The ninth ballot and there might not be more than nine teams worthy of being ranked.

Neate Sager's ballot (numbers in parentheses respectively represent a team's rank in the Oct. 26 CIS-FRC poll and where I slotted it last week):
  1. Laval (9-0 QUFL) (1, 1) — Deaths, taxes and ... actually, how healthy will they be for the Dunsmore Cup and Uteck Bowl?

    Discuss: should old media only use "defending Vanier Cup champions" when Laval is not defending champion?

  2. Saskatchewan (6-2 CW) (3, 2) — Look at that, the Huskies have home field through to the Mitchell Bowl and Laurence Nixon is in good form. Three wins will get them a long-awaited rematch vs. the R & O.

  3. Western (7-1 OUA) (2, 3) — Idle. Will need to get heat on McMaster QB Kyle Quinlan, who had it way too easy with 403 yards total offence in a no-sack, no-interception day in the Marauders' first-round win over Queen's.

  4. Calgary (6-2 CW) (5, 4) — Will have to be road warriors again in order to become Canada West's first three-peat winner since the 2004-06 Huskies .

  5. Ottawa (7-1 OUA) (4, 5) — Will not have to travel until/unless it reaches the Uteck Bowl.

    Getting cornerback-return man
    Chayce Elliott at full speed will help vs. Laurier. Their linebacking group will need to be sharp against Laurier's array of counters and 'long handoff' screens to Dustin Heap and Shamawd Chambers.

  6. Montréal (6-3 QUFL) (8, 7) — Stay classy, Carabins.

  7. McMaster (6-2 reg. season, 1-0 playoffs OUA) (7, 8) — Chewable post-game quote from Marauders coach Stefan Ptaszek following the 40-19 win over Queen's: "Championship teams overcome fumbling the ball at the one-yard line, they overcome making mistakes."

    The question is whether that can be cleaned up or it is ingrained. The Marauders will meed to capitalize nearly every time they get inside the 30-yard line vs. Western. Those Mustangs can reduce the number of possessions each team will have. Avoiding leaving points on the field is especially paramount.

    The glass-half-full is the Marauders scored 40 on Saturday despite needing 26-plus minutes to score their first points at a wind-whipped Ron Joyce Stadium.

    They did stick with it after two fumbles (on the first, Queen's Sam Sabourin made a goal-line strip on receiver Kevin D'Hollander, who later caught two scoring passes) and a field goal off the upright in the scoring zone.

    Mac's defence might need to give Western something it has not seen.

    Second-place teams are 4-2 in the semifinal since the OUA adopted its six-team tournament in 2004.

  8. Sherbrooke (5-4 QUFL) (10, 9) — The French-language schools have a 1-2-3 finish in the Q; would that it was 1-2-3-4, meaning another university would come along to try to pare down Laval.

  9. Laurier (4-4* reg. season, 1-0 playoffs OUA) (11, 10) — The big question is whether the Hawks have developed a system which is only good enough to overcome an opponent of demonstrably lesser talent.

    Credit Laurier for exposing Guelph as a pretender and a poorly organized one to boot.

  10. Regina (5-3 CW) (6, 6) — Having them No. 2 was really a hold-your-nose pick. Two consecutive losses heading into Round 3 vs. the Dinos. The good news is it not a best-of-3 series.

    (Update: regular commenter Vic Ferrari pointed out there is video of the Rams' attempt to mix it up with Saskatchewan during the intros on Friday. A visiting team can still get psyched up for a game and stay on its own sideline. It is tough to stand there during all the pregame hype, but other teams manage to maintain a veneer of civilization.)

    Hockey has a penalty for players who skate across the centre-ice line in warmups. Moving the ball forward or back 15 yards on the opening kickoff would be appropriate.
Dropping out: None.

Andrew Bucholtz's ballot (parentheses represent my rankings from last week)

1. Laval (1)
2. Saskatchewan (2)
3. Western (3)
4. Calgary (4)
5. Ottawa (5)
6. Sherbrooke (7)
7. Saint Mary’s (10)
8. McMaster (8)
9. Montreal (9)
10. Regina (6)

Rationale: My top five from last week all won (Laval, Saskatchewan, Calgary) or had byes (Western, Ottawa), so I kept them as is. The bottom five sees more change. Regina lost big (52-29) to Saskatchewan, so they take a hit; they're still a good team and one that might even find a way to make it out of Canada West, but they've now lost two straight games by a touchdown or more, and I try to take recent form into account. Sherbrooke's won three straight and looked good this week with a 43-8 thumping of McGill; I think they've got a pretty good shot against Montreal in the Quebec semis. There's also a good chance that Saint Mary's is better than everyone seems to think; the Huskies have won five straight, and their three season-opening losses came at Acadia, against Laval and at the "neutral site" of Moncton against Mount Allison, which really was more of a road game. Their early-season conference road losses might not suggest that they've fallen dramatically, but rather that the rest of the AUS teams have improved. It's tough to evaluate how they stack up against the rest of the country, as their only interconference game was against the Rouge et Or, but they certainly look like the class of the AUS conference, and they might just put up a fight in the Mitchell Bowl (if they can avoid upsets in the AUS playoffs). McMaster and Montreal hold steady with wins.

Jared Book's ballot (parentheses represent last week's rankings):

1. Laval (1)
2. Saskatchewan (2)
3. Calgary (3)
4. Montreal (5)
5. Western (6)
6. Regina (4)
7. Sherbrooke (8)
8. Ottawa (7)
9. McMaster (NR)
10. Bishop's (9)

Dropping out: Concordia (10)

Rationale: Pretty self-explanatory. Laval, Saskatchewan and Calgary prove to be the class of the top two conferences in the league. Montreal jumps over Regina, as does Western. I still have Regina over Sherbrooke for now. Sherbrooke and Ottawa flip flop again as they keep impressing me. McMaster moves over Bishop's following their playoff win and Bishop's is 10th until they lose to Laval again in the playoffs. Laurier is 11th for me, but I think the 4th place team from Quebec is better than the 4th place team from Ontario. As for Saint Mary's, they have to beat a team from another conference before showing me they are better than Laurier or Bishop's despite the latter's nose dive in the second half. I am not penalizing Bishop's, by the way, for not having Jesse Andrews because I jinxed them when I said he was the only quarterback not to miss time this season. Sorry, Gaiters.

In the only two CIS games this weekend that featured a pair of top 10 teams going head-to-head, the #1 Alberta Golden Bears and #10 Calgary Dinos delivered a pair of terrific contests in their home-and-home series that saw Alberta escape with two one-goal victories, while the rest of the conference split their weekend sets.

Dinos come up just short

Friday night in the Calgary leg of the home-and-home, the Dinos came up just short of handing Alberta a loss in what was a wild finish at Father David Bauer Arena.

Matt Isbister's goal with only 1:04 to go in the third broke a 3-3 deadlock, with the Dinos poised to score a big win over their provincial rivals - that is before the Bears' Chad Klassen evened the score with only 18 seconds left, sending the game to overtime.

Extra time would solve nothing, with Sean Ringrose scoring the lone shootout goal in the fifth round to give Alberta the entertaining 5-4 win.

Saturday night was another exciting one-goal game, with the Bears securing a 2-1 win. Calgary netminder Kris Lazaruk was stellar in goal for the Dinos, making 33 stops and giving his team a chance to win.

In the end it took a big save from Alberta's Real Cyr who stopped Teegan Moore point-blank with Lazaruk pulled in the third to assure the Green and Gold of the win, in the second game of what was a terrific series.

After looking so-so when these two teams met to open the season, Calgary looked like a much improved squad, and it's apparent Mark Howell has this team moving in the right direction as the calendar flips to November.

'Horns get in the win column

With Brian Matte and Andrew Courtney back in the lineup, the Lethbridge Pronghorns got their first win of the season Friday night at home with an 8-4 victory over the #8 Manitoba Bisons.

Both Matte and Courtney had goals in their returns to the lineup after suffering through injury problems. Scott Bowles wasn't back in action for Lethbridge this weekend, as he continues to nurse an ankle injury.

It was a wide open affair Friday, with the two teams combining for 81 shots on goal and 12 goals, with Steve Christie avoiding the high scoring affair, as backup Jesse Deckert went the distance after Mike Sirant gave the second stringer his first start of the season.

Christie would be in goal for the Saturday night affair though, picking up the 5-2 win for the Herd.

That score is a little misleading, with Manitoba and Lethbridge deadlocked at 2-2 until 15:47 of the third when Travis Mealy broke the tie. Tyler Dittmer would add a goal, along with an empty netter from Blair Macaulay to cap off the win, in what was a close game for 55 minutes.
Christie was big in goal for Manitoba, making 35 saves including stops on all 16 shots he faced in the second.

After coming into the regular season in a virtual dead heat with Alberta in the preseason coaches poll, the Herd have yet to assert themselves as the elite team they were expected to be this season in the wide open west.

Cougars-Thunderbirds go halfsies

Heading into the weekend Regina's season so far was best summed up by the fact that in their three wins they had outscored the opposition 9-4, contrasted with their three losses in which they had been outscored 18-1. Talk about two very different teams. That inconsistency was addressed this weekend by the Cougars, with the end result though the same for head coach Blaine Sautner's squad - a split.

In a crazy third period Friday that saw both teams score a trio of goals, UBC would escape with a 6-5 win to get their first road victory of the season in their first game east of the Rockies.

Marc Desloges and Wyatt Hamilton both had two goal games for the T-Birds in the win.

Saturday night Regina would come back with another solid offensive performance,a nd this time it would be coupled with some defence. The Cougars rushed out to a 5-0 lead early in the second period, and that lead would prove more than enough in the end securing a 6-2 win over UBC.

