Women's hockey: Top 10 tracker: Several top-10 matchups highlight the (sort of) first week of 2010

Teams are ranked by Simple Rating System (SRS) based on regular-season games only, with the most recent CIS ranking in parentheses.

This isn't really the first week of 2010, since four teams have already played games from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, but it's close enough. Some highlights of the week that was: Montreal-Carleton, Laurier-York, Queen's-Guelph, X-Moncton, Dal-Moncton.

  1. McGill (1): Host Ottawa and Concordia, 13th and 15th in SRS, Friday and Saturday. The Gee-Gees led for a whole period in the first one, but McGill answered with two powerplay goals in the second and another in the third among their four total to win 4-2. Caroline Hill either scored or assisted on every Martlet goal, and she's still only the fourth-highest scorer on the team. A goal and assist from Vanessa Davidson led the Marlets to a 3-0 win against the Stingers, which seems kind of close for a McGill game. Useless fun fact: McGill beat Ottawa by six goals the first time they met, five goals the second time, and two goals this weekend. Against Concordia, they won by five, then three, then three. It's too clever by half to call that a trend.

  2. Alberta (3): Home-and-home with Calgary. Friday night, Calgary tied it at 1 with 13 to go in the third, then the Pandas scored the winner a minute-plus later. The Dinos managed just 12 shots all night; Alberta had 20 in the second period alone, so credit to Calgary 'tender Jennifer Mallard, named the first star. One wonders how different the outcome would have been had Calgary managed to get one across on their seven minutes and 23 seconds of powerplay time in the first period (including 1:37 of 5-on-3). Saturday's game (in Edmonton) was actually less one-sided, albeit with a 6-1 final score, because five of those came in the third. There was also a hat trick for Tarin Podloski, now tied for the most goals in CIS with 16.

  3. Laurier (2): At home against No. 10 York and Toronto on Saturday and Sunday. I'm going to assume the boxscore is incorrect and that the Lions and Hawks did not combine for one shot in the entire third period, and that both goalies did not simultaneously leave the nets after Laurier scored their third and final goal in a 3-1 win. (Rest is fine, as Craig Silverman would say.) The Hawks then hung on against Toronto for 53 and a half minutes after Kaley Powers' first-period goal to win 1-0 on Sunday. It's the eighth shutout for Liz Knox already this year.

  4. Montreal (8): Hosted Carleton on Sunday, and les Carabins shut them out. One goal in the first half of each period led to a 3-0 win, with 1 goal, 1 assist from both Kim Deschênes, a top-10 scorer nationwide, and Amanda Lalande, both of whom are listed as first-year players in CIS.

  5. Carleton (NR): The Ravens and Carabins are in the top 5 mostly because they've played McGill so much, not necessarily because three of the top 5 teams in the country are in the Q. That said, Carleton plays Montreal and Ottawa, the latter at home (I think). Against Ottawa, it was the old "score a goal at 13:47 of the third to tie it then score at 19:57 to win it" trick that did in the Ravens. Not the greatest night percentage-wise for Valerie Charbonneau, who let in 4 of 20. Carleton then lost to Montreal as noted above, 3-0.

  6. Queen's (7): Travel to southern Ontario for games against Guelph and Brock, the first of which should be a decent matchup. Becky Conroy put it away with 90 seconds to go in the game when she scored shorthanded, denying the Gryphons a shot at pulling within one in this 4-1 final. She also scored the Golden Gaels' second goal, giving her the second-most points in the country behind Podloski. The Gaels then went to, and won in, a shootout against Brock, after falling behind 2-0 in the first. All but one official goal was scored on the powerplay, leaving just Elizabeth Kench's second of the game, which came with 2:18 left in the third and tied it at 2.

  7. Manitoba (4): Welcome the 3-9 Lethbridge Pronghorns for two. Won the first 2-1, with five players each grabbing one point. The boxscore says no penalties were assessed in the third, yet the writeup says five were. Presumably one is correct. The Bisons then won the second 4-0, but the boxscore says 2-0. Tammy Brade had a hat trick, but the boxscore says she scored only one (and couldn't have had three). The writeup says she scored twice in the third. Presumably one is correct.

  8. Saskatchewan (9): Idle.

  9. St. F-X (5): Our lone top-10 rep from the AUS is one of the few teams playing two good (on-paper) games, with one against STU and the other against Moncton (the Aigles are 12th overall). The Tommies went down 4-1, Jessica Shanahan scoring twice and Abygail Laking adding three points, but Moncton pulled out the win with a goal 25 seconds into overtime on Sunday. Before the extra period, Laking scored another in the 20-shot second period for the X-Women, which nearly tripled their shot total in any other period of the game.

  10. York (11): The Lions do the Waterloo trip, with one at WLU and another at UW. The Laurier game is covered off above; the Waterloo game was a 6-1 win and since the boxscore isn't posted on the CIS site yet, I'll just leave it at that.

The Gryphons just missed this top 10; they are 10th in the CIS rankings and lost to the Gaels as noted above, after beating UOIT 7-2 on Thursday. Another "honourable mention" team are the Aigles Bleues, who beat Dal 4-2 (in Halifax) and then beat St. F-X Sunday.

