep up with UBC late in the game.

"In the second half, we just played one speed," he said.

He said it was disappointing to lose their final CIS regular-season home game.

"I wanted to win that one for the seniors," he said.

Kok said the team still has plenty of work to do going into the playoffs despite impressive play this week.

"Defensively, we need to get better," he said. "Offensively, we need to get better. We just need to get better overall."

[Cross-posted to Sporting Madness]
We'll get rolling at 3 p.m Pacific. My game preview is here. Come on in and join the fun after the jump!

What was that about rearranging deck chairs? Windsor athletic director Gord Grace has seen the Lancers football program lose two assistant coaches this month, first associate coach Scott Fawcett and
now Brett Thomson:
"Thomson ran Windsor's offence for the past two seasons.

"His departure follows the Jan. 15 resignation of Scott Fawcett, the associate head coach.

"Fawcett, who left for personal reasons, was also in charge of special teams, running backs and recruiting. He was also stadium manager."
A personal belief is that people voluntarily leaving an organization is a symptom of disfunction at the top of the chain (one Star commenter: "This problem in the football office doesn't start with Morencie, it starts with GORD GRACE!!").

It really is getting to a point where the question is how long it will take Windsor to recover from its self-inflicted kneecapping. This is a difficult time in that area of Ontario, which affects the best high school athletes' desire to study and play at their hometown university. It makes it a critical time for amateur teams which can bring some pride to a community; Windsor has a Cadillac major junior hockey team and several other Lancers squads are doing well. Football, well, is another story, to put it politely.

Football Lancers lose another coach - offensive co-ordinator Brett Thomson (Mary Caton, Windsor Star, Jan. 27)
  • Two games in the league and Saint Mary's Mike Danton is already provided grist for debate, if not bulletin board material:
    "To be honest with you, I thought Acadia played a better game than UNB did against us ... UNB was consistent, they work consistent, but I don't think their best was as good as Acadia's best and I don't think it's anywhere near our best.

    "The last two games we just haven't worked as a team and it's resulted in two losses," Danton .. Between the top three teams - UNB, Acadia and us - any one of those teams can win a game against each other on any given night. It's not clear cut."
    In a sense,he was complimenting UNB for avoiding lapses. Calm down. (Daily Gleaner)

  • Lakehead's Kyle Moir takes a 121-minute, 28-second shutout skein into tonight's Western Mustangs-Thunderwolves game. (TB Chronicle-Journal)
  • How did Windsor not find a way for Isaac Kuon to score in in overtime vs. Lakehead on Friday? He has 26 in regulation. (Windsor Star)

  • The Queen's Golden Gaels had some opening-night jitters, but won in dramatic fashion (64-62 on a layin by Katie Guthrie, the former Guelph Gryphon) in the first OUA hoops game at Queen's Centre. (Kingston Whig-Standard)
  • Ricky Foley: From York to the NFL by way of the B.C. Lions? (Vancouver Sun)

  • Team World lost 17-0 to Team USA in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. NFL Network's Rich Eisen did plug the University of Saskatchewan at one point and even pronounced it correctly. He had a little trouble saying Canadian kicker Tyler Crapigna's name.
It's a special day for Simon Fraser University's basketball teams. They're hosting the archrival UBC Thunderbirds in a pair of rather important games.

On the women's side, the No. 1 Clan are coming off thumpings of the Winnipeg Wesmen and Manitoba Bisons last weekend. They're looking to maintain their perfect 13-0 record in conference play, but they'll face a tough opponent in 10-4 UBC, as the Thunderbirds are tied for second in the Canada West Pacific division. It's also the last home league game for their seniors, including popular blogger Kate Hole, and the team's also raising funds for breast cancer research.

On the men's side, the 12-2 Clan (ranked No. 7) are flying high after knocking off No. 1 UBC 82-79 Wednesday. That was the 13-1 Thunderbirds' first conference loss. They'll be out for revenge in today's rematch.

The other interesting subplot to these games is that they're the final regular-season CIS home games SFU's basketball teams will play, as the school's planned move to the NCAA in 2011 got bumped up to this coming year after Canada West put them on probation earlier this year.

As Rob wrote, that also could mean that SFU's fourth-year players either end their careers here (thanks to the NCAA's four-year eligibility window, as compared to the five years in CIS) or wind up moving to another school. This adds another dimension to what's already a compelling pair of contests. I'll be covering both games today (the men's game is at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT with the women's game to follow) and live-blogging each if I'm able to get an Internet connection; feel free to stop by! I'll have a post-game piece later tonight as well.

Buna, Clan expect emotional Saturday versus Thunderbirds
(Howard Tsumura, Little Man on Campus)

(Cross-posted to Sporting Madness)
Scramble EG, Legend of the Faulds and Steely Dan getting invited to the CFL's evaluation camp is progress and as a bonus, is good PR.

The CFL didn't invite a single QB to the 2009 E-camp. That makes it it welcome news that two-time Hec Crighton winner Erik Glavic of Calgary, CIS career passing leader Michael Faulds of Western and Vanier Cup-winning Danny Brannagan of Queen's will get a look-see from the league in March. The bigger league is taking note of the talent of made-in-Canada quarterbacks, although there is nothing to bind them to carrying one on the dress roster. People would love to see it happen, even though bitter experience has made as all realists.

The Canadian QB controversy was a semi-hot topic during football season. David Naylor of globesports.com and TSN wrote about "a Canadian game without the Canadians and The Toronto Star's Chris Young did a compare-and-contrast of the circumstances faced by Brannagan and the pre-eminent pivot in the U.S. college game, Florida's Tim Tebow.