Lucas Isley had a pair of goals in the win, along with rookies Brett Leffler and Matt Strueby each adding a goal and an assist.

Despite the fact that the result was the same for Regina - a weekend split - the way they did it was very different, losing a close game Friday night as opposed to being blown out like their previous three losses.

For both teams it was an acceptable weekend. UBC picked up their first road win of the season, and Regina showed off some offence and more consistency.
By the time Friday night was over out west, the Saskatchewan Huskies had locked up first place in the conference and home-field advantage through the Canada West playoffs. With their 52-29 win over the Regina Rams the Sled Dogs capped off their regular season campaign with their fifth consecutive win, and set the playoff scene.

Huskies earn home-field

The Huskies' dominant run through the second half of the regular season has them heading into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the nation, and the favourite to take the Hardy Cup given their dominance of late and results against second place Calgary.

Friday's game against Regina was an aerial assault from both sides, with the Rams' Marc Mueller throwing for 437 yards, while Saskatchewan pivot Laurence Nixon wasn't far behind with 424 yard passing.

Dathan Thomas' three touchdowns on the ground and Nixon's four TD passes were enough and then some for the Huskies in a game that saw Regina turn the ball over four times (twice via interception) and get penalized to the tune of 156 yards. Saskatchewan had their issues at times as well, with a pair of fumbles, an interception, and 132 yards of penalties.

Saskatchewan head coach Brian Towriss and company may not like those turnover and penalty stats, but putting up seven majors was certainly an impressive offensive outburst as the Huskies head into the playoffs to take on the best of the bottom, the Alberta Golden Bears.

Regina on the other hand heads into the postseason on a two-game losing streak, having lost last weekend to Calgary in the Stampede City. The Rams will take on the Dinos next week in Calgary.


Speaking of those Calgary Dinos, in what was a meaningless game, the Dinos played host to the Golden Bears, handing the Green and Gold a 37-5 setback that saw Alberta throw for an abysmal 80 yards through the air.

It was a rather pedestrian win for Calgary who rushed for 310 yards on the ground without having a single back with over 80 yards, spreading the touches around in the glorified exhibition game.

Alberta QB Julian Marchand passed for only 59 yards, had two interceptions and went 6 of 16 before giving way to backup Curtis Dell who had 21 yards on two completed passes.

The Bears will head to Saskatoon next weekend to take on Saskatchewan in what shapes up to be a game between teams from two very different football realities, with the Huskies a Vanier Cup calibre team and the Bears a sub-.500 squad.


In other sub-.500 related news, the Manitoba Bisons and UBC Thunderbirds hooked up in Winnipeg to write the final chapter of their seasons.

With their playoff chances already dashed heading into the weekend, the Herd and T-Birds met for the ultimate meaningless game. Manitoba came out on the right side of a 35-25 result, sweeping the season series, as both teams finished with 2-6 records.

Foregone conclusion for the Cup?

The playoff matchups are pointing to one thing - a Saskatchewan-Calgary Hardy Cup game. The Huskies shouldn't have too many issues with an Alberta team that has hardly inspired confidence this season in their ability to put up much resistance against the conference's best.

Calgary-Regina should be a good matchup between two teams that played a pair of close games this year, with the Dinos coming out on the right end of both those contests. It's been a good season for the Rams, but the Dinos are the better team and don't look ready to bow out in their push to get back to the Vanier just yet.
Regina at Saskatchewan (-8.5)

Saint Mary's at Acadia (+5)
StFX at Mount Allison (-11.5)
Laval at Concordia (+17.5)
Bishop's at Montreal (-5)
McGill at Sherbrooke (-23.5)
UBC at Manitoba (too close)
Alberta at Calgary (-16.5)

OUA playoffs
Guelph at Laurier (-16)
Queen's at McMaster (-7.5)
As you plan your MUBL victory parade ...


This is a repeat for CUBDL subscribers, but Scott Morrison's dog recently dug out an old UPEI game program article that his owner wrote in his senior year for the Panthers. It's Morrison's AUAA Team of the Century (as of Feb. 2000) and he has uploaded it here. Debate away.

UFV men: best guards in the conference? (Vancouver Province)

Scott Allen: will his Spartans beat UBC? (Little Man on Campus)

How do you preview the Huskies' game in which they will raise their championship banner and not mention Showron Glover? Who, incidentally, is off scoring 31 points and having "great evenings" in Switzerland. (Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)

Christian Upshaw didn't play last night after a concussion last weekend. Scott Jaspers-Fayer remains at the ready to take T-Bear's place in my MUBL lineup. (The Chronicle-Herald)

Mike Clarke appears to be an it-getter, starting a blog for the Laurentian women's team, "as it is a great way to communicate with our fans, alumni and extended basketball family." Part one of the coach's "Meet the Team" posts (Katie Goggins and Lisa Furchner, both top-100 players) are here. (Lady Vees Basketball)


Adrian Saturley is unfortunately done with CIS football, thanks to a ruptured Achilles tendon. (The Chronicle-Herald)

Laval-Concordia is meaningless for the Rouge et Or, standings- and playoffs-wise, but with only one quarterback dressing for the game, Laval supporters may be slightly uneasy, or just afraid of repeated Stinger blitzes. (Rouge et Or Mania)

On GryphTalk today with Justin Dunk: Arden Zwelling and Tim Micallef. (CFRU; interview segment starts at 16:06)

Chris Rossetti was profiled in advance of tomorrow's Laurier playoff game. (Toronto Star)


The best is the Waterloo one. Though to be complete, the candy would be given to you, but taken away once you got home (by your parents who promised you candy) because your older brother tried to egg a house (which you saw, and tried to tell them about, but they wouldn't listen). Then the other children in the neighbourhood would be forced to go trick-or-treating on nine streets, even though they only have time to do eight. (Always OUA)


Greg Layson has the call of the UOIT-Guelph men's game tonight, hoping for something closer than a seven-goal Guelph win. (Big Man on Campus)

Is it me, or does the North Bay Nugget actually cover OUA hockey? Not one, but two advances on tonight's game.
It's week two of the CIS top 10 rankings, and while most of us can agree that the first poll had its flaws, the top five inside the rankings remains unchanged from a week ago.

Here's a look at the poll from week two:

1. Alberta (5-1-0) / 166 pts (6) / (1)
2. McGill (6-0-0) / 154 (6) / (2)
3. UNB (3-1-0) / 150 (6) / (3)
4. StFX (4-0-0) / 131 / (4)
5. Saint Mary's (2-1-0) / 98 / (5)
6. Western Ontario (4-0-1) / 78 / (10)
7. Saskatchewan (3-3-0) / 52 / (6)
8. Manitoba (2-1-1) / 44 / (9)
9. Concordia (5-1-0) / 39 / (NR)
10. Calgary (4-2-0) / 28 / (NR)

Dropped from the rankings: Moncton (#7 last week), Ryerson (#8 last week)
Also receiving votes: Carleton (16), Wilfrid Laurier (13), Lakehead (7), Acadia (6), Moncton (6), Regina (2).

The debate sparked from the first poll is well documented, and if you need a refresher just take a look at David's post from last week.

While I still fall under the category of people who think there are better teams out there at this point of the season than Alberta - who is a top three team, just maybe not the best right now - the fact of the matter is that the Bears will hold down the top spot as long as they keep winning. That's just how the rankings work.

The biggest mover inside the top 10 from last week is the Western Ontario Mustangs who move up four notches and remain one of three teams in the nation without a regulation loss - McGill and St. FX being the others. It should come as no surprise that Clarke Singer has his team off to a good start.

Falling out of the top 10 from last week is Moncton, and Ryerson. The Aigles Bleus went 0-2-1 over their last three contests, seeing their record drop to 2-2-1, while the Rams - who lost both their games over the weekend in Ottawa - also find their short stay inside the top 10 over for the time being.

The poll isn't a big departure from last week - the only significant change inside the top five is the fact that Alberta, McGill and UNB now have identical first place vote numbers. With only two games this weekend featuring top 10 teams going head-to-head - #1 Alberta in a home-and-home with #10 Calgary - next week's poll could look very similar.
Pretty exciting game at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink in Fredericton last night. Saint Thomas was looking for their first win of the season, hosting the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus, the same team that embarrassed STU 10-1 on opening weekend. Charles Lavigne was back in nets for the Tommies, after completing a four game suspension for an incident back on February 12. In that game against Acadia, the puck was knocked off the netting and into the net. Lavigne thought the play should have been blown down, and fired the puck in the direction of referee Mark Hulshof, who in turn whistled him for a match penalty. Lavigne told the Daily Gleaner's Bruce Hallihan:

"I deserved to get punished for what I did. It's disrepectful shooting a puck after a goal. I, obviously, didn't mean to shoot the puck at the referee because that's pretty much one of the stupidest things anybody could do. I hit the boards, I'd say, five-to-10 feet beside him and he wrote it up like I tried to hurt him, which I didn't. But it's something that I have to live with," he said, "because it was my lapse of judgment there. It's over with now and I'm anxious to move ahead."

So back to last night. Prodigal son Kenton Dulle scored a highlight reel goal early in the first period to give the home team the lead. Former short-time Dal Tiger Mathieu Melanson scored a bit of a softie late in the period, and Hockey News blogger Jason Cassidy scored early in the second period to put the Tommies up 3-0.

Then Moncton woke up. Defenceman Jean-Phillippe Pacquet deflected a shot past Lavigne a couple of minutes later. Rookie forward Alex Leduc one-timed a pass from fellow rookie Kevan Charland at 13:23 of the second to make it 3-2. Later, with three minutes left in the third period, Leduc scored again to tie it up and force overtime. Up to now UdeM has outshot STU 41-26 and Lavigne is the first star of the game.

