Hockey: Men's Top 10 tracker; UNB holds off Acadia

UNB 'tender Travis Fullerton made 47 saves on Saturday night to keep the Varsity Reds perfect with a 2-1 win at Acadia.

The other six ranked teams which played at least twice this weekend have all lost (and so did UQTR in its lone game). Crazy week.

Depending on how much voters value a close loss to a higher-ranked team, there might be cause for Acadia to overtake No. 3 Western, which had a blah homestand. The Axemen are now 13-1-1 in AUS games against teams not coached by Gardiner McDougall.

Some would argue for Acadia to be No. 2, although that hinges on whether you think Alberta should get nudged out when it did not play.

The Mustangs' goaltending minus Anthony Grieco — five goals allowed on 21 shots — had a letdown, causing the No. 3 Mustangs to lose 6-4 at home to UOIT, the last-place team in the OUA West. So much for the Mustangs' 16-game regular-season win streak!

All RPI rankings are through last week:
  1. UNB Varsity Reds (160, all 16 first-place votes) (29-0, 19-0-0 AUS, 1st in RPI)
    Won twice on road over ranked foes (6-1 over No. 8 Saint Mary's, 2-1 over No. 4 Acadia despite being outshot by a factor of two).

    The pair of one-goal defensive games also lowered UNB's goals-against average to below 2.00 (37 GA in 19 games). Ben Shutron — former Kingston Frontenac! — had four points vs. Saint Mary's.

  2. Alberta Golden Bears (142) (21-3, 16-1-1 CW, 2nd RPI) — Bye week.

  3. Western Mustangs (126 (19-6, 17-3-0 OUA-W, t-3rd RPI) — Beat York 4-2 (with an empty-netter) to end up batting .500 for their homestand. Lost 6-4 to last-place UOIT on Friday.

    Friday, Kyle Wetering got the game-winner with 11:04 left to put the Ridgebacks ahead for good. Western is two points ahead of Laurier with a game in hand, so it's still got a cushion as long as it beats York.

    Keyvan Hunt got the hook vs. UOIT after allowing three goals on 11 shots. Mid-season pickup Josh Unice allowed two on 10 the rest of the way. Western has allowed just 50 goals in 19 OUA contests, so let's treat the UOIT loss as more of a one-off.

  4. Acadia Axemen (103) (16-9, 13-4-1 AUS, 9th RPI) — Split two 2-1 decisions, winning the one you'd expect (vs. UPEI) and losing the one you'd expect (vs. UNB).

  5. McGill Redmen (100) (21-8-1, 16-3-0 OUA-E, 6th RPI) — Split a pair of one-goal games at home, losing 3-1 to Carleton (with an empty-netter) on Saturday after holding off UQTR 2-1 one night earlier.

    Carleton's Alex Archibald stopped 36-of-37 shots in a game Carleton (11-6-1 OUA East) neeeded to stay ahead in the third-place race i the division. They managed to solve McGill's normally awesome penalty kill, since Ryan Berard's game-winner was on the PP.

    Friday, Hubert Morin stopped 35 shots in a tense tilt with the Patriotes; Marc-Andre Daneau got the game-winner just moments after UQTR had tied the game.

  6. UQTR Patriotes (71) (16-6, 14-3-1 OUA-E, t-3rd RPI) — Lost 2-1 to McGill on Friday; play the Redmen again next Wednesday.

  7. Saint Mary's Huskies (58) (15-10, 10-5-3 AUS, 8th RPI) — Are 0-2 since the Mike Danton story hit the media. Lost at home to UPEI (4-3) and No. 1 UNB (6-1).

  8. Manitoba Bisons (40) (18-8, 11-5-2 CW, 5th RPI) — Home split vs. UBC (3-0 loss, 5-2 win). Rookie Ian Duval scored the game-winner in the second game.

    Jordan White kicked out all 30 shots in that 3-0 Thunderbirds win (or "three-zero" for all the P.J. Stock fans ... both of you) on Friday.

  9. Laurier Golden Hawks (37) (16-8, 14-4-2 OUA-W, 11th RPI) — Doubled Brock 4-2 on Friday.

  10. Saskatchewan Huskies (15) (13-12, 10-7-1 CW, 12th RPI) — Split home-and-home with Regina (3-2 loss on road, 5-3 win at home).
Outside the Top 10:
  • Nipissing, which split a pair in Kingston, was further snakebitten during a 5-2 loss to Queen's. Forward Adam McAllister got injured while playing in his hometown.

  • Matt Caria, Matt Dias and Kris Hogg each had two goals and a helper when Lakehead beat Windsor 8-6 on Friday. The Thunderwolves swept the Lancers, scoring eight in each game.

  • Ottawa goalie Aaron Barton stopped 7-of-8 shootout attempts to get his first win for the Gee-Gees, 4-3 over Concordia in a battle of the basement on Friday.