Our top ten for this week is McGill, Alberta, Laurier, Montreal, Queen's, Carleton, York, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Guelph, but the first four are quite a bit ahead of the next six and the Martlets are way ahead of everybody. St. F-X, still the highest AUS team, is only 11th. York and Queen's play on Saturday night in what appears to be the only top-10 matchup.
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  1. Hey Rob,

    Good piece, but after watching the Ravens blow the lead on Saturday night, a game that saw them take a 2-0 first period lead and play nearly 7 straight minutes in the middle of the second on the powerplay (with four minutes being the 5 on 3 variety) I think you've ranked them way too high in the Top 10.

    I didn't like what I saw on Saturday with the Blackbirds and right now I think they should be lower in your top 10.

    Montreal is a pretty good CIS team, except this - it's one dimensional - meaning you stop the big line led by Kim Deschênes, you're going to win - I think that teams like Queen's could give them a rough time if they get to nationals (the two teams).

    Now, here is where I might rock the boat a little... I'd suggest that Alberta should be ranked number one. Here's why:

    McGill's game against Ottawa they had to score a late PP goal to beat a Gee-Gees team that is not in the same class as the Martlets... Yes, Anne-Sophie Bettez was overseas at a tournament, but I don't think that her absence alone was the difference - if it was, then the Martlets will get upset somewhere along the line.

    I like Alberta's depth right now and Howie's got the girls going at a pretty good clip.

    Otherwise, I can't see where your and my top-10 differ. BTW- I am happy to see you dropped Guelph out of the top-10 after their performance last week.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, John. Carleton is probably way too high, but my top 10 is purely numerical, since I can't have an informed opinion on all 29 programs across the country. Teams are credited, in part, based on how much their opponents beat up other teams, which means any Q team will benefit from McGill greatly. (If I find the time to track down interconference results, I will, and that will change things.)

    If it lets you sleep better at night, Carleton is all the way down at 24th out of 29 in RPI, but I trust RPI very little in this situation (no interconference, small sample size, and a 5-1 win is much different than a 2-1 win).

  3. Ah I see - I thought you were ranking teams in order LOL! The inter-conference stuff really is only a couple of weekends between AUS, OUA and QSSF during the season and a couple of mid-season tournaments unfortunately.

    What I'm most interested in is what happens next year when Ottawa and Carleton head to the OUA - for a reason that I cannot understand from a student-athlete perspective. I mean right now your farthest road game is 2-hours away and you don't have to do any over night trips unless you play back-to-back in the same city. Next year, they will be playing as far a way as Windsor. ARGH!

    Anyways, I'm interested in seeing how that plays out as we might end up with inter-conference regular season play at some point to make the QSSF season meaningful. but it will be interesting to see if the OUA asks for the additional berth like they do in men's hockey.

    Thanks for your thoughts on women's hockey as all too often, it's a sport that is forgotten by many in the CIS! :)


  4. No, the list in the last paragraph of the original post is actually in order. RPI (which puts Carleton 24th) isn't being used here, just SRS (which puts Carleton a too-high 6th). But as I explained earlier, I don't have the comprehensive knowledge to be able to base this on my opinions, and so I include the CIS Top 10 as a sanity check on my rankings, like Carleton's #5 showing last week.

    Besides, Carleton's not a top 10 team, but why not track the performance of McGill's Q division-mates? They will have played the best team more often than anyone else once the season is over, right?

  5. I'm not sure if the teams in the Q will play more games against a top team as I believe the CW teams play four games against each opponent (2 home, 2 away) so in theory teams who play Alberta and Manitoba all the time could make that claim as well.

    What I love about the Q is that we are starting to see the teams close the gap on McGill sorta the way that teams closed the gap on Toronto about 10 years ago in the OUA and we eventually saw WLU take over as the dominate team!

    A team in the Q which I think could pose problems for others, if they could ever score a goal, is Concordia - they play a solid defensive game, maybe to the point that they suffer offensively.

    Ottawa has impressed me over the past month - close game against McGill, come from behind win over Carleton but also the shutout of Saskatchewan at the SAIT tournament over the holidays. Good goaltending will do that and I think they're going to settle on Auger the rest of the way.

    What are your thoughts on the Golden Hawks and Queen's in the OUA?

  6. I've only seen WLU play once this year, against Guelph two months ago, so it's kind of a biased sample (those teams hate each other and behave accordingly). I think Knox's quickness is tough to overcome in goal, though, and a team as good as the Gryphs had to fight just to keep it close (which they did, but it seemed like they were running at 99% of their ability all game).

    Have to pass on Queen's, at least until they come here in February.

  7. An updated top 10, including any interconference games played by any of the top teams, ranked by SRS:

    1. McGill
    2. Laurier
    3. Montreal
    4. Alberta
    5. Queen's
    6. Carleton
    7. York
    8. Guelph
    9. StFX
    10. Ottawa

    This is clearly favouring the Q: all five teams are in the top 12!