In the ten minute overtime, both teams squander power plays for goaltender interference before Russian-born rookie Yuri Cheremetiev scores for STU at 8:33. A visibly excited Lavigne explodes out of his net, and bangs his stick loudly on the ice as he skates towards his teammates. As he passes the Moncton players, who have spilled onto the ice in front of their bench, he curls towards Alex Leduc, brings his left trapper hand up towards Leduc's face as if he's going to give him a face wash, and then turns away back towards his teammates. Well Leduc takes exception, there's a fracas at centre ice, lots of pushing, shoving, and chirping, and the officials send both teams to their dressing room and abort the customary post-game handshakes. Fine.

Then after the game we find out that Lavigne has been given a gross misconduct by referee Tom Clarkson, which means an automatic two-game suspension. And STU head coach Mike Eagles and UdeM head coach Serge Bourgeois were each handed game misconducts for not controlling their players. Two games, and Lavigne didn't even touch the guy ... and I had a clear view from metres away. Classy? No. Sporting? No. Dumb? Yes. But intent to injure? I don't think so. From my viewpoint it looked like the referee over-reacted in assuming that Lavigne had struck the Moncton player, and since Lavigne has a "record", well let's show everyone who is boss and throw the book at him and the coaches. Sad.

STU wins, then loses Lavigne again (Bill Hunt, The Daily Gleaner)
Tommies eke out OT win (Randy Corey, Radio)
Lavigne back in goal (Bruce Hallihan, The Daily Gleaner)
Sports predictions have a funny way of falling to pieces in a span of 24 hours. The first week of any season can bring with it seemingly monumental upsets, which as the season progresses, turn out not to be upsets at all, but merely a case of prognosticators over/underrating a team.

In men's basketball in the Canada West however, not so much. In the new one-division format, aside from Brandon's upset sweep of Fraser Valley, things went mostly as expected...

1. UBC Thunderbirds (1–1)
Friday: W, 91–60 vs. Saskatchewan
Saturday: L, 96–97 vs. Saskatchewan

When you're the consensus #1 team in the nation, facing the defending champions (who happened to defeat you in the final last year) in your home opener, it becomes a statement game. UBC passed that test with a blowout victory, which featured a 20–0 run in the first half. A nail-biting loss to the Huskies the next night hurt, but UBC did nothing to dispel the notion that they are the team to beat in the Canada West this year.

2. Trinity Western Spartans (2–0)
Friday: W, 116–79 @ Lethbridge
Saturday: W, 98–82 @ Lethbridge

True, Lethbridge is no one's idea of a world-beater, but when you outscore an opponent 40–12 in the first quarter, as TWU did on Friday, it'll turn some heads. 2009 CIS MVP Jacob Doerksen scored 28 points on Friday, and transfer guard Tristan Smith had 31 points and 8 assists on Saturday. They're a deep, deep team that can score in bunches, and their series at home against UBC this will be a real test for both teams.

3. Saskatchewan Huskies (1–1)
Friday: L, 60–91 @ UBC
Saturday: W, 97–96 @ UBC

The good: They proved in their Saturday victory that they can still play with the best in the CIS, despite the loss of three seniors from last year's championship team. The bad: A 36.3% shooting percentage isn't going to cut it in any league, and this is a team that is still finding what works and what doesn't in its rotation. The ugly: Giving up 20 straight points in your first game as defending champions is nobody's idea of a strong showing.

4. Calgary Dinos (1–1)
Friday: L, 58–68 @ Victoria
Saturday: W, 83–74 @ Victoria

Despite the losses of All-Canadian Ross Bekkering and All-Star Robbie Sihota, Calgary was ranked #4 by Canada West coaches going into this season, and it's easy to see why—led by Tyler Fidler, this is still a talented team that played a tough series with UVic on the road. They outscored the Vikes 28–10 in the final quarter of Saturday's win to earn the split, and will have a couple of easy series against Lethbridge and Calgary in the next two weeks to pad their record.

5. Victoria Vikes (1–1)
Friday: W, 68–58 vs. Calgary
Saturday: L, 74–83 vs. Calgary

You know what you're getting with the Vikes under head coach Craig Beaucamp: Lots of effort and a suffocating defense. Where the points come from is another question—they'll be relying on guards Jeff Cullen and Ryan MacKinnon to lead the team this year, but neither one can score in bunches.

6. Brandon Bobcats (2–0)
Friday: W, 77–75 vs. Thompson Rivers
Saturday: W, 88–80 vs. Thompson Rivers

Little was expected of the Bobcats this year following a year outside the playoffs, resignation of Keith Vassell as coach and the departures of stalwarts Dany Charlery and Tarik Tokar. But a two-game sweep of Thompson Rivers, even if they did finish 3–17 last year, gives the team some optimism going forward.

Waiting for action:

7. Fraser Valley Cascades

No game last weekend, but following a 7–1 preseason, eyes will be on them in two weekends against Saskatchewan to see if they can vault into the first tier of Canada West contenders

8. Alberta Golden Bears

Will rookie of the year Jordan Baker continue his maturation as a leader for the Bears? Will C.G. Morrison end his career on a high note after a year off to injuries? A warm-up test against Thompson Rivers this weekend may offer some clues.

9. Regina Cougars

How well the Cougars do this year may depend on how well they can weather the storm while Jared Janotta and Jeff Lukomski ply their trade for Regina's football team—where Janotta is a receiver and Lukomski is a cornerback. Three straight series against TWU, Calgary and Alberta in November may determine their fate.

The rest

10. Manitoba Bisons (1–0)
Friday: W, 108–88 vs. Winnipeg

A win is nice, but when it comes against a team that only had one win all of last year, as was the case for the Wesmen, it doesn't exactly turn heads.

T11. Thompson River WolfPack (0–2)
Friday: L, 75–77 @ Brandon
Saturday: L, 80–88 @ Brandon

T11. Lethbridge Pronghorns (0–2)
Friday: L, 79–116 vs. TWU
Saturday: L, 82–98 vs. TWU

T11. Wininpeg Wesman (0–1)
Friday: L, 88–108 @ Manitoba

You know how it is at the any of Power Rankings. The writer cleverly attempts to demonstrate just how bad the teams at the bottom are. But one weekend isn't a large enough sample size to engage in such snarky attacks, so we'll resist and call it a draw amongst the winless teams. At least for this week.
As you kindly refrain from pointing out that the Canucks aren't three-time defending champions ...


Matt Morencie, son of coach Mike, had some heated-talkin' and notebook-grabbin' to deliver to Windsor columnist Bob Duff, according to a few people at the game Saturday. This Sunday column of Duff's was printed after the confrontation, but I'm guessing it was prepared in advance (it likely wasn't a response to Saturday's events, is my point). (One Windsor newspaper via Big Man on Campus)

SMU's win over Mount A was "remarkably ugly" according to Monty Mosher. So after all the drama, the Huskies can finish first anyway with a win next week. (The Chronicle-Herald)

Stu Lang on his team's loss to Ottawa: "We were awful. We didn't punt well, we didn't play offence well and we didn't play defence well. What else can you say?" With that loss, the top four seeds in the OUA are as predicted despite the seeming unpredictability of the season. (Ottawa Citizen)

A lot of work clearly goes into "Recrutement universitaire 2011", so be sure to check out the recruitment spreadsheet maintained in part by Deux Fans. (

A short piece on former Gael, now Al Mike Giffin. (The Suburban)


A great article on former Grizz Michael Dickerson's new practice schedule with UBC, written by Howard Tsumura, who covered the Grizzlies in a previous life. There aren't many NBA roster spots available for someone who hasn't played in the league in eight years, but if it means we get to see decade-old pictures of someone driving past Vince Carter then I'm all for it. (Little Man on Campus)

Our Andrew Bucholtz and CIS deity Mark Wayck provided a CIS preview over at Raptors HQ.

The Regina men are a "work in progress" and full of "grit and determination", says coach James Hillis. I want to see a team full of determinism. Then again, they probably wouldn't bother playing their games. (Regina Leader-Post)


UBC's Jen Hinze and Kyla Richey are off at the FIVB worlds, meaning the 'Birds are "starting their season with, say, no Sedins, no Roberto Luongo and no Ryan Kesler." If Luongo and the better half of the Sedin twins are the third- and fourth-ranked players in the entire league, then that's exactly what it's like. (Vancouver Province)


A UOIT first: Jessica Larabie was female athlete of the week after a shutout and a 1-0 loss, stopping 43 of 44 shots. (CIS via the shouting @UOITRidgebacks)

I'd go to many cities to watch Laurier play Guelph in women's hockey--I even went to Guelph--but I'd have to think twice about a game in Brantford. Sounds like fun, though, with Walter Gretzky of course in attendance. (Brantford Expositor)
Dylan Matthias is the sports editor of The Dalhousie Gazette. He also covers Dalhousie soccer over at Dal Soccer Live. He'll be writing about women's soccer nationally for us, and will be providing on-site reports from this year's AUS and CIS championships. Here's his first piece, previewing the OUA playoffs - AB.

OUA women's soccer playoffs start today with four preliminary round games. They'll determine who gets to be knocked out by Queen's in the quarterfinals, among other things.

The matchups aren't exactly tantalizing. 0 – 0 may be a common scoreline by this evening. A bunch of OUA teams are limping into the playoffs pretty badly and it's hard to pick a team with significant momentum.

When momentum and stats say nothing (and going purely on a hunch seems like a bad idea in one's first post on The CIS Blog), it's always a good idea to turn to experience, if only because it's intangible. York and Queen's know what they're doing—that's why they've made nationals for the past two years, and that's why they're favourites to go again.