It's probably a slam-dunk column topic for someone writing in Toronto that it might not be a half-bad idea for the Argonauts to give one of the three a honest-to-goodness look at training camp. The Argos need some positive publicity, something with a little stickiness. Having a hometown player such as Glavic (from Pickering, just east of Toronto) or one of two quarterbacks who traded touchdowns in two epic Western-Queen's games last season would generate some buzz.

(It's always a regret that the moniker for Brannagan didn't get busted out sooner. No word of a lie, on my Google Reader, the Queen's press release came up right after an article from Slate quoting Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen on the death of author J.D. Salinger. It pays to be eclectic, although it doesn't pay much.)
  • Chris Cochrane is pulling no punches about the two Halifax clubs not drawing as well as some of their AUS counterparts:
    "Whatever the reason, fans have become incredibly picky about which games they’ll go see. Many seem to keep track of what’s happening with the university game but will only attend when they are offered something special.

    "Recently, Saint Mary’s had a crowd of 2,335 watch the powerhouse University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. Clearly the fans saw that game as something special, which it was. But why didn’t more of those extra 1,600 fans return for the next couple of games?"
    (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

  • Speaking of UNB, coach Gardiner MacDougall is offering reassurances former major junior goalie Martin Houle is still pencilled in for net season. (Fredericton Daily Gleaner)

  • Lakehead is focused on taking care of its own end in its all-important home series vs. No. 3 Western. (TB News Watch)

  • A hockey recruiting announcement this early in the game is unusual, but Carleton has already added an OHL team captain, forward Jeff Hayes of the Oshawa Generals. Players might be lined up with a team by now, but schools often hold off announcing it since players keep their options open up until the last, last minute.
  • UVic is in a must-win situation against Fraser Valley. There is a sentence you never read before. (Victoria Times-Colonist)
  • Huskies Football Outsider is keeping tabs on how Saskatchewan's Jeff Hassler, Ben Heenan, Cam Redl and Joel Seutter are faring with Team World, which faces Team USA in a U19 all-star game on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. The game is carried live at noon Eastern on NFL Network, so keep an eye peeled for CIS players present and future such as Calgary running back Steven Lumbala, Ottawa d-back Soonbum Cha, Laurier receiver Alex Anthony and QB Jeremie Doyon-Rich, among others.

  • Toronto Blue Jays CEO Paul Beeston(or as he known in one very small social circle, Paul "Western Will Win" Beeston) is speaking this morning at the Queen's Sports Industry Conference. It would have been really nice if the organizers could have dimmed the lights and played this video as soon as he took the p

This kind of speaks for itself:
"On Tuesday, Niagara Regional Police detectives began an investigation into an alleged sexual assault of a St. Catharines woman. After arresting a suspect, detectives determined he allegedly committed a second sexual assault against a woman in Thorold in December.

"Mark Yetman, 21, was charged with two counts of sexual assault and taken into custody. He is scheduled for a bail hearing Friday in St. Catharines.

" 'Yes, he was the Brock goalie and yes, he was a Brock student,' said the university's athletic director, Lorne Adams."
Please keep it civil now that this is in the hands of the criminal justice system, which is better equipped to deal with such matters.

The concern is with the victims and the accused's right to a fair trial; the hockey part is ancillary. Brock (9-14-1), which could still get caught by UOIT (8-13-1) for the final OUA West playoff spot, might be reeling if its 9-0 loss to Guelph on Thursday is any indication.

Brock goalie charged in sexual assaults (St. Catharines Standard)
Score one for Simon Fraser's Princeton offence: The Clan ended No. 1 UBC's unbeaten run with an 82-79 win on Thursday night.

The No. 7-ranked Clan, led by Chas Kok (21 points, six rebounds) and their fifth-year guard Sean Burke (18 points, five assists) simply shot the lights out. SFU was an effective 69% from the floor, making 29-of-52 including 14 three-pointers. Reading Howard Tsumura's gamer, it sounds like it was a little similar to Carleton-Ottawa on Wednesday, one team riding hot shooting to a big early lead, then sweating out a tough second half vs. a very talented opponent.

Kevin Shaw (15 points on 6-of-8) hit a three-ball with 2:11 left that put Simon Fraser ahead for good, and the Clan held UBC without a bucket for the duration.

Moser Award candidate Josh Whyte had 16 points and eight boards for the Thunderbirds, but did have an uncharacteristic six turnovers against three assists. Graham Bath had 16, but none of UBC's other starters cracked double digits.

Simon Fraser came in fourth in RPI and was playing at home. The No. 4 team in RPI should be decent odds to defeat the No. 1 team when they're playing in friendly environs. (In other words, yay, Pettapiece.)

Finishing first isn't everything, but UBC (13-1 CW Pacific) could really stand to win by at least four on Saturday and get a season-series split. Simon Fraser (12-2) plays Thompson Rivers twice and UVic once over the final two weekends in the Pac-D. The T-Birds' remaining two-gamer is vs. UVic and they also play Trinity Western at home, so if they bounce back Saturday, they'll be able to afford one loss.

As for the Top 10 rankings, Carleton should be No. 1 if it wins out at home this weekend. There will be some clamour to see St. FX go to No. 2, although UBC shouldn't be unduly punished if it ends up splitting a series on on the No. 7-ranked team's floor.

Shocker on Burnaby Mountain (Howard Tsumura, Little Man on Campus)
Well, at least they mentioned Marg McGregor's name: There was some CIS representation on The Globe & Mail's list of the 50 most powerful people in Canadian sport, although it wasn't exactly complimentary:
"28. Doug Mitchell If anyone can influence progress in Canadian Interuniversity Sport it is the chair of the BLG awards honouring collegiate athletes, sponsor of UBC's Thunderbird Sports Centre, part-owner of the Calgary Stampeders and former CFL commissioner.

