After two close losses -- especially close on Saturday night, as the Vikes were leading by four with less than a minute left in the game -- to the #9-ranked Alberta Pandas this past weekend, the Victoria Vikes have fallen even farther from the top spot they held a few weeks ago down to #4. Windsor remains at #1, while Regina and Saskatchewan pick up the #2 and #3 spots, respectively. The rankings are available here.

Here's how the top 10 teams fared this past week:

#1 Windsor:
The top-ranked Lancers swept their weekend competition and will enter the second half of the season ranked #1 in the OUA and the CIS. Behind a 24-point and 12-rebound performance by Jessica Clemençon (who was also named OUA athlete of the week after the weekend's play), the Lancers knocked off the Queen's Golden Gaels 77-58 on Friday night. On Saturday, the Lancers bombarded the RMC Paladins 95-41 behind an equally massive 29 point performance by Clemençon. The Lancers outscored the host team 58-14 in the second half, with Bojana Kovacevic adding her own 20 points to the visitor tally.

#2 Regina:
The Cougars managed a sweep of their own, but it was in a much less definitive fashion: with the game tied 62-62 with 40 seconds left on Friday, it was a pair of Lindsay Ledingham free throws that ultimately put Regina on top on the Dinos and allowed them to hold on to a nail-biting 66-64 win. Ledingham led all scorers with 19, while Gabrielle Gheyssen went 4/6 from behind the arc and added 16 of her own. On Saturday it was another 19 points, but this time from Joanna Zalesiak, that gave the Cougars another squeaker of a win: only 5 points separated the (previously #3) Cougars from unranked Calgary and ended their weekend sweep 72-67.

#4 Victoria and #9 U of A (technically #8 -- they're tied with Toronto):
If seeing is truly believing, then the Vikes are potentially in for a scary next few games: sources say senior post Kayla Dykstra went down hard in the final seconds of Saturday's game in the Pandas gym, and had to be helped off while clutching her left knee. It remains to be seen if Dykstra has in fact been seriously injured, but the Vikes surely (and all other sympathizers) are hoping that the Christmas break will be enough to put her back in fighting shape.

Pre-injury, however, things were not sunshine and roses for the visiting team either: the Island team was knocked off 82-71 and 67-66 on their prairie road trip, and have fallen two spots in the rankings to #4 as a result. On Friday, Debbie Yeboah, Dykstra, and Vanessa Forstbauer tallied 21, 20, and 17 points respectively in the losing effort, while Georgia Popovici, Nicole Clarke and Marissa Haylett totalled 22, 20 and 20 in response. On Saturday, it was a last-second three pointer by Anneka Bakker that sealed the Vikings' fate, and Dykstra's long-bomb-to-desperation-layup rimmed out to give the Pandas the 67-66 win.

#5 Western:
A stifling defense, together with a well-rounded scoring effort (eight Mustangs tallied 8 or more points, and 5 of those 8 were double-digit scores) led the Mustangs to an absolute stomping of the RMC Paladins 93-29. On Saturday, however, Western was far less dominant: a come-from-behind effort and a 20-16 4th quarter was necessary for the 65-64 win at the Golden Gaels gym. For the home team, Brittany Moore led all scorers with 21, while Jenny Vaughan, Jacklyn Selfe and Matteke Hutzler added 19, 17 and 14 for the Mustangs, respectively.

Other top 10 teams:

#6 UNB:
97-49 over Dalhouse on Friday and 93-77 over Acadia Saturday, which surprisingly enough had a 27-point individual performance from each team (Duinker and Colborne).

#7 Carleton:
71-49 over McMaster and 85-61 over Lakehead.

#8 Toronto:
81-45 over Waterloo on Friday and a 60-52 win over Laurier the next night.

#10 Cape Breton:
71-68 over St. FX on Wednesday
As the OUA season speeds toward the holiday break, the Windsor Lancers now have the advantage in the stacked OUA West.

The Lancers (7–1) now sit in first place, after a 2–0 weekend. A day after getting by the Queen’s Golden Gaels Nov. 26 (68–54), the Lancers made the most of their Kingston stay, whooping the Paladins 112–68. Monty Hardware squashed the Paladins with 25 points in 23 minutes. Tyrone Bramble scored 18. When a squad shoots 48 per cent from the floor, and score 12 three-pointers in a winning cause, you would think the Lancers now have all the confidence in the world going into the break.

The Golden Hawks (6–2) kept pace with the Lancers, making the most of their time on home turf. On Nov. 26, the squad, led by Matthew Buckley’s first CIS-level double-double (23 points, 15 rebounds), handed Ryerson an 89–76 smacking. The next night, Peter Campbell’s squad handed the CIS-ranked Varsity Blues a loss, 94–85. Blues guard Justin Holmes had 22 points in a losing cause.

Meanwhile, the Thunderwolves (6–2, 1–1 this weekend) had to endure the inevitable Ottawa swing in their OUA schedule. After skimming by the Gee-Gees 68–65, the tired squad got smoked by the Ravens Nov. 27 (75–49). The Ravens won all quarters, out-rebounding the Thunderwolves 45–25. Ben Johnson, not to be confused with the infamous sprinter, had the only double digit point total on the night, with 11 points.

As of Saturday night, five squads at the top of the OUA West are within a couple games of the Lancers. The Badgers and Mustangs (5–3) sit at 10 points, only four points back.
Lancers basketball should feel pretty good right about now.

Both men’s and women’s squads (7–1) travelled to Kingston this weekend, won their games handedly against the Paladins and Golden Gaels, and lead the OUA West going into the holiday break.

Winning 77–58 against the Gaels, Jessica Clemencon (24 points, 12 rebounds) and Bojana Kovacevic (14 points) led the way to victory for the women’s squad. The Gaels competed well, making seven three-pointers and outscoring the Lancers 20–15 in the final quarter, but the game was unreachable by the end of the third quarter. Brittany Moore had 16 points in a losing cause.

The next day, in the stylings of an exhibition game, a 95–41 shellacking of the Paladins was highlighted by 48 per cent shooting and 15 offensive rebounds. Clemencon’s 29 points continues to show her prowess as a leader in the OUA. The Paladins scored 14 points in the second half, with Carolyn Pumphrey leading RMC with 15 points.

With their holiday now here, the Lancers can rest and re-energize. They will need the rest, as their next match is Jan. 5, against their divisional rival Mustangs (7–1).

The Mustangs were also hanging about the Kingston-based schools, where they also went 2–0. A 93–29 victory against the Paladins, and a 65–64 slim win against the Golden Gaels put the Mustangs in a good place as they contemplate their match against the Lancers five weeks from now.

The Lancers and Mustangs, along with the OUA East leading Varsity Blues (7–2), now lead the OUA with 14 points overall. The Blues were a solid 2–0 as well, beating the Warriors 81–45 and the Golden Hawks 60–52 Nov. 26 and 27. Nicki Schutz had 16 and 14 points over the two games, leading all Blues scorers.