Without further ado, a look at the preliminary match-ups:

University of Toronto Varsity Blues (8-4-4) v. Nipissing Lakers (5-7-4): Nipissing take on University of Toronto in one of those stereotypical match-ups between a dangerous attack and a porous back-line. Both teams can score. Toronto can defend and that probably gives them an edge. Neither team are exactly on fire coming into the playoffs, but given they're playing at Varsity Field, Toronto should be comfortable advancing to the quarters.

York Lions (6-8-0) v. Western Mutangs (5-6-3): Western and York won't likely score—let's get that out of the way quickly. How exactly they decide to resolve a game without scoring remains to be seen. That alone might be reason to watch. Will it be a controversial offside call in the 86th minute? The ever-popular penalties? The stylish 118th-minute own-goal? Or will one team completely melt down and concede six? Option four seems the most interesting, but it won't likely happen. So we'll go with Courtney Stocks scoring the penalty winner. Although Sarah Fiorini took a pretty good knock on the weekend, so the own-goal might be plausible as well.

Windsor Lancers (5-4-5) v. Brock Badgers (4-6-4): Brock and Windsor probably won't score, either, but they still have some players from the 2008 CIS surprise team and they'll want another kick at the can. Either way, this has the potential to be a good 0 – 0. These are two experienced teams, and that alone should allow some skill to flourish. Larissa Bruzzese can score for Brock, taking over for Cassandre Van Bakel, who's had a forgettable one-goal season. Still, clutch performers and all that.

Carleton Ravens (7-6-3) v. Laurentian Voyageurs (6-5-5): Carleton lost to Queen's last year in the playoffs, which happens. Considering last year was a rocky one for Carleton, this could be a chance for them to redeem themselves a bit. Of course, if Toronto beat Nipissing, Carleton will run into Queen's again. Laurentian will surely want the chance to play Queen's, too, and might be able to take advantage of some horrendous Ravens form coming into playoffs (one home win over Nipissing in the last five games does not inspire confidence).

And now a look at the seeded quarterfinalists:

Queen's Golden Gaels (14-2-0): Queen's are the team with the easy path, although there's always that threat of playing a hot underdog. Other than that, the Gaels should be back at nationals easily enough. With Jacqueline Tessier and Kelli Chamberlain both having superb seasons, they should have no problem finding their way through the semis and onto a bus for PEI.

Laurier Golden Hawks (11-1-2): The Laurier Golden Hawks have a trickier path. They'll have to get through one of Brock, York or Western, all teams who could cause a talented Laurier team to slip.

Ottawa Gee-Gees (12-1-3): Barring some major upsets in the first round, the Ottawa Gee-Gees will run into either Toronto or Carleton, both of which make for tantalizing match-ups. Sadly, what makes for good entertainment might not make for good results for Gee-Gees fans—anything could happen in either game. They have the hardest path to the semifinals by far.

McMaster Marauders (8-4-2): McMaster are another one of the Western Conference teams who struggle mightily to score. McMaster are probably a good way for York to get to at least the semis. York are having a horrible year, but even then, the Lions are a team best avoided any day. McMaster may be hoping higher-seeded Windsor get past Brock—the Marauders have drawn and beaten the Lancers this year, and would fancy their chances to do it again.

Whoever does make it to PEI will face some decent opposition. Trinity Western have been off and on (mostly off) through the year, but have turned it on late. Alberta have also had a great season in Canada West. It's safe to assume Montreal will be back. Hosts UPEI are much-improved and could actually enter as AUS champions. Dalhousie will probably be the other team from AUS barring another playoff collapse.
This week the QSSF changed to the RSEQ, and I promise that at one point we will come up with a catchy name for this column. Even if it is only in time for next year.

In any event, this week there are a couple of things to look at, and before we begin, how about McGill and Concordia? The two schools lead the OUA East in men’s hockey probably the first team Quebec teams are 1-2 in the OUA East and one of them was not UQTR.

But since that’s the OUA and this is a RSEQ column (even I have a French-English quota, you know…) on to women’s hockey and football. Basketball will lead next week when we post our QUBL previews (and, it may not even suck this year!)

The QUFL is now entering the last week of the regular season, and while the scenarios are not as exciting as last year, there are still scenarios up for grabs this week.

Laval is 8-0 and obviously has nothing to play for, except for another undefeated season. McGill is 0-8 and obviously has nothing to play for, except to avoid another winless season.

They will both be playing 4-4 teams this week. Laval goes to Concordia and plays the Stingers and Sherbrooke is home to McGill. Those two games seem like they will be gimmes, but never underestimate McGill looking to avoid a winless season. They are more talented then previous 0-for teams. Concordia went to CEPSUM and beat Montreal, and are playing for their playoff lives.

The other game is a matchup of 5-3 teams Bishop’s and Montreal. Bishop’s will look to get back on track, and both teams are fighting for home-field advantage in the 2-3 semi-final and even worse: a Bishop’s loss could see them fall to 4th and have to go to Quebec City.

McGILL 0-8

Playoff Scenarios:
If Laval, Montreal and Sherbrooke win: Bishop’s @ Laval, Sherbrooke @ Montreal

If Laval, Bishop’s and Sherbrooke win: Sherbrooke @ Laval, Montreal @ Bishop’s

If Laval and McGill win: Sherbrooke @ Laval, Winner of Montreal/Bishop’s hosts re-match of semifinal.

If Concordia, Montreal and Sherbrooke win: Concordia @ Laval, Sherbrooke @ Montreal

If Concordia, Bishop’s and Sherbrooke win: Concordia @ Laval, Sherbrooke @ Montreal

If Concordia, Bishop’s and McGill win: Concordia @ Laval, Montreal @ Bishop’s

If Concordia, Montreal and McGill win: Bishop’s @ Laval, Concordia @ Montreal

All games are Saturday at 1pm. Concordia and Laval will be on the Team 990 radio and I believe SSN will be webcasting the game.

Montreal and Bishop’s will be on Radio-Canada by TV and webcast.

McGill and Sherbrooke will not be on radio or webcast as far as I can tell, but both teams are pretty good at giving updates on Twitter.

Women’s hockey:
It was another weird week of scheduling (Concordia has played more games than any other team so far), and a lot of close games.

Montreal lost to McGill 5-2 last Wednesday, as McGill keeps rolling but the margins do seem a little closer than we’re used to. However, Charline Labonte has yet to dress for a game.

Montreal then beat Ottawa 3-2 on Saturday, and no details are available for that game. Between that and Neate’s article this past week, another great week for women’s hockey.

Concordia played two games this weekend, and lost 2-1 in shootouts in both. So much for that offensive explosion I talked about last week.

The week ahead:
Friday: Montreal @ Concordia 7:30pm
Saturday: Carleton @ McGill 2:00pm
Sunday: McGill @ Ottawa 2:00pm
Carleton @ Montreal 2:00pm

CONCORDIA 2-1-2 --- 6pts
CARLETON 2-0-0 --- 4pts
McGILL 2-0-0 --- 4pts
MONTREAL 1-1-1 --- 3pts
OTTAWA 1-3-0 ---2pts
The Laval Rouge et Or (#1) have played 131 minutes of shutout football. That's just over a full 8 quarters without allowing a single point from their opposition.


Laval has not been spared any questions or scrutiny throughout the season thus far. speculation arose earlier in the season when the perennial Quebec champions were keeping games much closer for far longer against teams who, in the past, never put up any real competition. There was an offensive shutdown in a game against their long-standing rivals the Montreal Carabins where they had to fight back from a halftime deficit, an unheard of position for Laval in interconference play.

But then also came the response out of that halftime which has lead to the Rouge et Or outscoring their opposition 143-1 over the past 10 quarters of football. There have been no questions over recent results, the past two games in particular, and no longer any questions concerning the Rouge et Or's total dominance of the Q this season.

The past two weeks Laval has amassed 1055 total yards of offence while the stingy defence has held the competition to a mere 233 yards in both games combined. This past week it was McGill who felt the wrath. The Redmen put a scare into Laval in the season opener, even holding a lead in the first half. This past weekend was not nearly as exciting to say the least as Laval claimed a 68-0 win.

Last season Laval waited until the postseason to pull away; this year that trend has started a few weeks earlier. With the road to the Vanier paved through PEPS in Quebec City, it must be a little concerning for every other conference to watch this display of sheer dominance taking place.

The rest of the CIS must pay special attention, for Laval is already gearing up for the postseason.

Now to the other FRC/CIS Top 10 teams:

The Western Mustangs (#2) found themselves facing a rude awakening when the Varsity Blues burst out to a 17-9 lead heading into halftime. The Blues, who had already knocked off a top ranked OUA opponent in the Ottawa Gee-Gees earlier in the season, caught Western by surprise with an array of trick plays that vaulted them in to the lead. However after the half the Mustangs woke up, outscoring the Blues 26-6 en route to a 35-23 victory. While it wasn't the most impressive outing by Western, which included 3 lost fumbles by the Mustangs, they were able to put up 545 yards of total offence. Andrew Gillis, the Blues' quarterback, also had an impressive outing on the other side of the ball combining for 300 total yards (282 yards passing, 18 yards rushing) and 2 touchdowns (1 passing, 1 rushing) against an interception.


The Regina Rams (#3) hosted the Calgary Dinos (#7) Friday night in a key Top 10 showdown out west. After falling behind by 21 points the Rams staged a failed late comeback as they fell to the visiting Dinos 35-27. Erik Glavic played his first complete game for the Dinos and looked good, passing for 275 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Ifield also helped to propel the Dinos to victory by going 4-for-4 on fields goals for the day.