" ... 49. David Murphy By taking Simon Fraser University into the NCAA, the senior athletic director is challenging Marg McGregor and the CIS to respond with a strategy – beyond status quo – to stop further defections."
The G&M has had a real bone to pick with university sports lately, hasn't it?

Detroit Red Wings and Canadian Olympic men's hockey team coach Mike Babcock, a McGill alumnus, and Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis, who coached Queen's in the mid-1980s and also took his law degree there, were Nos. 14 and 30 respectively.
Broadcasting and filing mostly on deadline (Wayne Kondro does both so much better every weekend) made for a pretty full Wednesday night. How's a guy supposed to enjoy a beer after the game, then get home and watch Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared on syndicated late-night TV? Some quick thoughts:

Men — No. 2 Carleton 74, No. 5 Ottawa 66
  • Almost a rout and almost close might be a good one-sentence description. Carleton (14-1 OUA) played its best in the high-leverage moments: the first half when it led by as much as 18 (38-20) and again late in the third quarter when it went on a 15-3 run to cancel out a 14-2 Ottawa surge led by Warren Ward (15 points) and Donnie Gibson (10).

  • Carleton big man Kevin McCleery's 24-point night included a dozen in each half. However, eight of the 16 Ravens turnovers ended up in his stat line, which suggests Carleton was out of synch by their standards. They also tired a little in the fourth quarter.

  • It is a credit to Ottawa (12-3 OUA) that it made a run, even though leading scorer (and CIS assists leader) Josh Gibson-Bascombe (13 points, nine assists) was unable to make a basket until 7:08 remained in the game. Ottawa coach Dave DeAveiro said JGB had to be "The Man" in a pregame interview, but it wasn't happening. (Instead of The Man, it was more Andy Millman in Extras, you know, in the background.) He fought through it, and his 10-point fourth quarter showed he is close to Canada's best on some nights. He went the entire 40 minutes, too.

  • How good a job did Cole Hobin and Carleton's defence do on Ottawa's big three early on? At the half, WWJD were shooting a combined 2-of-16 and the Gee-Gees' top scorer was second-year guard Max Clarkson, with six points on two threes. Clarkson is a great utilityman.

  • Former Ravens such as Ryan Bell and Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie seemed to always score when it was needed. Hobin got each of his baskets during that 15-3 Carleton run to close out the third quarter. Willy Manigat also had a nice driving layup to end the quarter.

  • The turnovers and some clock management choices were Carleton's bigger misgivings with its play. Dave Smart said they "responded like a young team" at times. They were good enough to be up almost 20 on a top-5 team, but didn't sustain.

  • Ottawa can take positives, although it is looking likely they'll have to get back to the Final 8 the hard way. That would involve either winning on Carleton's floor (in the regular-season game Feb. 20) or in the playoffs, or winning the OUA third-place game like it did last March.
Women — Carleton 53, Ottawa 40
  • The Ravens (12-4 OUA) spread the scoring around in fairly characteristic fashion, with Courtney Smith hooping a game-high 15 and three others counting at least nine. They might be the most balanced team in the East, seeing as leading scorer Alyson Bush averages only 11.

  • Neither team shot well (around 30%) in the arena environment. A common refrain that you hear on press row during Scotiabank Place games is, "it's cold," since you're at ice level. There's also on a few thousand people in their seats for the women's game, so it can feel pretty cavernous.

  • OUA scoring leader Hannah Sunley-Paisley (13 points on 5-for-14, 11 rebounds) had a tough go. She had to check out late in the first half after getting poked in the left eye and then missed three short-range shots in a row starting the second. That said, she is the real deal, fast for 6-foot-1. As noted in the comments, it was a wrinkle of Carleton's offence that the post (Ines Jelic) helps bring the ball upcourt when other teams are pressing. It's good to see that versatility.

  • Carleton's rookie contributors were heard from. Jessica Resch (10 points) was cold early in the game, but hit a three to help ice it in the fourth quarter. Six-foot-two Sara Hickman also had an athletic play in the fourth, stuffing a Gee-Gee and then managing to catch the ball as it dropped. She should have got credit for a block and a rebound on that play.

  • Just when HSP was missing those close ones, Smith hit a huge triple from the right wing that put Carleton up by 10. That really was the breaking point. Ottawa coach Andy Sparks noted afterward his young team (seven first-years) let the environment affect them a bit. Some of the young Gee-Gees, such as guard Catherine Cloutier, 6-foot forward Charlotte Mackenzie and guard Awo Farah (a left-hander!) showed a lot of potential. Ottawa's second and third scoring options, Melina Wishart and Emilie Morasse, were held to a combined six points, which they can't have.

  • Cloutier, for one, is already drawing offensive fouls at a fourth-year level. You couldn't help but overhear the cries of "flopper!" coming from the vicinity of the Ravens bench.
  • It's a distinct possibility this week's UBC-Simon Fraser games will be their last for some time; arranging a game will be tough once the Clan are in the NCAA. (Little Man on Campus)

  • No. 3-ranked St. FX "were as good as they've been all year," writes Monty Mosher of the X-Men's 36-point win at Saint Mary's. St. FX coach Steve Konchalski is only three wins from a nice, round 750 for his career.