There are a couple more contests in the schedule before the OUA takes a break. The Paladins will be hosting their derby with the Golden Gaels Dec. 2, and the Lions will scurry northward to face the Voyageurs at Laurentian Dec. 4.
Daniel Da Silva will be joining the blog to give his insight into some OUA West hockey, and a little bit of everything else, having been an OUA (and Western) sports fan for years. He is a two-year Sports editor and columnist at the Gazette at Western. Feel free to read his stuff and tell him he's wrong.

I am both a student at the University of Western Ontario, and a hockey fan. So it should come as no surprise that I follow the Mustangs hockey team – well, that and it’s part of my job at the Gazette.

So as someone who knows Mustangs hockey, you will have to trust me on this next statement –the Lakehead Thunderwolves have woken up and that is a terrifying prospect.

The Thunderwolves have a storied history of ending Western’s season, such as last year, when they easily swept the Mustangs in the OUA West semi.

Once again, Lakehead started off this year a little slower than one would expect. They split a series against Waterloo at home to start the season, were swept by Windsor and split with weaker Laurier and York teams.

But ahead of this past weekend, they were on a five game winning streak – yes I know four of those wins were against UOIT and Nipissing.

This weekend they had to make the ridiculous trek to Montreal to take on the Concordia Stingers – again, not exactly an OUA powerhouse, but still, traveling for a full day isn’t easy for anyone.

They could have been excused for coming out a little sluggish. Yet, they exploded on Concordia right from the opening whistle, with reliable Kris Hogg scoring just 32 seconds in. They went into the first intermission with a 5-1 lead, en route to an 11-2 win.

How do they follow that up? How about running off to another 5-0 lead in game two? Sure, it wasn’t quite a blowout after they allowed four goals in the last two periods, but a 7-4 victory is still relatively comfortable.

Second-year star – and Mustang nightmare – Matt Caria continued his torrid pace with seven points in the two games, taking his season total to 28 points. Swede Victor Anilane had three goals and two assists.

Again, you could say they just beat UOIT, Nipissing and Concordia. That won’t matter once they start playing the big boys.

But here is why these guys are scary. First of all, they were in this position last year. They picked up steam after the winter break and made their run to the OUA final. The signs that they could repeat that are there again.

Second, their powerplay is probably the best in the conference. They fire at a 25% rate. They buried six on the Stingers, including five in the opener. It helps that they draw a lot of penalties, allowing them to score special teams goals in bunches. Concordia took 72 minutes of penalties in the first game. They should have just forfeited.

And even when they aren’t on the powerplay, they score in bunches. Good luck trying to stop it, everyone else in the OUA. They have six guys who are point-a-game players, so you can’t key on one line.

I’ll admit it, their defence is a weakness. Nobody’s perfect. But young goalie Alex Dupuis has been phenomenal, with a .920 save percentage.

While their penalty kill looks worse than the Toronto Maple Leafs, they don’t take many penalties. They have taken the fewest in the West – Carleton and Queen’s are the only two teams who have been shorthanded fewer times. Discipline breeds success, and you know head coach Joel Scherban preaches that to his team all the time.

So, on the back of a seven-game winning streak, the boys from Thunder Bay head into the winter break. And they are nipping at the heels of the Mustangs, just itching to make a push for first (the Thunderwolves are fifth nationwide in RPI, one spot behind Western).

First up for them in the 2011 is Windsor at home. I hope the Lancers enjoy their holiday while it lasts, because that series isn’t going to be pretty for them. Somehow I don't think it's going to be pretty to watch for Western either.
Calculated Reactions is a new, hopefully-recurring feature that takes an hopefully-interesting look at CIS statistics, with the goal of taking the numbers and giving them greater meaning.

This week, we'll look at the men's basketball and hockey teams who experienced large weekly changes in their RPI rankings. RPI is a little odd in that teams may rise in the rankings even if they don't win. If you don't play all week, you can still move up provided that your previous opponents kept winning, and even if you play and lose, other factors could theoretically move you up a bit. However, in most cases, a significant change in your RPI ranking is a direct result of your wins and losses.


Ottawa (+11)
Last week: 32
This week: 21
L 68-65 vs. Lakehead, W 72-61 vs. McMaster

Before this weekend, Ottawa's only wins were against Bishop's (now 41st out of 42 in RPI), UQAM (31st), Dal (14th), Acadia (23rd), and Guelph (28th). The only one of those games not in October was Guelph. So it's not really the record that hurts them--though it doesn't help--but rather who they've played. Going into the weekend, the Thunderwolves were 6th and the Marauders were 20th, which helps bring Ottawa's strength of schedule up somewhat. Beating Mac gives them another boost. Still a ways to go though.

(Sidebar: Lakehead's 5th in RPI, 6th in SRS, made the Final 8 last year, yet are 12th in the poll. Let's fix that, coaches.)

Cape Breton (+6)
Last week: 10
This week: 4
W 95-79 vs. StFX

Up six? Not bad for a team that played just once. But their Wednesday night win was over rival St. F-X, who were 7th before this week. (Two wins over previously-29th UPEI helped keep the X-Men from falling past 11th.) Will this CBU win translate into more love from the voters than a mere ARVer? (Street slang for teams in the "also receiving votes" section.) Chris Cochrane hopes so.

He also wonders why the CIS poll (apparently) puts so much weight on preseason results. If only someone had produced an RPI in which more recent games are weighted more heavily (and the weight of exhibition games is further halved), meaning CBU's preseason games account for only about a quarter of their RPI ranking ... oh, well, we can dream of that another day.

Laurier (+6)
Last week: 15
This week: 9
W 89-76 vs. Ryerson, W 94-85 vs. Toronto

The Hawks had a better Toronto-Ryerson weekend than their Waterloo cousins did, because they weren't down 31-6 after one to the Blues, nor did they go 2 of 19 from long range against them. But more importantly, they won both games, knocking off the then-No. 4 team in the process. Too bad the local paper decided to banish Laurier's 94-85 triumph (not that you'd know the score from reading the article) to the land of Lame Puns and Reprinted Media Releases.

Guelph (-11)
Last week: 17
This week: 28
L 55-44 vs. Laurentian, L 93-75 vs. York

55 times this year, a team has held its opponent to fewer than 60 points, and 54 of those times, that team either won, or at least lost by three or fewer points.

And then there are the Guelph Gryphons, the 55th team in that set, who managed to give up 30 points in the fourth to the 22nd-ranked Voyageurs. Keen students of arithmetic will note that 55 minus 30 is 25, meaning that, yes, Laurentian outscored their first three quarters in the fourth. And nearly outscored Guelph's entire game.

And then the Gryphs lost by 18 to York, shooting 42% from the line over both games. That's just the kind of weekend it was.