While the conference leading rusher Adrian Charles was held in check by the Dinos defence the Rams had little response for Calgary's Matt Walter, who rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown. However the performance of the match however was reserved for Regina's Marc Mueller who who completed 32 of 49 passes for 413 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mueller is tied for second in passing in the CIS with provincial rival Laurence Nixon of the Huskies, both passers achieving 2000 yards with one game remaining on the schedule.


The Saskatchewan Huskies (#4) won convincingly over UBC 30-9. Nixon had yet another impressive day passing for 330 yards and a touchdown, although he did toss 2 interceptions on the day as well. The result of these two games has left three teams tied atop the CanWest conference with each sporting a 5-2 record heading into the final week of the season.


A commanding 54-11 win over the Guelph Gryphons ensured that the Ottawa Gee-Gees (#5) claimed the top spot in the OUA to end the regular season. (Although they finished tied with Western, with a 7-1 record for both programs, the Gee Gees hold the tiebreaker.) Brad Sinopoli fell short of his attempt at breaking the CIS passing record however he did punish Guelph both through the air and on the ground. Sinopoli passed for 202 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 157 yards, including a 58 yard scamper for a touchdown. The Gees posted total yards of offence, just over half of them from Sinopoli himself. The Gee Gees pivot finished with 2756 total yards of passing through the air in 2010.


The Montreal Carabins (#6) remained an inconsistent squad for the year as they fell to crosstown rivals Concordia 21-14. The Carabins were unable to overcome a 21-6 halftime deficit.


Enjoying their bye week to end the season were the McMaster Marauders (#8), who now prepare to host the defending national champions Queen's in the Quarterfinal round of the OUA playoffs.


Following that devastating shutout loss to Laval the Bishop's Gaiters (#9) once again fell to their competition as Sherbrooke claimed a definitive 47-11 victory. After missing time due to injury, Sherbrooke's J.P. Shoiry passed for a phenomenal 372 yards with 5 touchdowns through the air to one interception. Simon Charbonneau-Campeau had a solid day receiving making 9 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

With the win Sherbrooke moves into a tie with Concordia for the final playoff spot in Quebec with a 4-4 record, while Bishop's remains tied in second with Montreal, thanks to the Carabins' loss to the Stingers.


And rounding out the Top 10 the Saint Mary's Huskies (#10), re-entering the top rankings, asserted themselves with a dominant 43-7 win over the suprising Mount Allison Mounties. The Huskies gained 535 yards of total offence while holding the Mounties to just 168 yards themselves on the day. The Huskies are now in the midst of a four game winning streak during which they have outscored their AUS opponents 172-39.
The Masters University Basketball League, the most popular CIS basketball fantasy league in the world, is back for a second season of drafting, lineup setting, and cursing of Tyler Fidler's most recent performance. (I think the last one was just me.)

The draft is today at 7:00pm ET, and our eight owners (up from six last year) will do their best to end up with the best players across the country.

Background on the league can be found here and last year's results are here. An added wrinkle to the rules this year is that everyone is allowed to keep three players after the season ends, for up to three years, so there may be a shift away from fourth- and fifth-year players in later rounds as everyone looks to the future.

Will Neate Sager defend his title? Will Greg Layson finish last again? And with Boris Bakovic's CIS career over, who will be the first overall pick?

Fascinating questions, all. We'll begin to answer them in a few hours.

With former juggernauts Simon Fraser once again playing in an American conference, the door is open for one of the other thirteen Canada West women's basketball teams to step up and look for a national title.

After earning a bronze at last year's CIS women's championship, the Saskatchewan Huskies travelled with their male counterparts to War Memorial Gym to take on the UBC Thunderbirds in what was this weekend's premier series.

On Friday, Kim Tulloch led the way for the Huskies with a game high in points with 24 and dropped four dimes and six boards as the Huskies eked out four close quarter victories for an eventual 73-65 win. The difference in the game came from beyond the arc, with the Huskies going 6-15 and the T-Birds going 0-8. The aforementioned Tulloch went 4-5. SFU transfer Katie Miyazaki and Jill Humbert put up 16 points each, with Humbert hitting 2-4 treys.

Saturday's contest was not quite as close. A 17-point third quarter margin from the Huskies led them to a 66-40 victory and a weekend sweep. UBC shot just 23.2 per cent from the field and were out-rebounded 29-40. Veteran Jana Spindler led the way with 16 points and a game-high six rebounds--five of them defensive--in the win.

The Huskies tip-off against the Victoria Vikes in their home opener next weekend, while UBC will have a quick drive down the Eastbound 1 to Langley to play the Spartans.


How 'bout them Victoria Vikes: after a 14-4 regular season, finishing 2nd to SFU in the Pacific Division last year, expectations are high for this team to make the CIS tournament for the first time. Coach of the year Brian Cheng saw his team get off to a solid 2-0 home start against the Calgary Dinos with 73-57 and 81-67 victories on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.

Former CIS Player of the Year Kayla Dykstra had game-highs for points in both games, with 18 and 22 point nights. Defensive rebounding proved to be the key, as it often is. Dykstra had nine on Friday as the Vikes team out-did Calgary 36-24, with an additional seven from Cassandra Goodis in just 20 minutes of play. The Dinos did get strong performances from veteran Ashley Hill, who had a team-high 16 on Friday and 15 on Saturday.


It's time for "This Week in Jen Ju" as the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (capital W, capital P) got off to a 2-0 road start against the Brandon Bobcats. The gritty 'Pack guard Ju ran the floor Friday with a team-high 19 points and was 9-15 from the field in a 70-60 win. Saturday's affair was a blowout for the WolfPack, 74-34, as they get off to their second consecutive 2-0 start. Brandon shot terribly on Saturday, 24.5 per cent from the field, and a staggering 8-17 from the charity stripe. Ju had just 7 points for the 'Pack, but was propped up with 11 boards and ten points from The Stabilizer Diane Shuetze, her first double-double on the year.


The last weekend-set was between the Trinity Western Spartans and the Lethbridge Pronghorns, in what was also the only series decided by a split this weekend. The Horns dispatched TWU 65-44 Friday night outshooting the Spartans 49 per cent to 28 per cent and dominating off the glass 47-27. The Spartans shook off the rust, went 27-54 from the field, 6-13 beyond the arc (thanks in large part to a turnaround from Emily Knauff) and beat the Horns 73-62.


Finally, the Winnipeg Wesmen visted their cross-town Manitoba Bisons for a Friday night affair, with Winnipeg coming out on top 65-47 thanks to a double-double by Stephanie Kleysen. It was a sloppy affair, with 38 combined fouls and 34 combined turnovers.


Next week, every team but Winnipeg find themselves in action. Saskatchewan hosting Victoria is obviously the premier matchup. Both teams shot and defended well this weekend, and the Vikes' Kayla Dykstra is the early leader in both scoring and rebounding.

Lethbridge travel up the QE2 to face the Dinos in their home-opener, Alberta travel to Thompson Rivers, the Bisons visit UFV in their season-and-home opener, Brandon will visit the preseason #1 Regina Cougars. All games are double-headers, Friday and Saturday games.
(Second in a series.)

The four Canada West playoff teams have been determined, and Alberta's finishing fourth regardless of this last week. But the other teams can finish anywhere from first to third. Let's go through the four scenarios. (Technically eight, but the UBC/Manitoba game doesn't affect anything in the standings.*)

The relevant games are Regina at Saskatchewan (Friday night) and Alberta at Calgary (Saturday).

Scenario No. 1: Wins by Saskatchewan and Calgary (62.4% chance of happening)
Alberta (4) at Saskatchewan (1), Regina (3) at Calgary (2)

The Rams played the Dinos close in both losses, so in this case the 2-vs.-3 game might not be a foregone conclusion. Alberta might have a tougher time at Mosaic in Saskatoon, though.

Scenario No. 2: Wins by Regina and Calgary (26.3% chance of happening)
Alberta (4) at Calgary (1), Saskatchewan (3) at Regina (2)

Intraprovincial matchups everywhere! This would be pretty great, storyline-wise, since the Huskies would have lost to Regina to lose their home game, then would have to face the same team the following week. There's also a Dinos-Bears immediate rematch here, obviously.

Scenario No. 3: Wins by Saskatchewan and Alberta (8.0% chance of happening)
Alberta (4) at Saskatchewan (1), Regina (3) at Calgary (2)

Okay, so these playoff matchups are actually very likely, since all they really require is a Huskie win.

Scenario No. 4: Wins by Regina and Alberta (3.4% chance of happening)
Alberta (4) at Regina (1), Calgary (3) at Saskatchewan (2)

This is the scenario that would throw everything into mild disarray. Regina goes from third to first, Saskatchewan from first to second, and Calgary from second to third.

For the Rams, it's the difference between hosting the second-tier Golden Bears and going all the way to Calgary to face a team they've already lost to twice this year. Even if they have a good chance of beating the Dinos, that's still a big difference. But it requires a Friday night win in Mosaic and some help from the Bears.


* UBC's recap says the Thunderbirds are "still in the picture" but I beg to differ: the best they can do is finish tied for fourth at 3-3 with Alberta and I don't think they can win the tiebreaker (having split the season series but losing it on aggregate, 64-60). I may be wrong on this, and so I welcome corrections.
Women's hockey in the Quebec conference operates in two languages, French and English — now it apparently has two sets of rules.

We'll file this under the heading of it's a funny old world. To err is human. The QUHL (as we're calling it now) has had three games go to a shootout, each involving Concordia. None has used the league's 'after 60' format — a five-minute 4-on-4 overtime and if necessary, a five-round shootout.