    Between Christian Upshaw and the two Joshes, Whyte of UBC and Gibson-Bascombe of Ottawa, this a good year for top teams helmed by a lead guard. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
  • Mike Danton showed some good hands on his first goal for Saint Mary's, picking a centring pass out of the air to redirect into the net. The announced crowd of 3,723 was 3,000 more than the hockey Huskies usually attract. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Huskies Football)

  • St. Thomas, one point out of the final AUS playoff spot, has some fight in them, as evidenced by a practice skirmish between forwards Jason Cassidy and Kenton Dulle. Now it just needs to be redirected toward Dalhousie on Friday, and tongue firmly planted in cheek here, Cassidy has a column topic for his next Hockey News article. (Fredericton Daily Gleaner)

  • Nipissing forward Sam Hopewell is from Almonte, birthplace of James Naismith, so yes, he has dabbled in basketball. The Lakers, meantime, have two more big games this weekend. (North Bay Nugget)

  • Great job by coach Adam Shell's pesky RMC Paladins to dump Queen's 4-1 on Wednesday. Carleton and Toronto should have the thank-you notes out in the mail, since it helps them in the OUA East race.

    Queen's would have a better shot at third in the OUA East if it wasn't for that unfortunate habit of losing by three goals to RMC. (EMC Frontenac)
  • The United Football League is interested in evaluating Queen's rush end Shomari Williams, who is the No. 4-rated prospect for the CFL Canadian college draft. (Kingston Whig-Standard)
The good news for SMU was that Mike Danton scored in his first game as a Huskie, before a season high crowd of 3723 - the biggest crowd for any hockey game in the AUS this season. The bad news was that SMU lost a big "four-point game" 4-1 against Acadia in the battle for second place in the AUS standings.

Mike Danton got the only goal for Saint Mary's. He had gone to the left side of the net (goalie's right) and knocked a Cam Fergus pass out of the air and into the net. That made it 3-1 at 10:21 of the third period, but David Lomas got an empty netter late to make it 4-1 for Acadia. Danton took Kyle Doucet's spot on the right wing of the second line; Doucet is out of the lineup with an injury. Danton didn't get much ice time in the second period, as there were a lot of penalties and he's not on the special teams, yet. When he played, he had lots of hustle, took several good body checks from Acadia's Beau Prokopetz and bounced back up, and had some good fore checks and back checks.

Spencer Jezegou opened the scoring for Acadia at 2:41 of the second period on the power play when the red shirts flooded the net in front of Neil Conway. James Klie made it 2-0 at 4:49 when Alex MacDonald put the puck from the behind the net to Klie in the slot. Andrew Clark scored at 3:03 of the third period to put Acadia ahead 3-0.

SMU outshot Acadia 37-23 and Kris Westblom was strong in the Acadia net. SMU was 0-for-7 on the power play while Acadia went for 1-for-7.
Laurier at Guelph is the one to watch this weekend, especially with its being the only non-Q matchup between above-average teams. It's also worth keeping an eye on Carleton at McGill, even if the outcome is likely known.

There are very few games left in the season, nearly rendering the exercise of "who's the better team?" redundant. That is, after all, what the playoffs are for. Below, next to the teams who aren't in first place in their conference, we've included how many points behind the leader (or some other team of interest) they are, how many more games they have to make up that difference, and how many games in hand they have.

The top 10 is based on SRS as usual, save for one adjustment that brought St. F-X into the 10th spot at the expense of the Gee-Gees, who were 9th. Including three teams in a five-team league is already enough. The latest CIS rankings are in parentheses.

  1. McGill (1): At Carleton on Saturday.

  2. Laurier (2): At Brock and Guelph, starting Saturday.

  3. Montreal (10): Host Ottawa. They are 5 points behind McGill with four games to go, and the Martlets have two in hand.

  4. Alberta (3): Idle. They've pretty well clinched first place; although, with only two games between now and February 19th, when they play second-place Manitoba, there will no doubt be some armchair coaches wondering how the extended idle periods will affect their ability to compete 100%.

  5. Carleton (NR): McGill Saturday, at Concordia the next day. Have no hope of catching McGill, but are 13 points down on Montreal, with seven to play, and three in hand (including two to play against Concordia).

  6. Queen's (9): Host last-place UOIT for two. Ten points behind the Hawks, with six to play but one in hand for Laurier.

  7. York (7): At Western and Windsor. Identical situation to Queen's except they're one more point back.

  8. Guelph (NR): Welcome Waterloo and Laurier. First place is out of reach, but second is only three points away, and third merely two. Both York and Queen's have an extra game to play, however.

  9. Moncton (4): Friday vs. UPEI, then Sunday at SMU. They're technically behind St. F-X in the standings if not the rankings, but only by two points and with eight games left, two more than the X-Women, that's a very easy gap to close.

  10. St. F-X (5): Host Mount A on Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Hawley, sports editor of The Fulcrum (fulcrum.ca/sports), the English-language uOttawa student newspaper, is leading the charge for the Carleton-Ottawa men's matchup..

Streaming Sports Network (ssncanada.ca) is also streaming live, as is Rogers 22 in the Ottawa region. Also check out the game preview.
Andrew Hawley, sports editor of The Fulcrum (fulcrum.ca/sports), the English-language uOttawa student newspaper, is your cruise director for the liveblog of the first half of the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic doubleheader, a women's matchup between the Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Streaming Sports Network (ssncanada.ca) is also videocasting live. The game will be tape-delay aired on Rogers 22 in the Ottawa region. Carleton (11-4 OUA East) has beat the Gee-Gees (9-6) twice this season.
John Bower and Stuart Bowden review the week which was in women's hockey, with commentary on those mystifying Manitoba Bisons, the schedule crunch No. 2-ranked Laurier has coming up in mid-February, Moncton's move up the AUS hierarchy and which conference Carleton and Ottawa will play in the next season, since that is up in the air.