MEN'S HOCKEY (rankings)

Acadia (+14)
Last week: 27
This week: 13
W 3-2 vs. UNB, W 3-2 vs. UPEI
Dalhousie (+11)
Last week: 21
This week: 11
W 6-5 vs. UPEI, W 6-3 vs. UNB

I put these two together because they both jumped from the 20s to the near-top 10 by virtue of beating UNB (who were No. 1) and UPEI (who were No. 3). I understand the V-Reds had some players out or hurting or both, but the scope of the RPI is unflinchingly narrow, caring not for a team's injuries or other game-affecting setbacks, and admiringly unforgiving in its devotion to the dictum, "a W is a W."

Carleton (+7)
Last week: 23
This week: 16
L 4-2 vs. Brock, W 8-0 vs. York

Inclduing the Ravens here allows me to throw a link the way of Ravens Hockey Live, after failing to act on their friendly e-mail for nearly three weeks now. (Sorry, Eric!) Though I can't say I agree with their assertion that Carleton's absence from last week's top 10 was "puzzling" when the Ravens were in the bottom third of the RPI, and now have the third-weakest schedule. But now that the Ravens are knocking on the top-15 door (and, once through, will be in the foyer looking up the top-10 staircase), they might have a point. Especially when the Bisons, who have a worse record against weaker opponents and are 28th in the RPI, were 8th in the last poll.

UOIT (-10)
Last week: 19
This week: 29
L 3-2 (SO) at Ottawa, L 3-2 (SO) at Toronto

Oh, that is not fair. Two shootout losses on the road--and they don't benefit travel-wise from being close to U of T, having played in Ottawa the previous day--and they drop all the way to 29? Shootouts are so random that it's probably better to treat them as ties in any kind of ranking system. So let's not be that hard on the Ontario Institute of University Technology; they're better than this.
Bears-Bisons break even - It was a big weekend in Winnipeg this weekend between the conference's top two teams, the Alberta Golden Bears and Manitoba Bisons, where neither team could make a decisive statement in a series split.

A pair of goals Friday from Kyle Howarth were the difference for the Herd in a 4-2 win that included an empty netter, with the bright spot on the night for Alberta coming in the form of Derek Ryan's penalty shot marker on Steve Christie in the third.

That penalty shot was the second of the night, with Blair Macaulay coming up short during his time in the spotlight, with Bears' Kurtis Mucha stopping Macaulay's attempt in the first period.

Saturday night it was the Chad Klassen show, with the conference's leading scorer factoring in on all three of Alberta's goals, including netting his 11th and 12th goals of the season in a 3-2 Bears win. Kurtis Mucha got the win Saturday, as it appears he's been anointed as the number-one netminder for Alberta over veteran Real Cyr.

The Bears head into the break with a 11-2-1 record and are five points clear of Manitoba for top spot in the conference.

Bowles brilliant, then burnt - It seems last weekend's impressive performances against Alberta proved to earlier to signal a more consistent Saskatchewan Huskies team had arrived after the Sled Dogs split against Lethbridge over the weekend.

Friday night Lethbridge was looking very much like the team we've come accustomed to during the Scott Bowles era - one that gives up nearly 50 shots and rides Bowles' hot hand to victory. A 4-2 result Friday despite giving up 47 shots was a welcome win for the 'Horns, with Kris Snopek's two goals big for head coach Greg Gatto's squad.

After a monster performance Friday night, Bowles would look human Saturday surrendering 10 goals on 37 shots, suffering through all of the Huskies goals. Steven DaSilva continued his strong play of late with a hat-trick, with Kyle Bortis' five point evening also key for Saskatchewan in a lopsided 10-1 win.

Saskatchewan finishes the first half of the season sporting a respectable 8-6-0 record which is tied with Calgary for third in the conference. Luckily for Lethbridge, their first half isn't over just yet, as they'll host UBC next weekend in the lone Canada West series of December. The Pronghorns will be looking to get the foul taste of a 10-1 loss washed away before the break.

Dinos split in Riderville - With half the population of Regina in Edmonton this weekend for the Grey Cup, the Regina Cougars and Calgary Dinos split their final games of the first half.

It was all Calgary Friday night when Brock Nixon, Colton Grant and Taylor Rovatti's first goal as a Dino were all the offence in a 3-0 Calgary win. Dustin Butler stopped all 27 Regina shots to pick up his first career shutout.

Saturday the Cougars took advantage on four of their ten powerplay opportunities, and withstood a late surge from the Dinos to hold onto a 6-5 win. Dillon Johnstone had a pair for Regina, while Reid Jorgenson maintained a share of the conference goal scoring lead picking up his 12th of the season. Kris Lazaruk got the start for Calgary surrendering five goals on 23 shots, before giving way for Butler who started the third and gave up a goal on eight shots.

Calgary heads into the break with a 7-5-2 record and a share of third in the conference, while Regina 6-10-0 in the first half, and could see themselves in the cellar of the conference before Christmas with Lethbridge playing next weekend and sitting only a point back of the Cougars in the standings.
In the Calgary Dinos, we have a team from four provinces over who have won their conference three years in a row but both of the previous two years have lost, and watched their season end at PEPS. Their fifth-year quarterback and two-time Hec Crighton Trophy winner, whose coach thought he was done for the year months ago, is playing in his last football game, and his last chance to win a ring.

On the home side of the field, it's the undefeated Laval Rouge et Or, who dominated the QUFL this year. They won their regular-season games by nearly 40 points on average, crushed Bishop's 56-1 three weeks ago, and their coach was named coach of the year. They have won their two most recent playoff games by just seven combined points, but they're still playing at home for a championship, with many thousands of supporters in the stands.

(Fun fact: the last time a school won a Vanier Cup in their home city, it was the University of Toronto (1993). The losing team? Calgary.)

This will be the first of four Vanier Cups in our site's history without any of our staff on the scene (another point in favour of combining the Vanier with the Grey Cup), but we'll still be watching, chatting, analyzing, and opining on Canadian university football's championship game as always. Check out our predictions here, then join us below.

Just in time for the game, our panelists (and a few guests) put their predictions on the record.

Jared Book: Laval 38, Calgary 19
Andrew Bucholtz: Laval 31, Calgary 24
Brian Decker: Calgary 26, Laval 24
Evan Daum: Laval 24, Calgary 21
Justin Dunk, The Score's University Rush: Calgary 24, Laval 21
Deux Fans, AllezLesBleus!: Laval 27, Calgary 20
David Kilfoil: Calgary 30, Laval 24
Mark Masters, National Post: Laval 20, Calgary 17
Rob Pettapiece: Laval 21, Calgary 19
Neate Sager: Laval 19, Calgary 17

Median prediction: Laval 24, Calgary 21

Last year's median prediction was Queen's 32, Calgary 31, exactly one point off the final score of 33-31. While it would be excellent for the wisdom of this small crowd to be that close again, I doubt it will happen...
42 more minutes and this post would have a later start time than the national championship ...