    (A couple news names in that boxscore: Former Kingston Frontenacs forward George Lovatsis is playing for Concordia. Ottawa has added Rob Roteliuk, who went by "Robbie" six years ago when someone was writing about his Central Plains AAA midget team for the Portage la Prairie Daily Graphic.)

  • Also receiving votes: Waterloo Warriors (15), Lakehead Thunderwolves (8), St. Francis Xavier (4), Carleton Ravens (1); Saskatchewan was awarded the 10 spot by virtue of getting more higher-placed votes than Waterloo.
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  1. Saskatchewan finally makes its Top-10 debut!

  2. Can't believe it takes this long for McGill and UQTR to play their first game against each other. Carleton can play well and hopefully give McGill a good game.

  3. I find it interesting that Manitoba gets shelled in a two game set in Thunder Bay and remains in the top 10, while Lakehead fails miserably in London and is written off as non- Top 10 material.

    By my thinking, neither team is Top 10 material.

  4. I would put Western much closer to (and maybe even behind) Lakehead, so I'm not sure how the Mustangs stay in the third spot while the Thunderwolves are 12th.

    SMU could also go up a few spots, too.

  5. Rob... I presume you mean Manitoba and not Western.

  6. No, I meant Western. I think y'all are putting too much weight on a pair of games from last weekend. Check out the rankings: Western is only 9th in SRS, a goal behind Saint Mary's, half a goal behind McGill, just behind the U of S, tied in RPI with UQTR (who we know isn't third-best in the country), and most importantly they are behind Lakehead (+1.3 to +1.0).

    I guess what I'm saying is, wait until January 29/30.

  7. I do not really understand all of the rankings, but I do not hold the 2 christmas losses against western. In regular season OUA west play here is how they stack up against Lakehead

    Overall against the "Big Four" in the OUA:
    Western: 6-1
    Lakehead: 1-5

    When it comes to strength of schedule, I think this one settles it definatively for me.

    Against the rest of the teams they are both unbeaten with the exception of a win by Brock against Western and a win by UOIT against Lakehead.

    I look forward to seeing what happens in Thunder Bay as well, and on paper Lakehead fields a RIDICULOUS team, but so far they have been unable to find consistancy. I usually look at teams on paper, but sometimes that fails. By my calculation Waterloo should have no business beating Laurier, Western or Lakehead, but they are unbeaten against Laurier and Lakehead and have been one of only two teams to beat Western this year.

    The fact is, when it comes to regular season play, Lakehead has an easier schedule than both Laurier and Western.

    Laurier: 12 "Hard games" (3 UWO, 3 WAT, 4 LAK, 1 UQTR, 1 McGill)

    Western: 11 "Hard games" (3 WLU, 3 WAT, 4 LAK, 1 UQTR)

    Lakehead: 10 "Hard games" (4 WLU, 4 UWO, 2 WAT)

  8. Lakehead does indeed have a good team on paper, and the goals for supports this.

    That said, if you can't get a save, it doesn't matter how many you put in the net. Goaltending appears to be the weak spot for this club.

    Lakehead could be a real "sleeper" team at the nationals, if and only if the goaltending improves and can steal a game.

  9. I don't know what the status of Anthony Grieco is (he's out with an "upper body injury") but if he's gone for the season, goaltending may be a problem for Western. Keyvan Hunt is very inconsistent and generally not someone who makes his defense feel confident that he'll bail them out. If you followed the Mustangs last year, Brad Topping played in the games that counted. In the first half of the season this year, Grieco, a rookie, took over the #1 spot that was there for Hunt's taking, and Grieco played extremely well.

    There was some press over the Christmas break about Western picking up John Unice...interestingly, he did not play in either game against Lakehead and did not start last night's game against UOIT.

  10. From reading the Lakehead's fans comments, Lakehead was extremely lucky to come out with a win against Windsor. They were outshot 52-34, and scored one on a penalty shot and one empty netter. They apparently had a good 5 minute stretch where they scored 4, but otherwise were completely outplayed. Apparently the lines were sort of thrown together, and there were no real systems in place. That is the only explanation I can think of as to why such a stacked team could be outplayed by Windsor, who no disrespect to them, do not have nearly the resume that almost all of the Lakehead players do.

    I look forward to seeing if Lakehead can bounce back tonight.

    I also look forward to seeing if Western can regain form from this minor blip, and come out with a win against York.

    Carleton also plays McGill tonight.

  11. I don't know if this point has been made, but is it just me or does Lakehead look like a team that is coached by a rookie head coach who is learning on the job? There's no excuse for UL not to be better.

  12. Lakehead appears to be a team who has given up when they finally faced some adversity. sherban was a great offensive player and ok in his own end... his team greatly reflects that. That combined with very poor goal tending all year... this is the result. They will make the playoffs and may even win some games. This is not acceptable for a team in the second year hosting nationals. Can they turn this around? its possible as the potential is there. Will they turn it around? unlikely.