  • Saint Mary's has announced eight recruits, including "quarterback/receiver Micah Brown of Tampa, Fla." That is likely the same Micah Brown whose profile on a scouting website lists him as having attended three colleges and two CFL training camps. It's quite a football CV, to say the least:
    • Auburn Univ/ SMCC (JUCO): 2004 - 2005
      Signed with Auburn Univ. (Nulled) Went to Southwest MS CC

    • West Virginia University- Tech: 2005-2007
      Played under former QB, of one of the founders of the Spread-Option offense (Rich Rodriguez)

    • Saint Paul's College: 2007-2009
      Played under the most winningest coach in Virginia history at any level (Williard Bailey)

    • Toronto Argonauts: 2009

    • Hamilton Tiger-Cats: 2009

    • Team USA: 2009
      Played vs France in Nice (Nizza) on July 4, 2009

    • Basel Meanmachine: 2009
      SAFV (Switzerland)

    Guess he's coming to Canada since it's the only place he hasn't played.

    Defensive tackle Lincoln Bryan, who was a highly regarded recruit at U of T, and former York receiver Kevin Walsh are also bound for the Dog Pound. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
  • Sticking with SMU, the Fredericton Daily Gleaner's David Ritchie talked to the hockey Huskies' coach Trevor Stienburg about Mike Danton's debut and had a sympathetic take.
    " 'People don't get it. This is not about what's best for the Saint Mary Huskies,' says Stienburg. 'I don't know of any guy added after Christmas who's had much of an impact. I can't name you one guy. It just doesn't happen in this league. Maybe the next year, yeah. We've got what, five or six games left? We've already got a pretty good hockey team. If it was simply a hockey decision, I would say yeah, wait until next year. But this is not what this is about.' "
    Someone send that along to the drive-by media, presuming they can tear themselves away from pictures of shirtless Chicago Blackhawks in the back of a limo.

  • Chris Whitley (Lakehead) was goalie of the week for the third time this season in the Central league. Whitley is playing for the Allen Americans.
  • Waterloo coach Tom Kieswetter has picked up a commitment from a hometown 6-foot-7 forward, Jake Robinet from Sir John A. Macdonald. (CWOSSA Basketball)

  • Western also announced a commitment from 6-foot-5 forward Peter Scholtes out of London Oakridge, which is a regular contender for the Ontario triple-A title.
Some 47 weeks later, the Ottawa Gee-Gees will take another crack at solving the Kevin McCleery situation.

The Ravens big man is a good focal point for Wednesday's MNBA Capital Hoops Classic between No. 2 Carleton and No. 5 Ottawa. Mentioning how McCleery cleaned up in last season's installments of the Canal War, averaging 22 points as the Ravens went 3-0 vs. Ottawa, segues into how it (stress, might) unfold at Scotiabank Place.

By Rob's reckoning, based on points for and against and Simple Rating System, we have a rough idea that Carleton might come out on top by something like a 78-70 score. There is a lot of leeway within that, enough to count on a close game.

The Gee-Gees offer a great story line with their guard combo of CIS assists leader Josh Gibson-Bascombe (pictured) and three-point ace Donnie Gibson, the only two Gee-Gees who have experienced a win over Carleton at Scotiabank Place. Ottawa has more than a puncher's chance with WWJD (Warren Ward, Josh and Donnie). However, Carleton can utilize McCleery and its array of shooters to set the pace, which might ultimately be the tipping point.

The risk here is dwelling too much on past performance. The rub there is Carleton-Ottawa always seems like a resumption of a Risk game that's been going on for years, rather than a stand-alone event. You wonder where the coaching staffs keep the board when they're not playing, like Kramer and Newman in that Seinfeld episode.

You don't need any reminder of how Carleton plays. This post is part about gauging how the game might go and part reflecting on how Dave Smart has adapted its controlled offence to the 24-second shot clock CIS switched to 2½ seasons ago.

There were articles written in 2006 about how coaches were four-square against lopping six seconds off the shot clock. Some reports said almost 90 per cent of the coaches were against going to the FIBA rules, worrying it would lead to sloppy play.

At that time, others wondered if the switch could be called the "Carleton rule." People were used to seeing the Ravens win national titles, pulling one 52-49 and 60-47 game out of the fire after another. Their run to their fifth title included some bumps in the road courtesy some up-tempo teams. Ottawa swept the regular-season series and York also won at the Ravens' Nest, scoring 61 points in a single half.

It was reasonable to wonder if the running teams such as coach Dave DeAveiro's Gee-Gees might make out like bandits with the change. Instead, Carleton is 6-0 vs. Ottawa in the 24-second shot clock era. The Gee-Gees, who are averaging a fairly typical for them 83.4 points, have been held to 73 or less in each of those games. The game was supposed to have been sped up, but the team which plays the patient game, drawing out each possession to get a good look, still has the upper hand.

Someone might interject and say, well, Carleton clearly has started to run more. It is easy to think that since the Ravens have averaged 85, 89.1 and 85.8 points (the latter through 14 games this season) since the 24-second shot clock was introduced, a big jump from the prior three seasons (73.4, 77 and 77).

However, they still have one of the lowest Pace Factors in the OUA. What has happened is Carleton is really good at scoring more in fewer possessions. This season has been pretty illustrative. Carleton is leading the country in field-goal percentage while taking 40% of their attempts from outside the 3-point line, which is also the highest percentage in the country.

That is a unique double. You can say Carleton is in love with the three-pointer, but when a team makes an absurd 58% of its twos, it's practically entitled to such an enthusiasm. UBC, which is second in overall field-goal percentage, is making 53% of its twos, for point of comparison. (Ottawa is about 48% on two-pointers while having played the exact same schedule as the Ravens.)

A lot of that is having post players who can pass. Watching Carleton's games on videocast, McCleery seems to have become a stronger finisher and more adept at passing to an open teammate when the double team comes. He's borderline unguardable.