Checking the weather is part of being a sports fan, but checking the sunset time seems to be unique to CIS football. Because the national championship is being held at a stadium without proper lighting, again, it has to start at the ridiculous 11:45am ET (9:45am Calgary time) on Saturday. (The Globe and Mail)

Deux Fans, after the Carabins' DL David Ménard lost rookie of the year to Calgary QB Eric Dzwilewski, cannot understand "how it is that a No. 2 quarterback, who started three games and had a completion rate barely over 50%" could beat Ménard. (Sam Sabourin, according to them, would have been a fine choice, so it's not just about a Carabin losing.) They propose that the participants in the FRC-CIS poll (which is "usually representative") vote on the major awards, hopefully making the panel more serious, less biased, and not a bunch of clowns. (Allez Les Bleus!)

And here is the story about Dzwilewski's win. (Calgary Herald)

Saskatchewan QB Laurence Nixon tweeted during the awards ceremony, including this priceless shot of the dessert (at right). Nixon loses points for his choice of beer, though.

Pascal Masson, one of many assistant coaches at Laval, appreciates how the Rouge et Or program is operated. Oddly, the writer calls Laval "the benchmark for Canadian university football" but only glosses over their financial advantages, which might just kind of be important to their benchmark status. (Calgary Herald)

Time to play "Can You Write A Similar But Better Lede For The Calgary Sun?" My entry: "They may be the Rouge et Or, but to the rest of Canada they're the bleu-print." I think I succeeded. (Calgary Sun)

I know this is the Dinos' third time there in three years, but how can you go to Quebec City and not want to see any of it? (Calgary Herald)

On second thought, saying "third time in three years" doesn't make it clear that, in the first two years, their season ended in Quebec City. So maybe that's why they just want to win the game. (Calgary Sun)

Erik Glavic is profiled by his basically-hometown paper, including a note that Glavic "was not drafted by a CFL team and has made it clear that his future is in marketing for an oil and gas company in Calgary". (Toronto Star)

Add Chris Cochrane to the list of people approving of the Vanier-Grey pairing. (The Chronicle-Herald)
Okay, I'll admit Part 1 is a little irrelevant at this point, since Brad Sinopoli was already chosen over Kyle Quinlan as the OUA nominee for the Hec Crighton Trophy. So just pretend you read that Sinopoli-Quinlan piece two weeks ago, before "Sinopoli = OUA MVP" was official.

But we'll certainly get this next piece done before tonight's All-Canadian banquet, since the heavy lifting is already done.

The nominees are Jahmeek Taylor (receiver/returner, SMU), Simon Charbonneau (receiver, Sherbrooke), Sinopoli (QB, Ottawa), and Laurence Nixon (QB, Saskatchewan), and as with last year's two-parter (1, 2), we'll go through the players and figure out who deserves the trophy.

First, let's deal with the pair of quarterbacks. They didn't play any common opponents -- unless you count Western's exhibition game in Saskatoon, which I don't -- so we have to revert to the surplus passing and rushing rankings.

  • Nixon: 333 surplus passing yards on 225 attempts (1.5 per pass), 2.5 fewer interceptions than expected, 30 fewer rushing yards on 15 attempts (-0.5 per rush)

  • Sinopoli: 467 surplus passing yards on 280 attempts (1.7 per pass); 2.0 fewer interceptions than expected, 296 surplus rushing yards on 39 attempts (7.6 per rush)
As with his Quinlan comparison, Sinopoli's rushing puts him over the top here too, dwarfing Nixon's running game. Though the extra 130 passing yards help too.

(Note: the "fewer interceptions" is based on the same per-attempt methodology. Sinopoli was not actually that INT-prone; for example, he threw 67 passes against the Laurier and Guelph defences and wasn't picked off; all other QBs would have thrown about three interceptions given that many attempts.)

Since Sinopoli comes out ahead of Nixon, we can eliminate the latter and move on to comparing the other three.


How about the Taylor-Charbonneau comparison? Charbonneau, you'll recall, was previously ranked here as the #1 receiver, so maybe that's our answer already...
  • Charbonneau: 418 surplus receiving yards on 55 receptions (7.6 per catch)

  • Taylor: 86 surplus receiving yards on 21 receptions (4.1 per catch), 103 surplus rushing yards on 26 carries (4.0 per attempt); 337 surplus punt and kick return yards on 55 returns (6.1 per return)

Adding up the raw yardage gives a 526-418 advantage to Taylor, or you could do a quick per-attempt rating and give the crown to Charbonneau, but it's not that easy due to the differences in position. Not to mention that we still have Sinopoli sitting alone in the green room, waiting to be called on stage. So maybe we need a different approach here.

Last year, we tried to handle the Erik Glavic-Gary Ross comparison by imagining how each player would perform if he were given all of the passing/rushing/receiving opportunities for an average CIS team. It didn't really work, because nobody handles the ball all the time.

So instead of giving them the ball in 100% of the average team's chances, let's give the players the same playing time their counterparts received on each others' teams. It's more realistic in terms of opportunities (if not exactly correct), and it attempts to somewhat figure out how these players would perform if placed on other teams.

We'll give Sinopoli the average playing time of the other teams' top QBs, Micah Brown and Jean-Philippe Shoiry, which was 209 pass attempts and 28 rush attempts. That means Sinopoli is awarded +349 yards in passing and +212 in rushing for a +561 overall.

Charbonneau's counterparts are Steven Hughes and Kevin Walsh, who averaged 41 attempts between them. So it's +308 for Charbonneau, and he comes in behind Sinopoli. Now it's down to Taylor.

Jahmeek Taylor's counterparts are a little more complicated. We need the No. 2 receiver and No. 4 rusher in addition to the top returner. As it turns out, Taylor's return counterparts (Chayce Elliott, Raphael Gagné) averaged 55 returns, same as Taylor, so he keeps his +337 in that area. Then we figure his receiving stats per 49 catches, which gives him another +200, or +537 total so far. That's getting close to Sinopoli, and Taylor's rushing total is enough to put him over the top: his counterparts rushed for an average of 23 carries, meaning +91 yards for Taylor, which puts him at +628 overall.


So we've made some assumptions and showed that Taylor was worth 67 yards more than Sinopoli. That's hardly a firm conclusion: not only is the difference too small to matter statistically, we could change our inputs (more pass/rush attempts for Sinopoli, fewer receptions for Taylor) and make Sinopoli rise to the top again.

Much like last year, when we were faced with the "top QB or all-purpose receiver" debate, the more defensible choice is the quarterback: Sinopoli faced tougher competition and wasn't suspended from a playoff game. And I think there isn't enough evidence to overturn the same conclusion as 2009, which means the QB is coming out on top again.

Brad Sinopoli is the most deserving of the nominees, and I fully expect his name to be added to the list of Hec Crighton winners by the end of the evening.