In both of Concordia's shootout losses last weekend at Ottawa (2-1 on Sunday) and Carleton (same score on Saturday), the officials used Ontario University Athletics' three-round shootout rule. One can only imagine the confusion when the game was called Sunday after the third Stingers shooter, Alyssa Sherrard, was stopped (Ottawa had scored in the second round).

It would have been explained to each team bench when it gave the officials their shooting order. However, the officials had apparently forgotten the rule had been explained to them prior to the game, by the coaches. However, it goes against the form for a coach to correct an official during a game.

It was a similar deal in the Concordia-Carleton game. I feel bad since, full disclosure, I was pinch-hitting as a colour commentator alongside John Bower on Streaming Sports Network Canada. With no web access in between leaving Frank Clair Stadium for the Ice House, prep work was limited. So as the shootout loomed, in a bit of a role reversal, the colour commentator played the ingenue and asked the play-by-play person to explain the rule. John explained it perfectly.

Imagine the apoplexy from each of us moments later. Carleton's Melanie McKnight began the third round by executing her specialty shootout shot, going five-hole on Con U's Audrey Doyon-Lessard to put the Ravens ahead. The Ravens' Victoria Powers then kicked out the ensuing Stingers shot and contrary to our expectations, Carleton's team poured on the ice to congratulate the rookie netminder. It stings when correct information is rendered incorrect.

It is just confusing, that's all. These things can happen when a rule has been changed and when a league crosses from one regional bailiwick (Quebec to Ontario).

It turns out that a week prior, Concordia and Montreal did have a five-round shootout which ironically ended in three since the Stingers converted all three and Doyon-Lessard stoned a trio of Carabins. However, the overtime was 5-on-5. No one knows why.

Point being, this comes down to whether you believe rules in a team sport in CIS should be standardized for all conferences. I don't mind breaking away from a monoculture; it is neat the Atlantic conference has 10-minute sudden-victory OT in the regular season when everyone else plays five.

Women's hockey probably should try to make the IIHF format a rule; the men should probably use the NHL's.

In the meantime, one league, one set of rules, is that so hard? The upshot is it did not take the shine off two well-fought games and this won't happen again. Personally, there was no feeling of being shortchanged. Concordia could have had eight, 10, 12 shots and might not have beaten Powers.
By the eighth ballot, typically you wish you only had to rank eight teams.

Neate Sager's ballot (numbers in parentheses represent a team's rank in the Oct. 19 CIS-FRC poll and where I slotted it last week):
  1. Laval (7-0 QUFL) (1, 1) — Scored 52 in first half vs. McGill, 16 in the second. Classy.

  2. Saskatchewan (5-2 CW) (4, 3) — Twenty-one-point win at UBC while Western dug itself a hole at home before beating Toronto by a dozen.

  3. Western (7-1 OUA) (2, 4) — Good final three quarters against Toronto once it realized it was in a game vs. the improving Varsity Blues, who half-fulfilled a preseason prediction. U of T finished 3-5, but did not nab a playoff berth.

    If only Toronto had cashed in for a touchdown from the 1-yard line instead of fumbling a snap a settling for a field goal late in that 15-13 loss to Guelph on Aug. 31 ... they would have finished 4-4 and thanks to Peter Baxter, would be hosting the OUA quarter-final.

  4. Calgary (5-2 CW) (7, 7) — A dominant first half at higher-ranked Regina gets the Dinos back into the top five. In all honesty, the 3-4-5-6 slots are pretty fluid. There might not be much difference between No. 2 and No. 8.

    Too bad this wasn't a season in which Canada West plays OUA in the national semifinal. Any combo of Calgary or Saskatchewan going to Western, Ottawa or McMaster would be most entertaining.

  5. Ottawa (7-1 OUA) (5, 8) — Losses by two higher-ranked teams should bump Ottawa, which blew out Guelph 54-11, back up the poll.

    Greg Layson may vouch that I did say over IM that Ottawa would win "by something like 49-13."

  6. Regina (5-2 CW) (3, 2) — Games like this weekend's 35-27 loss to Calgary are ones the Rams must win to notch up their program's image. Instead, they dug a 21-point hole in the first half.

    They had to be the highest-ranked Canada West team last week since it is an evaluation of performance. No one was shocked to see the Dinos restore the pecking order.

  7. Montréal (5-3 QUFL) (6, 5) — Results such as the 21-14 loss only reinforce the stereotype that if you stop Rotrand Sene (3.5 yards per carry in the defeat), you stop the Carabins.

  8. McMaster (6-2 OUA) (8, 9) — Idle. Up one spot due to Bishop's implosion (outscored 111-11 in back-to-back games). With the quarter-final matchup, they have a chance to beat Queen's twice in one season for the first time since 2002.

    Granted, that was against a team with a Hec Crighton-winning Tom Denison, not a first-year starting QB.

  9. Sherbrooke (4-4 QUFL) (11, -) — The forever underappreciated J.P. Shoiry carved up the Gaiters, throwing 39 times for 372 yards and five TDs in a 49-11 of Bishop's.

    Sherby has the split with Bishop's. If it beats winless McGill on Oct. 30 and the Gaiters lose to Montreal, wouldn't that vault the V&O in the 2 vs. 3 QUFL semifinal, avoiding Laval?

  10. Laurier (4-4* OUA) (13, 10) — Has scored 102 points the past two weeks and draw a flatlining Guelph team, which it already hammered by 34 points, in the OUA quarter-final.

    Suffice to say, the run of blowout games on University Rush might continue next week. Is it nuts to think the 6 vs. 3 Queen'-s-Mac quarter-final might end up being closer?
Dropping out: Bishop's (5-3 QUFL, previously ranked No. 9).

Jared Book's ballot (last week in parentheses):

1. Laval (1)
2. Saskatchewan (3)
3. Calgary (4)
4. Regina (2)
5. Montreal (5)
6. Western (7)
7. Ottawa (8)
8. Sherbrooke (9)
9. Bishop's (6)
10. Concordia (NR)

Dropping out: McMaster (10)

Laval, again, obvious. I have the CW teams 2-4 again because I am not penalizing them for beating up on each other. I still think they are better than any of the teams below them. Montreal lost, yes, but to a Concordia team that had to win. Montreal only had one bad quarter in the loss and if Montreal had to face Western or Ottawa, I would put my money on Montreal. Western and Ottawa leapfrog Bishop's. Sherbrooke's late season push (which I predicted) moves them into 8th. Bishop's lost two games by a wide margin, yes, but to two Top 10 teams. Concordia cut the gap between the 11 and 10 spots with their win against Montreal. McMaster had a bye, but beating my No. 5 team (and them beating my No. 9 and taking my No. 8 to overtime) outweighs McMaster's resume.

Andrew Bucholtz's ballot (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Laval (1)
2. Saskatchewan (4)
3. Western (3)
4. Calgary (7)
5. Ottawa (6)
6. Regina (2)
7. Sherbrooke (10)
8. McMaster (9)
9. Montreal (5)
10. Saint Mary's (NR)

Dropping out: Bishop's (8)

Rationale: Laval's place at the top is clear, but after that, the 2-6 teams are pretty interchangeable. Bumped Regina down this week thanks to their loss to Calgary. Saskatchewan beat a less-impressive UBC team this week, but they've knocked off the Dinos twice this year (including just last week), so they stay ahead of them. Calgary does rise to fourth, though, and really, I could see any of the top three teams coming out of Canada West. Western holds third with a decent, but not totally impressive win over Toronto. Ottawa pasted Guelph and moves up, while Montreal fell to Concordia and moves down. McMaster rises despite the bye thanks to the carnage ahead of them; Bishop's was steamrolled 49-11 by Sherbrooke, so they're out of the ballot. Sherbrooke moves up thanks to that impressive win, and Saint Mary's returns to the top 10 thanks to their fourth-straight win. They're now 4-3 on the year, and it looks like it might be the same old story in the AUS with the Huskies on top; this year's shown us that there's more parity there than we might have thought, though, so it could be an interesting postseason.
The StFX X-Men, who were giant killers when they upset the UNB Varsity Reds in the AUS playoffs last year before bowing out to the eventual CIS champions SMU Huskies, are the hottest team in the east in the early season.

Led by fifth-year captain Chris Hulit (6 goals & 8 points in 4 games) the X-Men are 4-0 in conference play. Friday night they had a back and forth game with struggling St. Thomas until the third period, when X scored four unanswered goals for the 5-2 win. Saturday night they were hosting UdeM, and were never behind as they came away with a 4-1 win, with neither team scoring on the power play and the shots 36 apiece. For the X-Men the offense is not all the play of Hulit, as rookie Jason Bast, Matthew Bragg and Bryce Swan each have a goal and 4 assists so far this season and goaltenders Joey Perricone and Bryan Gillis each have two wins.

Friday night UNB had their home opener, and made short work of the rebuilding Dalhousie Tigers, cruising to a 5-1 win. Saturday night was a stiffer challenge, and it wasn't until a couple of controversial penalties (from the Acadia viewpoint) in the third period before the V-Reds were able to put away the opportunistic Axemen 5-2. Acadia coach Darren Burns did his best to avoid repercussions from the conference in his post game comments to the Daily Gleaner:
"I was impressed with our last 40-45 minutes," Burns said. "I can't comment on the officiating, obviously, because then I get suspended and then I can't be with my team on Friday night. I'm sure Gardiner (UNB coach MacDougall) is going to watch video tonight and I'm going to watch video," Burns said. "I'm going to make myself better, players are going to make themselves better. I think if everybody who's involved in the game watches video, maybe they'd be better too." (emphasis mine)
Oh, and Acadia wasn't happy about a second period non-goal, shorthanded by Scott Tregunna, that was clear to us in the press box (and confirmed by replay on Rogers TV), but fooled the goal judge and zebras.