Stats don't win games, athletes do, but hopefully this helps show what Carleton has going for it on Wednesday. They will, as is their wont, slug the ball inside to McCleery, and if a shot doesn't present itself, they'll get it out to three-point marksmen such as Mike Kenny (making almost 50% of his threes since New Year's) and Elliot Thompson, who hit some big buckets off the bench in last season's Hoops Classic and is now higher up in Smart's rotation.

McCleery, averaging 15.6 points and shooting a CIS-best 63% from the floor, had his way with Ottawa last season. The Gee-Gees' best interior defender, Dax Dessureault, has graduated and Ottawa is now less seasoned at the 5-spot with 6-10 Matt Riendeau and 6-9 Louis Gauthier, tagging off at centre.

There is a lot to like about Ottawa. Gibson-Bascombe (19.9 points, 6.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 3.1 steals) is having a season no one should soon forget, even if he is going to get Brannaganed in end-of-season awards (the new new term for a player who is passed over for individual honours). Ward's averages, 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds, rank favourably with any second scoring option. Ottawa has the talent to win this, but there are other factors.

People say they don't know how young athletes will react to a new situation, but Carleton seems to have a good track record in such matters. They don't take anyone lightly; like Smart says, once he's gone through video and witnessed what other teams are capable of, it's usually an easy sell to get his players to realize they'll lose if they don't play all-out. They'll be able to run lots of defenders at JGB, who typically has to play the full 40 minutes when Ottawa goes up against a higher-ranked team.

This is the first Capital Hoops Classic for the frosh small forward, Tyson Hinz, and Willy Manigat will be the first to play in it for both Ottawa and Carleton. Third-year Ravens such as Thompson, Aaron Chapman, Cole Hobin and Kyle Smendziuk are all in expanded roles compared to this time last winter.

It is a bit of a cherry-pick to say Carleton lost to Lakehead on the last weekend before the break and Ottawa won by 40 in the same gym the next night. Subsequent events have suggested Lakehead is too up and down to serve as a true measuring stick.

It should be a good one, but Carleton is a wee bit better.

(Rob's reasoning. Carleton's average PF/PA this year are 86-60, plus-26; Ottawa is 83-67, plus-16. So right away Carleton is ten points "ahead." And by SRS, Carleton is 7.9 points better than Ottawa, so take the average of those to get about a nine-point differential. All numbers are rounded for simplicity.

Then average 86, 60, 83, and 67 (the points for/against from each team) to get a 74-point baseline, then add half of 9 (the differential) to Carleton's score and subtract half of 9 for Ottawa.

In the end, I get a prediction of Carleton 78, Ottawa 70 for the men. For the women, it works out to a 65-58 Carleton win. Again, it's a very rough idea.)
This week's quick glance at the mid-week matchups in the OUA West for January 27th:


Waterloo (3-11) at Western (10-4)

The Mustangs are riding Amanda Anderson's potential MVP season to a 10-4 record with what would appear to be a soft part of the schedule coming up against Waterloo on Wednesday, and Laurier on Saturday. I'm not sure that the Warriors will be able to compete with the Mustangs on Wednesday night, despite fine play of late from rookies Tori Lee, Erin Tilley, and Laura Bossers. Western is coming off of a loss to McMaster, and I see them winning this one by at least 15 points. Look out for Mustangs newcomer Jacklyn Selfe, a transfer from Troy University .

McMaster (9-5) at Guelph (2-12)

Don't look now, but with their win over Western on Saturday, the McMaster Marauders are now in 3rd place in the West. This team is strong, and with Taylor Smith (Not Taylor Swift, as she was listed last week at WLU) leading the team, Angela Orton's young Gryphons squad will be no match for them. Mac wins this by 18-20 points, despite a great matchup in the front court of Jasmine Douglas and Taylor Chiarot.

Laurier (7-7) at Brock (8-6)

Both of these teams are stuck in that log jam in the middle of the standings, fighting for playoff position. The Golden Hawks had a coming out party on Saturday for 4th year guard Mallory Kohlmeier, who scored 31 points vs. Waterloo, coming just 1 point shy of the team record set by WLU great Meghan McGrath. The Hawks have won 3 in a row, including a win over Mac, while the Badgers have lost 2 of 3, with their only win being a blowout of Waterloo. The Hawks will make it 4 in a row with a road win.


Waterloo (8-6) at Western (7-7)

Let's call this matchup the Battle of Inconsistency. Both of these teams have shown flashes of brilliance, and threatened to challenge Windsor and Lakehead for one of those coveted first round playoff byes, but they have both looked horrible at times, as well. Waterloo has been struggling mightily on the road, save for a win at Windsor, and they'll need to come out strong in London if they want to be taken seriously again. Western will be looking to avenge a 29-point loss on Saturday to McMaster, and they'll need Ryan Barbeau, Garrett Olexiuk, and Andrew Wedemire to be that 1-2-3 punch they count on regularly. Too close to pick.

McMaster (8-6) at Guelph (5-9)

McMaster looked to shut up their detractors and critics (guilty as charged) with a near-30-point victory over the Western Mustangs on Saturday. As we've seen all season long with almost every team, big wins have been followed by big losses. Can a desperate Gryphons team that has been surging of late, pull off the upset here? I think they can, but I'm not sure they will. Keep this in mind, if Chris O' Rourke's Gryphons can win, then despite the result of the WLU-Brock game, they'll only be 2 points out of a potential playoff spot. And they DID beat Lakehead on the road last week...and nearly swept them.

Laurier (6-8) at Brock (6-8)

A key matchup for both teams fighting for the playoffs. The Hawks' Jesse McDonald just passed the 1000-point mark in his career, but I think he'll have his hands full with Badgers rookie Clinton Springer-Williams. Brock is tough to beat at home, and I think the Badgers will scrape this one in single digits.