Years ending in zero have often been good to the Gee-Gees; QB Paul Paddon won the school's first Hec in 1970, the Gee-Gees reached the Vanier Cup in 1980 and won it all 2000 behind the leadership of Phill Côté, the '99 Hec honouree.)
Last year, we ran the numbers on the two top OUA quarterbacks, and found that Michael Faulds ended up ahead of Danny Brannagan by quite a bit. To repeat the conclusion, we gave both players the same playing time against the same opponents and Faulds came out on top (9.8 adjusted net yards per attempt vs. Brannagan's 7.6).

Neate not-so-subtly suggested that we (I) should do the same thing with Ottawa's Brad Sinopoli and McMaster's Kyle Quinlan. To quote his prodding e-mail from Wednesday:

"It might be a good post ahead of tomorrow's Hec announcement."

So let's get on it. Teaser: the results here are much, much closer than last year's OUA battle.

First let's just look at the overall stats.
  • Sinopoli: 184 of 301 (61%) for 2,756 passing yards (9.2 per attempt), 22 TDs and 13 INTs, 66 yards lost on 13 sacks, 8.1 ANY/A (adjusted net yards per attempt), 534 rush yards on 42 attempts (12.7 per attempt)

  • Quinlan: 127 of 209 (61%) for 2,018 passing yards (9.7 per attempt), 19 TDs and 6 INTs, 90 yards lost on 18 sacks, 9.0 ANY/A, 479 rushing yards on 60 attempts (8.0 per attempt)
Sinopoli's picks work against him in the raw totals--if he threw half as many interceptions, he'd be tied in ANY/A--but he scrambles for about 50% more yards than Quinlan as well.

Of course, these aren't totally fair comparisons. For one, only eight of their nine opponents are common opponents: Quinlan never played against McMaster, obviously. Also, Sinopoli had more opportunities against Windsor than Quinlan did, racking up more than 100 extra yards in the process.

So just like we did with Brannagan-Faulds, we'll give both quarterbacks the same number of attempts against all their common opponents. Here, we'll take the minimum pass attempts of the two. For example, Sinopoli had 38 pass attempts against the Lancers, and Quinlan had 18, so each QB's stat lines vs. Windsor will be adjusted as if they both had 18 attempts. (The same is done for rushing attempts.) This means that we're ignoring the Mac-Ottawa game for both of these players, which is the proper way to compare two quarterbacks on a similar-opportunity basis.

The adjusted results:
  • Sinopoli: 112 of 183 (61%) for 1648 passing yards (9.0 per attempt), 13 TDs and 6 INTs, 59 yards lost on 11 sacks, 8.1 ANY/A, 417 rush yards on 32 attempts (13.0 per attempt)

  • Quinlan: 112 of 183 (61%) for 1672 passing yards (9.1 per attempt), 12 TDs and 5 INTs, 92 yards lost on 18 sacks, 8.0 ANY/A, 258 rush yards on 32 attempts (8.1 per attempt)

Well, that got a lot closer. Sinopoli's interceptions aren't actually that bad (relative to Quinlan's), once you put them in a similar context. Obviously when you wipe out Sinopoli's four picks from the Mac game, his stats will look better, but it's okay to do that (and throw out Quinlan's 5 TD, 0 INT performance at the same time) because we're only comparing these two players relative to each other.

The entire difference between the two, passing-wise, is 26 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. (To be technically correct, we're really looking at the difference between these teams' pass offences while these quarterbacks were throwing, since it takes a lot more than one player to make a pass play successful.)

The methodology used above is very similar to what I used in the passing, rushing, and receiving leaders for the year, in which these two players were virtually tied in surplus passing (471 to 467 for Quinlan). However, it's rushing where the differences lie. Both were quite good, but only Brad Sinopoli was the No. 1 rusher in the country. Which ultimately makes him the best pivot in the OUA this year.

Not bad for a second-year starting quarterback.

(Part 2, evaluating the four Hec Crighton nominees, will follow later today.)
Friend of the blog and CiTR sports director Wilson Wong (@longbomb) asked us to spread the word about CiTR's "Fundrive", which ends on Thursday.

And we're happy to promote it here--albeit one day later than I intended--since we know what it's like to run a CIS media operation on a shoestring.

CiTR, of course, does more than cover university sports, but this isn't called The Many Benefits of Campus Radio Blog, so we'll stick with sports. In Wilson's words: "Our station does about 100 games live on radio and the web each CIS season covering UBC Thunderbirds games. And the more money we raise, the more resources we can tap into for equipment upgrades and travel to cover CIS playoff games."

At last count, the station had nearly reached the two-thirds mark of their $30,000 goal. More resources given to a campus radio station can only lead to better coverage of CIS sports, so I'm sure all stations could use a donation, but if you'd like to donate to CiTR in particular, the link to do so is here.
Many theorists, including the Cougars themselves, believed a sweep of the Victoria Vikes the past weekend would move the green and white into the top spot in the CIS coaches’ poll. They couldn’t brush up a full sweep, but a lopsided split in their favour (Regina won by 23 on Friday night, then lost by ten on Saturday) still had many believing that the top spot could shift yet again; and it did, just not in Regina’s – or Victoria’s, for that matter – favour. Ultimately, the Windsor Lancers (after decisive 81-58 and 68-48 wins over Ottawa and Carleton, respectively) have regained the #1 position despite their surprising upset by Toronto last week.

The (yet again!) new Top 10 teams are:

Team                                         Previous Ranking
1) Windsor                                          (2)
2) Victoria                                           (1)
3) Regina                                             (3)
4) Saskatchewan                                  (5)
5) Western                                           (4)
6) UNB                                               (6)
7) Carleton                                          (8)
8) Toronto                                           (7)
9) Alberta                                           (10)
10) Cape Breton                                (NR)

(Courtesy CIS WEBSITE)

Here’s how the Top 10 fared this past weekend:

#1 Windsor Lancers:

The Lancers finished their weekend with convincing Ws over Ottawa and Carleton. On Friday night, the well-rounded scoring of Langlois, Clemençon, Kovacevic and Peklova (19, 18, 15 and 14, respectively) led Windsor to an 81-58 victory over Ottawa. For the Gee-Gees, Hannah Sunley-Paisley was held to a mere 9 points while Nolette led her team with 15. On Saturday, it was more of the same: Peklova (16), Kovacevic (15) and Jean (11) shared the double-digit scoring. On the Ravens' side, Hawkins and Cleary led their team with 12 and 10. The Lancers improve to 5-1 on the season.

Continuing on the (#7) Carleton Ravens note:

Despite star transfer Matteke Hutzler's 22 points and 10 rebounds, the Western Mustangs couldn't maintain their win streak and fell to 4-1 on the season after a nail-biting 2-point loss to the Carleton Ravens on Friday night. For the Mustangs, Jaclyn Selfe added 14 in the 65-67 loss, and Alyson Bush led with 20 Carleton points.