The developing story at UNB is not so much that of CIS MVP Hunter Tremblay, who is tied for the team lead in points (6), but the strong play of (third line, or are they the second line?) linemates Jeff Lee and Dion Campbell, who each have 3 goals. Lee, from Calgary, joined the V-Reds late last fall after pro camps and sorting out some eligibility issues and never really found his game in the deep UNB line-up. Campbell, from Melville, SK, came out of Junior A hockey and was passed over by the Saskatchewan Huskies and was essentially a walk-on at UNB in 2008. Campbell has improved every year and the two have found their groove together this season driving opposition nets and making life miserable for defencemen.

St. Thomas was supposed to play Saint Mary's on Saturday night, but the game was postponed until December due to a scheduling conflict at the Halifax Forum. The winless Tommies will have to wait until Wednesday to try again for that first win, when they host Moncton. The good news for STU is that goaltender Charles Lavigne has finished serving his four-game suspension that carried over from last season, and will probably get the start.

Moncton, who were 2-0 last week and somehow got a #1 vote from someone on the CIS Top 10 committee, got into penalty trouble against Saint Mary's on Friday night, and really paid the price. The Huskies scored 5 power play goals in 10 extra-man opportunities, and humbled les Aigles Bleus 7-1. SMU's Colby Pridham scored twice on the power play and once shorthanded for the hat trick, while Cam Fergus had three assists in the game.

UPEI had a mixed weekend. On Friday night they gave up three first period goals to Acadia, scored twice in the second period to draw within a goal, only to see the Axemen score twice in the third period for the 5-2 win. Saturday they rebounded nicely against Dalhousie. The Tigers had the early lead, and after exchanging goals, the Panthers scored five answered markers for the 6-2 win. UPEI was led by veteran Cory Vitarelli with the hat trick and three points from Matt Carter.
In what's become almost an annual tradition, Windsor director of athletcs Gord Grace has probably just received his "If I've lost Cronkite" moment ... again.

Bob Duff, the southwest Ontario sportswriting institution, has said Lancers head football coach Mike Morencie should be dispatched post-haste. This has come up in the past. Duff is not a hard-liner vis-à-vis Lancers football, having fallen into line with what many have said for years. There is no stay-the-course argument.
"The Lancers are left with no choice but to replace coach Mike Morencie, whose contract with the school is up.

The future of the program may very well be at stake.

Under Morencie's 13 years of leadership, there's been one winning season, one playoff victory, and an overall mark of 34-68-1.

Physically, the Lancers lack the depth of talent and size to compete with the majority of OUA teams.

While other Lancer programs have turned the corner -- both basketball teams are national powers, the women's hockey team is nationally-ranked for the first time, and the men's hockey squad is ever-improving -- the football program, the marquee sport of a school's athletic department -- is sinking.

They are 10-22 over the past four seasons, three of them ending 2-6 including this year.

Toronto, once such a dismal program that it was nearly dissolved, won three games this season, one more than Windsor. Only 0-8 York, another program on death watch, rates worse than the Lancers in Ontario. (A Windsor newspaper)
It is actually 9-23 if anyone gives a flying rat's rear end.

A couple bullet point dealies.
  • You may draw a parallel between Windsor's situation and the other OUA coaching change, Rob Smart parting with Queen's men's basketball team. (Does this make Windsor men's hoops coach Chris Oliver the OUA's Kevin Bacon, since he preceded Smart and his program outshines the grid Lancers?)

    In both cases, it is about changing more than a coach. Some would say Windsor has become conditioned to accept being a football also-ran. That is not about to change without decisive action, otherwise we'll be writing the same things about Morencie's successor in a few years.

    The program needs a bigger budget to be competitive, pure and simple.

  • The argument about football being the marquee sport, isn't that contestable?

    The Lancers sometimes draw 2,000 fans for a hoops game, which is actually larger than some of their football crowd. It's glib as all get out, but it is a little similar to the state of Carleton's team when Drew Love folded it in 1999 ... there has been a lot of clinging to a no-longer-relevant modicum of success (Windsor was last good in the '70s, Carleton was decent in the mid-'80s).

    Now Carleton is likely resurrecting football. Perhaps Windsor should at least do a honest appraisal, although of course we hope football continues.

  • It has been said a hundred times, but no wants Mike Morencie to be out of work. He's always had the utmost integrity and he cares about his players:

  • No doubt you've already heard the theory Grace might end up coaching the team. Usual suspects among the assistant coach ranks such as Guelph's Kevin MacNeil and Western's Mickey Donovan will probably come up as well.

  • As for a sexier candidate, we don't know what a CFL special teams coach makes, but if it is doable, why not go hard after former Guelph coach Kyle Walters?

    Anyone who got Guelph to a Yates Cup has a good CV for winning at a similar-sized OUA school. He knows the turf.

  • Queen's assistant head coach Pat Tracey always comes up in these discussions. Queen's should break the bank to keep him, says the guy who does not have to sign the cheques.

One thing has been a constant this season when the Saskatchewan Huskies lace em up for a weekend series - a split.

For the third time in as many tries, the Huskies picked up a win and a loss this weekend in their matchup with the Manitoba Bisons, while both Alberta and Calgary came away with sweeps.

Bears, Pronghorns play some pickup hockey

After an 8-2 victory Friday night in Edmonton - a game in which the Bears Derek Ryan had a hat-trick and three assists, including his third goal coming shorthanded on a 5-on-3 kill - the Pronghorns and Bears played one of the sloppiest, yet entertaining games of the season Saturday at Clare Drake Arena.

It was hardly a display of system perfection in the Saturday night affair, with the two sides trading blows in a second period that saw the Bears and 'Horns combine for eight goals in an eventual 9-6 win for Alberta.

The absence of Scott Bowles in goal was glaring for Lethbridge, with backup Reese St. Goddard looking overwhelmed for the majority of the series.

At the other end of the ice, rookie Linden Rowat got his first start of the regular season Saturday after Kurtis Mucha picked up the win Friday. Rowat wasn't overly impressive surrendering six goals in his debut, and when his next start will come is anyone's guess with Real Cyr not seeing action this weekend.

For a Lethbridge team that I think has potential to be a real player in what will be a muttled Canada West playoff picture this season, it was hard to judge just where they're at considering the absence of Brian Matte, Andrew Courtney and Bowles. One thing was clear this weekend; however, they need Bowles back - now.

Dinos feel right at home in Father David Bauer Arena

The postal code may be different, but the Calgary Dinos felt right at home in Vancouver's Father David Bauer Arena, picking up a pair of one goal victories over UBC - 3-2 Friday and 2-1 Saturday via the shootout.

Things were close this weekend for the T-Birds who simply couldn't muster enough offence, running intot hot goaltenders in Kris Lazaruk Friday and Dustin Butler Saturday. Butler stood on his head to make 40 stops, making four stops in the shootout as well.

Saturday marked the Dinos fourth consecutive win, and fourth one goal game in a row as well.

Strong goaltending performances were good signs for the Dinos, who may find themselves in a situation where both netminders see action every weekend - a system that gives head coach Mark Howell some options in the crease come crunch time.

Bisons get a trio of points in Toon Town

It's early in the season, but one thing is clear when it comes to the Manitoba Bisons and Saskatchewan Huskies - these two teams are going to be in a dead heat all season long.

In a rare Saturday-Sunday series, Steve Christie put up the goose egg Saturday to backstop the Bisons to a 2-0 win at Rutherford Rink in Saskatoon thanks to two powerplay goals from the Herd. On the other side of the coin, Saskatchewan would go an abysmal 0-for-9 with the man advantage.

Sunday saw the team's trade markers, with regulation solving nothing, as the two sides needed overtime to break a 3-3 draw. Huskies assistant captain Steven DaSilva would prove to be the hero, scoring the OT winner 2:18 into the extra period to lift Saskatchewan to the 4-3 win.

While Manitoba didn't get a rare sweep at Rutherford, they did manage to pick up three out of a possible four points, making their trip up to Toon Town a success.
Out west we now know who the four playoff teams will be - Saskatchewan, Calgary, Regina and Alberta - but what order the top three squads will finish in has yet to be answered with one week to go in the regular season.

Dinos do it again to Rams

In Regina Friday night the Rams played host to the Calgary Dinos, and with the opportunity to finish first in the conference very much in their hands with two weeks to go, the Rams fell flat against the Dinos after falling behind early in an eventual 35-27 loss.

Both teams came out slow in the first quarter, before the #7 ranked Dinos erupted for 23 second quarter points compared to a measly three from Regina. Calgary would head into the half with a 24-3 lead and that would prove insurmountable for the #3 ranked Rams.

Regina made things interesting with 16 fourth quarter points, but that wouldn't be enough as Calgary picked up their second win in as many tries against the Rams.

Matt Walter led the way offensively for the Dinos with 158 yards rushing, along with Aaron Ifield who was good on all four of his FG tries.

One has to wonder if this Calgary team has the ability to turn it on at the right time after looking mediocre at times during the course of the regular season. They've put themselves in a position to finish in first if they take care of business next week against Alberta coupled with a Regina win.

Erik Glavic is back under centre, and with a team that was expected to challenge again for the Hardy Cup, maybe a big win over Regina is the beginning of the best for the Dinos.

Huskies stay hot

After a 1-2 start to the season, the Saskatchewan Huskies are now amongst the hottest teams in the nation after their fourth consecutive win thanks to a convincing 30-9 victory in Vancouver over UBC.