And let's be honest...is there any true fan out there who isn't looking forward to this weekend's Lakehead-Windsor double header?
As noted, Mike Danton will play his first game for No. 7 Saint Mary's against No. 4 Acadia on Wednesday (6 p.m. ET, and there is an audio stream).
"There's talk coach Trevor Stienburg may put him in Saint Mary's second line with a couple of high-scoring wingers.

Saint Mary's and Acadia are duking it out for second place in the Atlantic conference and a quarter-final bye in the playoffs."
You may click through this site's take on it; just be clicking the convenient "Mike Danton" label.

Danton to make CIS debut (The Canadian Press)
Fraser Valley, in former Brandon coach Barnaby Craddock's third season, is 8-6, good for four place in Canada West Pacific (a half-game behind Trinity Western and a half-game ahead of Victoria, which they visit this weekend).

There was some thought to breaking out a longer post after the young Cascades (whose entire roster can return next season) beat Saskatchewan 80-77 on a bucket by forward Kyle Grewal with 8.9 seconds left, but two days later, a fair settlement seems to be point to a colourful written piece from the Abbotsford News about Grewal's shame-to-glory performance:
" ... by the time the final buzzer had sounded, Grewal's stock was through the roof. He spent much of the fourth quarter stapled to the bench, but Craddock went back to him in the waning minutes, and Grewal delivered with a pair of clutch shots – including the game-winning basket – in the Cascades' thrilling 80-77 victory.

"Craddock's post-game analysis of Grewal's turnaround from goat to hero recalled the classic line from the 1994 comedy flick Dumb and Dumber, spoken by Jeff Daniels to Jim Carrey: "Just when I think you couldn't be any dumber, you go and do something like this ... and totally redeem yourself!"

" 'I was a little upset with a few of his mental lapses throughout the game, but we'll forgive him for making a couple of big shots at the end,' Craddock said with a smile. 'I thought he redeemed himself.' "
As noted, the Cascades' two-game series vs. Victoria will provide a much better measuring stick. At this point, it's hard to tell if they're for real. Their six losses have been by an average of 19.7 points, while their margins of victory have been narrower than you would like to see (two points over Thompson Rivers, nine over Winnipeg, three over Manitoba).

Still, the team from Abbotsford bears watching. They have a coach, Craddock, who was in the national final in 2007 with Brandon, a lot of young talent (Grewal, Sam Freeman), a point guard who has the game to match his name, Zeon Gray, and Cascades is just a cool-sounding name. To reference another 1990s Farrelly Brothers film, there's something about UFV.

Grewal comes up clutch for Cascades (Dan Kinvig, Abbotsford News)
Lethbridge @ UBC
It was a big weekend out on the coast for the Lethbridge Pronghorns this weekend, as they picked up a big series sweep over the T-Birds in Vancouver to keep themselves in the playoff race.

Friday night the 'Horns were backstopped by a tremendous 42 save performance by Scott Bowles along with a pair of three-point games from Brian Matte and outstanding rookie Adam Chorneyko. Matte's two goals bookended the scoring, as he got Lethbridge on the board at the 6:09 mark of the first period, and capped off the night with an empty-netter to secure a 5-2 win. Lethbridge's netminder Bowles was the difference early on, as he stopped 20 of 21 shots in the first period of play, allowing his team to take a 2-1 lead out of the first.

In the second game of the series, it was all Lethbridge, as they steam-rolled the T-Birds in an 8-0 rout. Lethbridge was paced by Chorneyko who netted a hat-trick to go along with two assists. With the five-point performance, Chorneyko moved only a single point back of Alberta's Sean Ringrose (25 points) for the rookie scoring lead, and leads the league in rookie goal scoring with 13 - four more than Ringrose. Bowles stopped all 31 shots he faced Saturday for his first shutout of the season.

The wins, coupled with Saskatchewan's pair of overtime defeats against Alberta means that Lethbridge picked up two points on the Huskies in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot. The 'Horns now sit two points back of the Huskies, with Saskatchewan holding two games in hand.

Lethbridge has a bye next weekend before opening the month of February in Edmonton against Alberta, while UBC remains at home this coming weekend to take on Saskatchewan.

#8 Manitoba @ Calgary
In a pivotal pair of games in the race for second place in the conference, the Bisons and Dinos split their weekend series in Calgary.

In the opener, the Dinos raced out to a 4-0 nothing lead thanks to a pair of goals from Torrie Wheat, en route to an eventual 6-1 win over the Herd. Calgary went two for two with the man advantage, while the Bisons couldn't capitalize on their two PP chances. For the Bisons, the six goals allowed were the most on the season, as starting goaltender Steve Christie got pulled after 40 minutes, as he surrendered five goals on 21 shots.

With both sides sitting at 24 points coming into the game, sole possession of second place was on the line Saturday night in the Stampede City. After falling behind 1-0 thanks to an Aaron Richards power play marker for the Dinos, Manitoba came back with a trio of second period goals to race out to a 3-1 lead, eventually holding on on for a 3-2 win.

By salvaging the split, the Bisons hold onto the inside track for home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Manitoba is set to host Alberta this coming weekend, looking to stall the Bears from clinching first place, while Calgary heads to the Queen City to take on the Cougars.

#2 Alberta @ Saskatchewan
Looking to end the Huskies home-ice dominance, the Bears headed to Rutherford Rink in Saskatoon for a pair of games. Entering the weekend series, the Huskies were a perfect 8-0-0 within the happy confines of Rutherford Rink, while Alberta rolled into town riding an 11-game conference winning streak.