Moving on to #5 Western:

It turned out to be a winless weekend for Ottawa, as the Western Mustangs capitalized on a big defensive fourth quarter showing to move past the Gee Gees 58-35 Saturday night. Western held Ottawa to a mere five points in the final frame and a pitiful 2 for 26 shooting in the entire second half. Hutzler and Selfe led the Mustangs in scoring once again, adding twelve points each. Sunley-Paisley also scored 12 in a losing effort.

#2 Victoria and #3 Regina:

The Cougars' hopes for a top-spot sweep of the Victoria Vikes didn't quite pan out -- and neither did their hope for rankings -- despite a decisive 23-point win over the blue and gold on Friday night. The Cougars held the Vikes to a season-low 49 points, tallying 72 of their own in return. Gheyssen and Zalesiak totaled 16 and 15 respectively, while senior Kayla Dykstra totalled 13 in the loss. On Saturday, behind an enormous 31-point 4th quarter performance, the Vikes returned the favour (almost) with a 75-65 victory at home. Zalesiak, Ledingham and Graham all totalled 14 points, while Kayla Dykstra chalked up 23 with 8 rebounds to lead the Vikes to victory.

#4 Saskatchewan:

A huge double double (20 points, 10 rebounds) from senior transfer Katie Miyazaki led the Huskies to a 74-54 Friday night win over Winnipeg. The Huskies completed their sweep (decisively -- 90-62)on Saturday behind yet another 20-point performance, this time from senior PG Jill Humbert.

#6 UNB:

83-56 and 80-72 against UPEI. New Brunswick is 3-1 on the season.

#8 Toronto:

It was another split weekend for the Varsity Blues, with a 74-67 loss to Brock on Friday and a 80-65 win over Guelph the next night. Toronto is now 5-2 in league play.

#9 Alberta:

The Pandas tied Regina this weekend at 7-1 after a road sweep of the Trinity Western Spartans. 66-40 on Friday and 63-48 on Saturday.

#10 Cape Breton:

Weekend sweep of Acadia, 70-52 and 61-47. The Capers are 4-2 so far. 
Pandas Take Two From Saskatchewan

The #3 Alberta Pandas picked up a pair of close road wins this weekend over the #10 Saskatchewan Huskies in Canada West action.

The opening game of the set was a true goaltender battle, with both Alberta's Kanesa Shwetz and Saskatchewan's Mackenzie Rizos making save after save to keep the game close.

There was no scoring until the second period, when Alberta scored back-to-back goals by Karla Bourke and Brandi Buss, to give the Pandas the 2-0 lead. Danny Stone scored for the Huskies before the period was over, to halve the lead, but with the tremendous goaltending at both ends, that was all either team was able to score, and Alberta took it by the 2-1 final.

Shwetz ended up making 29 saves in the victory, while Rizos made 32 for the losing Huskies.

In the second game, it was a last-minute goal that propelled the Pandas to victory over Saskatchewan.

After outshooting the Huskies 13-2 and two first-period goals by Sarah Hillworth put the Pandas ahead 2-0 at the first intermission, it looked as though they might have an early grip on the game. However, Saskatchewan fought back and tied the game up in the second.

Cara Wooster scored first for the Huskies, and then just five minutes later, it was Sara White who tied the game up, sending the game into the third period tied at twos.

The third period was a defensive battle, and it looked as though the game was destined for overtime, until with just seven seconds remaining, Karla Bourke scored to give the Pandas a hard-fought 3-2 win.

Michala Jeffries started between the pipes for Alberta, making 23 saves in the win, while Rizos suffered her second loss of the weekend, despite making 23 saves herself.

The win moves Alberta to 8-3-1, good enough to keep first place in Canada West.


The #1 McGill Martlets remain unbeaten following the weekend, after picking up a shutout victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

It was Charline Labonte making 15 saves and picking up the shutout, as she and Laurier's Liz Knox continue to battle for the CIS record of most shutouts in a career. Offensively, Cathy Chartrand sealed the winn for the Martlets, as her third-period goal put the lead to three goals.

In exhibition action, McGill also downed the St. Mary's Huskies by a final of 6-0, in a game that Labonte picked up another shutout, and six different Martlets scored.


In OUA action, the #2 Laurier Golden Hawks had an easy weekend, first knocking off Queen's 3-1, thanks to a shorthanded game-winner by Katherine Shiriff. In their second game, Laurier opened the floodgates, and Laura Brooker scored twice as the Golden Hawks easily picked up a 6-2 victory over the UOIT Ridgebacks.


Also in the OUA, the #5 Guelph Gryphons had a tough weekend, dropping their only game to the #8 Brock Badgers by a final of 4-2.

Brock scored three unanswered goals between the second and third periods, which was enough to hold on to the win over Guelph. For the Badgers, captain Kelly Walker had two goals and an assist to lead the offense.

It was another solid game for Brock goalie Beth Clause, as she kicked out 28 shots in the contest, as the Badgers continue to climb, and now find themselves second in the OUA.


The #6 Manitoba Bisons had no problem in knocking off the UBC Thunderbirds in their two-game set over the weekend. Tara Lacquette stopped all 17 shots she faced, while four different Bisons scored to give Manitoba a 4-0 win in the first matchup of the weekend.

In the second, Nellie Minshull was the star of the show, scoring twice for Manitoba, while goals from Jordyn Hrehirchuk and Addie Miles provided insurance, as the Bisons downed the Thunderbirds 4-1, to complete the two-game sweep at home.


#7 Windsor Lancers had a rough weekend, losing both. The Lancers first fell to the Toronto Varsity Blues by a final of 3-1, despite outshooting Toronto 47-15 in the contest as Nicole Kesteris stood on her head for the Blues.

In their second game, Windsor faced the York Lions in what should have been an easy win. Despite two goals by Windsor's Candice Chevalier, it was the Lions who came out on top courtesy a late third-period goal by Katrina Tollis to propel York to a 3-2 win. It was another outstanding goalie performance, as Windsor outshot their opponents 48-19 this time, but Sydney McMurter stood tall and made 46 saves for the York win.

Neither the #3 St. FX X-Women or the #9 Calgary Dinos played over the week.

Top 10 Ups and Downs

Going into week 8, the CIS Top 10 saw quite a bit of movement, but no newcomers.

Manitoba moved up a spot from #6 to #5.
Brock jumped two spots, to take Manitoba's former #6 ranking.
Guelph fell from #5 to #7, while Windsor slid from #7 to #8.
Friend of the blog Greg Layson at Big Man on Campus typically has a good read on comings and goings in OUA coaching circles. So when he says Kyle Walters, who left the Guelph Gryphons last season and decamped to Winnipeg to coach the Blue Bombers' special teams (with meh results), might return to the conference with the Windsor Lancers, you listen:
"Walters is as close to the perfect choice for Windsor as there is. A man who has once turned around an OUA program; a straight shooting recruiter players love; a long-term OUA coach; immediately available.