  13. UNB Bruins Fan1/16/2010 10:15 pm

    The new rankings should be quite of this writing the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th ranked teams have all lost atleast once so far this weekend...

  14. Gotta think Acadia will overtake Western for 3rd and also get some 2nd place votes over Alberta in the top 10. Record against everyone but UNB is 13-1-1. Even 2 out of their 3 games with UNB were 1 goal games that could have gone either way. Almost shouldn't count games against UNB, even the NCAA hasn't beaten them this year (3-0 record for UNB against teams south of the border) They have certainly shown they are the 2nd best in the AUS. If it wasn't for UNB's phenominal year...they would no doubt be the talk of the country as the team to beat; however they are overshadowed with UNB putting up such rediculous numbers.

  15. Is it just me or is that RPI rating a little rediculous. 25% based on your adjusted record (based on home/away wins, etc...), 50% based on strength of schedule and 25% based on opponents strength of schedule.....seems like it should be 75% based on record and 25% based on strength of schedule.....way too high based on strength of schedule in my opinion. Acadia is ranked 9th in that system for example even though (according to 11pm post they are 13-1-1 in the AUS against everyone but the best team in the country)...rediculous. Gotta aplaud the effort to create something like this but it definitely needs some work still.

  16. Well, as you likely saw, Acadia was tied for 4th in Simple Ranking System (UNB and Alberta are 1-2, then McGill is a hair better than the Axemen) coming into Saturday's games.

    Just so you know, we didn't invent the formula for RPI. It's been around for like 30 years. It provides some food for thought. We know full well what happens on the ice ultimately decides everything.

    And yes, I double-checked: Three of Acadia's four regulation-time losses in AUS games have been to UNB. Their other two losses were to Saint Mary's (reg.) and St. FX.

    P.S., it's r-I-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s.

  17. Daniel Da Silva1/17/2010 2:02 pm

    Western really needs Grieco to come back soon, because Keyvan Hunt has been awful all season. The Mustangs have needed to put up a lot of goals every game he has played in, and like the game against UOIT, that doesn't always happen. With decent goaltending, 4 goals should be enough for a win.

    Luckily, Unice had a better start against York, so hopefully that will be a sign of things to come from him.

  18. A few random thoughts....

    I agree with the comment above that Acadia should leap over Western in the rankings this week and I also agree that they may indeed be the #2 team in the country. But until or if Alberta loses again, I don't see that happening. Just think, if Acadia had have won that game against UNB on Friday, they'd probably be #2 and Alberta #1.

    I disagree that Lakehead belongs in the top 10 - they need to show some more consistency before they get back in.

    Not to pile on Western's Hunt, but he was the one in net that gave up 8 against Guelph in the Brock tournament over the holidays. Does anyone know Grieco's status?

    While we're on the topic of Guelph - keep an eye on them. They are a good team that just has not been able to put it together on a consistent basis (kind of like Carleton, but Carleton has been better). Guelph has 9 one goal losses and have only lost one game by more than two goals. I think they are capable of taking the division once the playoffs come around (you know how those short series can go).

  19. To the last poster- why would UNB go from first to third because of one "loss". You would think UNB would have a 2-3 game cushion.

  20. Fellas.
    Alberta will lose again, this weekend in Saskatoon!
    Bears have been playing with fire of late and have two in 'Toon Town and two in Winnipeg in the next two weekends.
    Historically very tough places for the Bears to sweep; especially with Alberta already basically securing home ice throughout the play-offs.
    Fully expect the Bears to split both weekends.

    Bob Stauffer

  21. I think that based on the weekend results, Manitoba and Lakehead should be on the outside of the Top 10.

    Manitoba a loss to UBC over the weekend, and the fact they got shelled in Thunder Bay over X-Mas, should put them outside.

    Although Lakehead won both games against a fiesty Windsor team, they didn't look very good and continue to give up a lot of shots. Undisciplined penalties continue to be a problem (Windsor had 2 or 3 five on three powerplays on Saturday).

    Both clubs need a wake-up call.

  22. Lakehead had a solid game on saturday and I would not fault the team for the 5 on 3s. The reffering was terrible. Brewer is the type of ref who feels he needs to be a focus of every game, thus will call odd penalties then let the same thing go depending on how he feels the game is going. 5 - 5 the thunderwolves absolutly dominated windsor on saturday. When brewer decided to get involved and handed out PP after PP that is when windsor was getting the majority of there shots. Also, the shots were mostly from the outside as lakehead played well in their own end. Next weekend will be the weekend to base lakeheads ranking down the strech as they visit brock and laurier.

  23. Ah Robert,
    Always way to hard on the Daumless Bears!
    They havent missed a beat without him.
    In fact this could be one of the best years and teams they have had in years! Just ask Eric!