Friday night in Toon Town, after two relatively tame periods that saw the Bears take a 2-1 lead into the third, things really opened up in the final 20 minutes as Saskatchewan stormed back with three goals in a span of 2:56 early in the third to take a 4-2 lead. Saskatchewan looked poised to continue their home-ice dominance before Alberta got goals from and Brian Woolger and Jesse Gimblett who scored his second of the game to even the score at 4-4. The game would need overtime, and on the first shift of the extra frame, CW leading scorer Chad Klassen found a pinching Kyle Fecho in the Saskatchewan zone, as he made no mistake from point-blank range, beating Saskatchewan 'tender Jeff Harvey upstairs over an outstretched glove.

Saturday night proved to be another dramatic contest between the bitter rivals, as this time it was the Bears who would blow a two goal, third period lead, as Saskatchewan got goals from Kyle Ross and David Linsley to even the score at 3-3, forcing overtime for the second straight night. Once again OT was over almost as soon as it started, as this time Klassen found linemate Derek Ryan, as Harvey got a piece of Ryan's wrister but not enough, as the Bears eked out a 4-3 win.

The wins pushed the Bears that much closer to clinching first overall, as they can accomplish that feat next weekend in Winnipeg against the Bisons. Saskatchewan now finds themselves only two points up on fifth place Lethbridge, as the Sled Dogs head to UBC next weekend looking to get over a pair of heartbreaking OT losses.
The story in the AUS of course is that the UNB Varsity Reds keep rolling along and are now undefeated in 21 games. Friday night in Moncton the V-Reds scored both on the power play and shorthanded in the first period before having two goals called back. UNB added another goal in the second period and then late in the period UdeM's Alexandre Soucy, who has been a thorn in the side for the V-Reds every meeting this season, induced Josh Kidd to drop the gloves after they got tangled up. The fight didn't last long, as the 6-foot-2 Soucy soon had his hands full with the 6'5” Kidd, and he quickly attempted to tie up his opponent and wait for the linesmen to come in. Both picked up majors and a game misconduct and were suspended for their next game. UdeM played desperate hockey in the third period and did manage one goal, but UNB held on for the 3-1 win.

Saturday night UNB's game against STU was not a goalies' night, as both starters ended up getting yanked. UNB dominated the early play during the 16th annual Lou Chabot Memorial Game, with UNB captain Kyle Bailey scoring just over two minutes in. The Tommies caught a break when rookie UNB defenceman Ben Wright was given a five minute major checking from behind penalty and automatic game misconduct for a hit that didn't look that severe. Within seconds former V-Red Tyler Dietrich tied the game up, only to see Bailey score shorthanded 14 seconds later, and then UNB kill off the rest of the major. Three-quarters the way through the period the Tommies scored two goals in 35 seconds, and CIS male athlete-of-the-week Travis Fullerton was hauled out of the UNB net. Go figure. In the second period Bailey scored on the power play to complete his natural hat trick, and then the V-Reds lost another defenceman when rookie Spencer Corcoran picked up two and ten for a blow to the head penalty. UNB scored shorthanded, added another goal and chased STU's Charles Lavigne. Bailey greeted Ben MacFarlane with his fourth goal and his teammates added another to make five goals in the period. Lavigne was back in nets to start the third period, and STU did get a power play goal, but UNB replied with two of their own with the man advantage. UNB outshot STU 39-26 in the 9-4 victory. UNB can now finish no worse than second place and have secured a first round playoff bye.

I should mention that UNB did lose a game this week, their first loss against a university opponent. On Tuesday they lost 4-1 to the NCAA's Maine Black Bears in a close game where the Maine special teams were the difference: Maine was 2-for-5 on the PP while UNB went 0-for-5 without Hunter Tremblay in the line-up.

Wednesday night in Halifax Dalhousie was up 3-1 after the first period and chased StFX's Bryan Gillis from the nets. The Tigers held on for the 5-4 upset victory, despite being outshot 39-28. The Dal victory made the STU-UdeM game Wednesday a must-win for both teams. Les Aigles Bleus scored five goals in the middle period, with veteran Mathieu Bétournay scoring twice, and they cruised to a 6-4 win, pushing STU into seventh place.

St. Thomas rebounded back home Friday night, with Tyler Dietrich notching a hat trick, linemate Kenton Dulle scoring twice and Devan Praught adding a pair of goals in a wild game that finished 8-6 for STU over UPEI. However the Tommies couldn't gain any ground on Dal, who crafted another upset Friday night as they scored four unanswered goals, including the winner by rookie Jordan Berk on an overtime power play, to complete the comeback against Acadia for a 4-3 victory. Josh Disher was strong in the Dal net, as his team was outshot 46-31 by the Axemen. Christmas addition Benjamin Breault had two goals for Dalhousie, and now has six goals in seven games since joining the Tigers. The other game Friday saw Saint Mary's defeat StFX 4-2 with Cody Thorton scoring twice. He now has 21 goals this season and leads the AUS.

Saturday night in the Battle of Halifax the Huskies ended the Tigers' brief upset streak. Cam Fergus scored four times as SMU dominated Dal, outshooting them 47-31 in the 7-3 victory. Acadia didn't blow their lead Saturday, as Ryan Graham scored twice and the Axemen outshot the X-Men 45-17 in the 4-0 win. Kris Westblom got the shutout for Acadia. Moncton was up 4-0 before the midpoint of their game against UPEI and held on for the 5-1 win with Mathieu Bétournay once again scoring twice.

Looking ahead, Acadia is at SMU in the battle for second place in the AUS on Wednesday night. The game may also see the debut of Mike Danton in the Huskies line-up. SMU is then at UNB on Friday night and UPEI on Saturday. Acadia sees UPEI Friday before UNB on Saturday. Moncton is at StFX and then Dalhousie on the weekend while St. Thomas sees the same two teams on opposite nights and pretty well has to win both games to stay in playoff contention.
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