"Outgoing Windsor coach Mike Morencie won an average of less than three games per season during his 13-year tenure. So Walters doesn't need to win a Yates Cup to immediately be deemed a success. He just needs to win four games in his first season. Anything more than that and he becomes not a success, but rather a hero." (Big Man on Campus)
Going after Walters was suggested here a month ago, so if it happens, someone is going to need physiotherapy for an arm broken whilst patting oneself on the back.

He's a good enough coach to work with scarce resources. Walters' 2007 Guelph team is, in fact, the only one from the OUA's unofficial second division to reach a Yates Cup since the league's '01 expansion, let alone host it (Guelph lost to Western that year). Perhaps he can resuscitate the sleeping giant which is Lancers football.

The CFL proscribes hiring announcements during Grey Cup week, but the news does not stop on the newsmaker's say-so.

For the first time this season there's a new look inside the CIS top 10, with the UNB Varsity Reds now holding down second spot after moving ahead of the McGill Redmen who fall to number-three in the nation. The Alberta Golden Bears remain atop the poll despite an overtime loss this weekend to the now number-six ranked Saskatchewan Huskies.

1. Alberta (10-1-1) / 169 pts (9) / (1)
2. UNB (10-2-0) / 157 (4) / (3)
3. McGill (13-0-1) / 148 (5) / (2)
4. Western Ontario (11-0-2) / 124 / (4)
5. UPEI (8-3-1) / 90 / (8)
6. Saskatchewan (7-5-0) / 80 / (7)
7. Saint Mary’s (6-4-1) / 62 / (6)
8. Manitoba (6-2-4) / 55/ (5)
9. Lakehead (9-4-1) / 38 / (NR)
10. Calgary (6-4-2) / 27 / (9)

Dropped from the top 10: Concordia (#10 last week)
Other teams receiving votes: UQTR (21), StFX (9), Waterloo (5), Carleton (3), Concordia (1), Guelph (1).

Top three tales: The top ranked Golden Bears had a hard fought series this past weekend at home against Saskatchewan, needing two goals late Friday to break a 4-4 deadlock, before dropping a 4-3 overtime decision Saturday night. The loss was the Bears second of the season, but three of a possible four points over the weekend was enough for Alberta to hold onto its top spot in the poll.

For UNB, who jumps up to second in the poll for the first time this season, wins over Moncton and St. Thomas ran the V-Reds record to 10-2-0, earning four first-place votes from the top 10 committee.

McGill fell from its position as the only undefeated team in the nation over the weekend after suffering a 3-2 shootout loss Saturday against Brock, following a narrow 3-2 win Friday over York. The Redmen still garnered five of the 18 first-place votes despite their Saturday setback.

Movers and shakers: UPEI was the biggest winner in this week's poll, moving up three spots to takeover the number-five spot in the poll. Sitting in second-place in the AUS, the Panthers earned a pair of 6-3 wins over the weekend against Moncton and St. Thomas.

Saskatchewan also made a move this week in the poll, moving up two spots from eighth to sixth thanks to an overtime win over Alberta after a narrow 6-4 loss Friday night in Edmonton.

Of the teams that saw their stock take the biggest hit this week, that title goes to the Manitoba Bisons who lost both games to the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver - 3-2 Friday in a shootout, and 4-3 in overtime Saturday.

Making their debut this week are the number-nine ranked Lakehead Thunderwolves, who dismantled Nipissing 10-1 Friday night before narrowly escaping with a 4-3 SO win Saturday.

Top 10 games this weekend:
- #1 Alberta at #8 Manitoba Friday and Saturday
Dear Lord, all three unbeaten teams suffered losses this weekend; what shall we make of this mess?

In the must-watch matchup of the weekend, the number three in the nation Regina Cougars and number one Victoria Vikes each suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the other and split their series at home, but there is a good chance that a third game played between these two teams will happen come playoff time.

Regina took it to the Vikes in the Friday game of the series, taking a 14-point lead into the half and not looking back--they won 72-49. Team-leading scorer Joanna Zalesiak was 6-for-12 from the field including 3-for-3 from three-point territory and put up 15 in 36 minutes of play, with Cougar teammate Gabrielle Gheyssen potting 16. Conference leading scorer Kayla Dykstra got the double-double for the Vikes with 13 points and 10 boards, but the rest of her team couldn't put it together offensively, shooting just 28% from the floor and 22% in the second half.

In the Saturday half of the series, Victoria shook off their second half shooting woes and won 75-65 and avoided the home sweep. Despite trailing by seven points heading into the fourth quarter, the Vikes rallied behind Dykstra, who went 9-for-15 on the night while Jane Anholt nailed a couple of late threes to fuel the Vikes' comeback. Zalesiak got a 14-point, 10-board double-double for the Cougars in the losing effort.

Both teams will play against Alberta teams next weekend, with Regina hosting Calgary and Victoria visiting the U of A in a pretty crucial series for the Pandas. Both teams should expect to hold their national rankings.


The Alberta Pandas swept another team on the road, beating the Trinity Western Spartans in consecutive games to up their record to 7-1, now tied with Regina. They won 66-40 on Friday fueled by the efforts of fifth-year post (and, again, Kitsilano Blue Demon alumna) Marisa Haylett who had a game-high 16 to go along with 6 boards. It was the Pandas' depth that secured the victory in this one, as only two players on Trinity sunk more than one field goal: Corina Reimer and Tiffany Olsen. Olsen was a rebound away from the double-double.

On Saturday, the Spartans shot slightly better but still feel to a similar score, 63-48, in which Olsen managed just four points in 22 minutes. Haylett popped 12 for the Pandas, while Anneka Bakker had an interesting stat line of two blocks, 8 boards and seven points.


The Winnipeg Wesmen fell to earth as they finished off a tough portion of their schedule, swept on the road to the number five Saskatchewan Huskies and drop to 5-2. Saskatchewan, now 8-2, won 74-54 Friday night on a 20-point, 10-board performance from Katie Miyazaki, who's making a strong case for Conference Player of the Year early on; she's sixth in Canada West in both scoring and rebounding, fourth in assists and first in steals. Despite being out-rebounded, the Huskies held Winnipeg's top shooters to low percentage shots: Caitlin Gooch went just 3-for-9 and Amy Ogidan was 2-for-10.

Saturday was more of the same, with Saskatchewan roughing up the Wesmen, this time 90-62. This time it was Jill Humbert who led the Huskies with 20 points, five dimes and three steals in just 27 minutes of play. Up by 19 at the break, Sask coach Lisa Thomaidis was able to utilize her bench to play out the remainder of the game.

The Huskies have the rest of the calendar year off from conference play, returning to play on the road at Brandon in January. Winnipeg have redemption in sight, taking on lowly Trinity at home next weekend.


