Hockey: Men's Top 10 tracker; Lakehead sweeps Western

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.
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  1. UNB's game against Acadia on Saturday night is already sold out (3700+ at the AUC) and a big crowd for the Friday game against Saint Mary's was expected before the news that the Mike Danton circus was coming to town. My guess is that it will sell out as well.

  2. Should definitely be rockin this weekend at the AUC!

  3. Western at Lakehead will be sold-out for both nights as well.

    These games are a true test for both clubs. Western needs to split to maintain a stranglehold on first place, while a Lakehead sweep would put them in a tie with Western for the Top spot and go a long way to instilling some confidence in a club that has had a very inconsistent showing this season.

    Lakehead needs to play as if the season is on the line, and a pair of wins might just give them the push needed to be real contenders for the National Championship.

  4. The lead-in to the Western-Lakehead series this weekend is eerily similar to the first time they met. The first time around, Lakehead was coming off two impressive wins against Manitoba and Western had just lost their Christmas tournament games to Brock and Guelph. I thought a Lakehead sweep in the series at Western was a real possibility. Boy was I wrong.

    This time, Western is coming of three pretty mediocre games out of their last four (losses to UOIT and Brock and a yawner against York), while Lakehead was strong in both their games last weekend, and in the second of their two game set against Windsor the week prior. So again, the trend says that you should like Lakehead's chances. However, I get this sense that Western is one of those teams that is able to really turn it up when they need to. We'll find out this weekend....

  5. Here's the Official Hollywood Top 34:

    1 UNB
    2 Alberta

    3 W. Ontario
    4 Manitoba
    5 Acadia
    6 Waterloo
    7 St. Mary's
    8 UQTR
    9 Calgarey
    10 Lakehead
    11 Laurier
    12 Sask
    13 McGill

    14 St. FX

    15 Carleton
    16 Lethbridge
    17 Brock
    18 UPEI
    19 UBC

    20 Regina
    21 Toronto
    22 York
    23 Guelph
    24 St. Thomas

    25 Dalhousie
    26 UOIT
    27 Ryerson
    28 Windsor
    29 Queen's

    30 Moncton
    31 Nipissing
    32 Concordia
    33 RMC
    34 Ottawa

    Look for Brock to drop considerably in next week's poll. Their wins against A level teams were keeping them up there but their 9-0 loss to Guelph will shake things up.

    The OHT34 rankings compare teams across conferences by their records against A, B, and C level opposition. The top 6 have winning records against A level opponents.

    Strength of conference is also a factor. The AUS is 9-1 against the OUA. The CW is 9-3 against the OUA.

    Manitoba and (to a greater extent) Waterloo have been under-rated all year in the official rankings whilst UQTR and McGill have been over-rated. Both are only 2-2 against A level teams and therefore have a small sample size from which to measure. The rest of the top 14 have played 7-10 games against A level teams. UQTR have been doing well and I could have switched themn and SMU. McGill, however, is only 2-2 against B level teams and 1-4-1 in non-conference games.

  6. Thanks, H. Going with a letter grade in place of a ranking makes it seem so much clearer.

    What happened to you, Moncton? You used to be cool.

  7. 3500 at the lakehead western game. Lakehead took it to western all night at both ends of the ice. Very impressive win tonight 4-0. if LU comes out like that tomorrow night look for them to carry that into the playoffs and be a tought test for any team they play. Looks like the rookie coach has taken this team to the next level.

  8. Daniel Da Silva - Gazette1/30/2010 1:30 am

    This is probably old news for some of you, but there is a good chance that Anthony Grieco is done for the season for the Mustangs. That`s really bad news for Western and could pose a big problem in the playoffs.

  9. There has sure been a lot of losing going on over the past few weeks for teams ranked below #2. I don't ever recall anything like this in past seasons. I think the playoffs in the OUA are wide open. The usual suspects will be there, but watch out for Carleton, Guelph, and Waterloo - all three have very quietly been playing well but have been largely under the radar.

    @Daniel. I agree that this is bad news for Western. If you look at Western's past few games, they have been getting scored on early and falling behind, and when they do make a comeback, they allow a goal at the wrong time (check out the summaries on the UOIT and Brock losses). Grieco was preventing both of these situations from happening in the first half of the season, and this is the issue that seems to be one of the big differences for Western now.

  10. Not quite an 0-fer for SMU yet this week...they play UPEI tonight...