The boxscore makes it look like another ho-hum win for the Huskies, but Saskatchewan did turn the ball over three times.

UBC though was stagnant on offence, especially on the ground where they rushed for a measly 42 yards.

Saskatchewan quarterback Laurence Nixon had an up and down day, throwing for 330 yards and a touchdown, but also turned the ball over three times - two interceptions, and a fumble.

It wasn't the most polished win of the season for the Huskies, but their defence got the job done limiting the T-Birds to 280 yards of total offence.

With the win the Huskies now find themselves in a tie for first place in the conference.

The Sled Dogs have the opportunity to finish first with a win this coming weekend against Regina regardless of what Calgary does since the Huskies own the tiebreaker versus the Dinos by way of their two wins over the boys from the Stampede City.

Saskatchewan has outscored their opponents a combined 163-38 over the course of their four-game winning streak - that works out to a margin of victory north of 31 points per game. Needless to say, the Huskies that lost two straight early this season are part of ancient history.

Bears punch playoff ticket

Despite a tight game at the half - 16-14 in favour of Alberta - it was all Golden Bears in the second 30 minutes, outscoring the Manitoba Bisons 30-7 in the final two quarters to lift the Green and Gold to a 46-21 win and a playoff berth.

Matt Jarvis was the story for Alberta, rushing for 205 yards in his final game as a member of the Bears at Foote Field, adding two touchdowns to go out a winner on his home turf after five-years as a member of the program.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Bears, pushing their record to 3-4.

In a game they had to have - to stop what had been an abysmal stretch of games, along with securing a playoff spot - the Bears struggling offence managed to put up over 500 yards, and five major scores to get out of a funk that had seen them put up only four offensive scores in the previous four weeks.

Alberta will finish in fourth regardless of the outcome of the games next week, and head to Calgary to take on the Dinos - a tough task given the Bears struggles against their provincial rivals over the last several seasons.
The Canada West coaches poll of preseason rankings has now been posted. Since coaches are not permitted to vote for their own team, each squad can receive up to twelve first-place votes -- of which Regina took 8, Saskatchewan 3, and UVic 2.

For the most part the rankings parallel ours, but with Brittany Read out of the lineup for the Cougars it will be interesting to see how Regina's newfound lack of size will impact that prediction.

The CIS Top 10 poll has not yet been posted, but should be available shortly.
The Canada West men's basketball season kicks off with a bang tonight, with a rematch of last year's CIS Championship game between the UBC Thunderbirds and Saskatchewan Huskies. Join the liveblog for all the updates!

Just in time for tonight's games.

Concordia at Montreal (-14)
Calgary at Regina (-8)
Saskatchewan at UBC (+16.5)

Mount Allison at Saint Mary's (-22)
Acadia at StFX (too close)
Toronto at Western (-39)
Guelph at Ottawa (-12.5)
Sherbrooke at Bishop's (-8)
Laval at McGill (+33)
York at Queen's (-34.5)
Laurier at Windsor (+15.5)
Manitoba at Alberta (-5.5)
Our basketball preview series continues with a conference-by-conference look at the contenders in the men's game.

Some explanation of the stats: The RPI ranking includes all 2009-10 games (exhibition, season, playoffs, Final 8). "Offence" and "defence" are points per 78 possessions (the average number in a CIS game) and can be thought of as adjusted points-for and points-against averages. The difference between the two is the number in parentheses, serving as a plus/minus of sorts. These numbers are rounded and may not add up precisely. Top 100 players refers to the Player Efficiency Rankings for 2009-10. Other statistics referenced can be found at the CIS site. "Wacyk Wisdom" is our way of deferring to the authority on CIS basketball, for teams Mark has previewed so far.

We'll go through the contenders in Canada West today, with the other conferences to follow.

Last year's results: 15-5 regular season, lost Canada West final to Saskatchewan and national semifinal to UBC (4th in RPI)
Offence / defence: 78/66 (+12)
They return: 7 players, 47% of minutes, 41% of points
Top 100 players: Tyler Fidler (37)
Outlook: For the past several seasons, the Dinos have enjoyed a nice run in both conference and national play, thanks to the likes of the Bekkering brothers and Robbie Sihota. But with those players gone and a pack of relatively inexperienced players taking their place, the Dinos’ hopes of a Final 8 run this year are possibly extinct. Still, Calgary’s talent pool is filled with potential, and a talent-heavy recruiting class of rookies and transfers should help them prey on unprepared opponents. Forward Tyler Fidler takes over Ross Bekkering’s role as post presence and offensive focal point, while Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, a standout rookie last season, will be given more freedom to create plays as the primary ball handler. For the Dinos to win, the veteran players will have to find a way to translate successes of the past into the present minus the play of Bekkering and Sihota. Without those players, however, the growing pains of 2010-2011 may leave Dinos fans feeling a bit sore.

Wacyk Wisdom: “Several strong, young pieces remain from last season - there are no fifth-year players on this season's roster - and a number of recruits, including a promising big man, are paving the way for another multi-year run at the Nationals.”

Last year's results: 14-6 regular season, won both Canada West Final Four and national championship (2nd in RPI)
Offence / defence: 84/70 (+14)
They return: 6 players, 46% of minutes, 35% of points
Top 100 players: Nolan Brudehl (67), Michael Lieffers (44)
Outlook: No team sees a bigger turnaround of top-level personnel than the Huskies, who are without last year’s stars Showron Glover, Mike Linklater, Troy Gottselig and coach Greg Jockims, who is taking a year away from the game. All four were key figures in the championship run, and Saskatchewan will inevitably face troubles without them. With Glover, a first-team All-Canadian last year, the Huskies had a flashy, play-making guard who could take over a game on his own. This year, Saskatchewan is hoping they’ve replaced him with fellow California product Jamelle Barrett, who scored 18.7 points per game last season with Consumnes River Community College. Sasky also adds another impact player with a rare double-transfer in Rejean Chabot, who started with the Huskies in 2007, transferred to Brandon for 2008-2009 (where he averaged 17.4 points per game) and has now returned to Saskatoon. The combination of Barrett and Chabot gives Saskatchewan one of the most intriguing backcourts in the CIS, and championship pieces Michael Lieffers and Nolan Brudehl are more than capable of taking on larger roles, and However, the shoes of last year’s team are likely too large to fill for the Huskies to make another title run.

Wacyk Wisdom: “Two top, experienced guards and a host of very good complementary players with the experience of playing for a National champion return, so this season may be one of simply re-tooling instead of re-building for the Saskatchewan Huskies.”

Last year's results: 9-9 regular season, missed playoffs (18th in RPI)
Offence / defence: 79/78 (+1)
They return: 9 players, 78% of minutes, 78% of points
Top 100 players: Tyrell Mara (79), Jacob Doerksen (9)
Outlook: If the recipe for success in CIS basketball is a roster of experienced, returning players, the Spartans may be cooking up quite a season. Armed with one of the most experienced cores in the CIS, the Spartans are in prime position to return from a disappointing end to 2009-2010 (four losses in a row to miss the playoffs) and threaten to do some postseason damage. 2009 CIS Player of the Year Jacob Doerksen leads a veteran crew that includes six fourth- and fifth-year players, and will be once again depended on for the lion’s share of scoring duties. Trinity Western boasts a physically intimidating lineup, and with 11 players standing 6’6” or taller, the Spartans are able to punish teams with a deep rotation. Still, questions remain about the roles within the starting lineup. Transfers Tristan Smith and Kyle Coston figure to appear in the starting lineup, and the Doerksen-based offence is still a work in progress. However, with Saskatchewan and Calgary looking like they will take a step backward, the experienced Spartans may be ready to relish the role of challenging UBC for the Canada West title.

Last year's results: 9-9 regular season, missed playoffs (21st in RPI)
Offence / defence: 74/73 (+1)
They return: 8 players, 77% of minutes, 75% of points
Top 100 players: Jeff Cullen (71), Zac Andrus (65)
Outlook: A year of experience does the Vikes a wealth of good, with a roster that returns all but one key player from last year’s rotation (albeit a very good one in guard Cyril Indome). The Vikes will look to their experienced backcourt to lead the way, with veteran guards Cullen and MacKinnon the most dangerous threats on the floor. Cullen is one of the best floor generals in the conference, while MacKinnon and Marco Dolcetti will be depended on to fill up the bucket. The Vikes were able to stay competitive last year through sound defensive play, and coach Craig Beaucamp has taken steps to improve hot-and-cold scoring by implementing a ball movement-friendly Princeton offence. With a roster that is very deep, the key to Victoria’s improvement this season will be establishing who the key figures and role players are.

Wacyk Wisdom: “Vikes starting five are collectively as experienced and savvy as any first five in the CIS, so the personnel at the top is there to run this type of offense.”

Last year's results: 17-1 regular season, won Canada West bronze medal and finished second at nationals (1st in RPI)
Offence / defence: 82/64 (+17)
They return: 8 players, 74% of minutes, 73% of points
Top 100 players: Josh Whyte (5)
Outlook: The Thunderbirds are hoping the third time will be a charm, having seen the last two CIS Championship games slip through their fingers. UBC returns nearly all of their core from last year, including CIS Player of the Year Josh Whyte, and plays host to a very deep, very experienced team. Doug Plumb, a Fraser Valley transfer who redshirted last season, has had an impressive preseason and figures to add another element to the Thunderbirds’ considerable depth. However, as seen in the past two Final 8 championship games, UBC has struggled at times to find offensive consistency when Whyte plays ever so slightly below his usual stellar self. If they can fit Plumb into the offensive system while still taking advantage of Whyte's considerable playmaking ability, the Thunderbirds may be tough to stop all season long.
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