Finally, the TRU WolfPack swept the Lethbridge Pronghorns at home to increase their record to 7-3, although they still have tough opponents Victoria, Regina and Saskatchewan remaining on the schedule. The Brandon Bobcats suffered big losses, 89-50 and 99-43 against the Calgary Dinos and fall to 0-8 on the season. The UBC Thunderbirds won twice at War Memorial against the UFV Cascades, with Zara Huntley drawing a double-double in the Friday's 60-49 contest.
To be the man, you've got to beat the Carleton Ravens.

The squad is now the only undefeated hoopsters in the OUA (6–0), after clobbering the Western Mustangs 91–66 and beating the Windsor Lancers 78–59 this past weekend.

With the revolving door of talent coming in and out of the program, coach Dave Smart is getting the most out of his premier players. Guard Phil Scrubb, in his first season of play, is making the most of his minutes, scoring 26 points on 57 per cent shooting against the Mustangs. He is now averaging 19 points per game this season.

The Ravens also avoided the trap game against Windsor, working their way back against a talented Lancers squad. After trailing 24–19 to start the game, they scored 59 points in the final three quarters. Shooting 46 per cent for the game, five players scored in the double digits, with Scrubb and Elliot Thompson scoring 12 points apiece.

The Ravens are brimming with confidence and a sterling top ranking, but they are not the only squad sporting a goose egg in the win-loss column.

The RMC Paladins, in averaging 40 points and 28 rebounds this weekend, are the last squad in the OUA without a victory. Scott James' Paladins marched into Thunder Bay to face Lakehead Nov. 19 and headed to Hamilton to take on McMaster the next day, and gave up 176 total points and 94 total rebounds in their losses—75–41 and 101–39 respectively. To say the least, the Paladins could be staring at a goose egg come season end.

As for the rest of the OUA, three squads—the U of T Varsity Blues, Lakehead Thunderwolves and the Lancers— are all chasing Carleton, moving to 5–1 with wins this weekend. The Blues defeated the Brock Badgers and Guelph Gryphons, and the Voyageurs clobbered the Paladins and Queen's Golden Gaels. Blues forward Drazen Glisic was a standout against the Badgers, scoring 22 points and 12 rebounds. The Voyageurs' Ryan Thomson scored 14 points on 46 per cent shooting against the Golden Gaels. The only loss by the Ravens' closest competitors was by the Lancers, and that came against those very Ravens.
The season may be young, but seven of eight squads in the OUA West division are within four points of each other.

With four teams with 10 points and equal 5–1 records at the top, the Windsor Lancers and Lakehead Thunderwolves are setting the pace with undefeated weekends. The Lancers, with four players with double-digit points, thumped the Ottawa Gee-Gees 81–58. Miah-Marie Langlois led all scorers with 19 point, and Jessica Clemencon shot 60 per cent from the floor. The Lancers also clipped the wings of the Carleton Ravens 68–48 the next night.

The T-Wolves also laid a thorough beatdown on RMC, sprinting to a 73–29 win. That contest saw the Lakehead squad grab 62 rebounds compared to RMC’s 31. Scoring was evenly spread, with Lindsay Druery leading the way with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The other 10-point west division squads, the Laurier Golden Hawks and Western Mustangs, each went 1–1 this weekend. A day after winning a close 65-59 match against Laurentian a day before, the Golden Hawks lost a nail-biter to the York Lions, 63-59 Nov. 20. York guard Brittany Szockyj had a field day, scoring 20 points on 67 per cent shooting.

The Brock Badgers (4–2), Guelph Gryphons, and McMaster Marauders (both 3–3) are still within striking distance and able to gain divisional ground before the holiday break. Brock will face the Lions and Laurentian Voyageurs this coming weekend. The Gryphons alternate opponents with the Badgers , and the Marauders take an Ottawa swing to their schedule, facing the Ravens and Gee-Gees Nov. 26 and 27.

Meanwhile, the U of T Varsity Blues (5–2) lead the OUA East by half a game over the Ravens (4–2) after a 1–1 weekend on home turf. They lost to the Brock Badgers 74–67 Nov. 19 and squashed the Guelph Gryphons 80–65 the next night. Blues forward Nicki Schultz had 21 points and eight rebounds in the loss, and 11 and 13 in the win.
This week started on Wednesday, with half the conference playing games. Acadia’s visit to the Halifax Forum did not produce a goaltending duel, and was probably pretty entertaining for the fans in attendance as a result. Colby Pridham opened the scoring shorthanded before Acadia’s Jonathan Laberge evened things up on the same power play. SMU took back the lead midway through the period, and extended their lead seconds into the middle period. The teams traded power play goals, Acadia scores to draw within a goal, and the Huskies added two power play goals in the latter half of the period, including Pridham completing his hat trick. Acadia responded with two goals in the first half of the third period to yet again draw within a goal, only to see Cam Fergus score his second goal, plus an empty netter to complete his hat-trick in the wild 8-6 finish.

The other game Wednesday wasn’t as wild. StFX scored three times by 12:49 of the first period, chasing veteran Dalhousie goalie Josh Disher. The X-Men scored twice against his replacement Bobby Nadeau in the second period to build up a 5-0 lead. Bryce Swan led the offence with two goals. Dalhousie did manage to get on the board in the third period, scoring twice in the classic case of too little, too late in the 5-2 loss.

In one of the more anticipated games on Friday night, streaky StFX hosted Saint Mary’s. The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period, despite SMU outshooting X 20-8. Bryce Swan scored his second goal early in the third period, and the Huskies swapped out backup goalie Cory Chipman and put University Cup winner Neil Conway in nets. That worked out for about 11 minutes, until Kevin Undershute got his second goal of the game. The teams traded goals in the third period, including Swan completing his hat-trick. Down by two goals, the Huskies pulled Conway with 1:52 to go in regulation, but could only manage one goal to lose 5-4. Final shots were 44-21 for SMU, so obviously Joey Perricone had another big night in the StFX nets.

Friday also saw St. Thomas travel to Charlottetown and attempt to start climbing out of the conference basement. The Tommies scored the only goal of the first period, so they were in pretty good shape. Then UPEI’s offence woke up in the second period and notched four goals, including two by last year’s CIS Rookie of the Year Jared Gomes exactly two minutes apart. The Tommies bounced back, scoring two power play goals in the third period to draw within a goal. STU pulled goalie Charles Lavigne late in the game to get the tying goal, and gave up first one and then another empty net goal. UPEI outshot STU 42-27 in the 6-3 win.

Meanwhile back in Fredericton, bitter rivals UdeM and UNB locked horns. Moncton coach Serge Bourgeois said they made it a game plan to shut down Hunter Tremblay, and they did hold the V-Reds top line pointless, but UNB has more arrows in their quiver. Luke Lynes scored in the chippy first period and Moncton responded on the power play after a brouhaha broke out near the UdeM net which saw Moncton agitator Remi Gautreau and UNB d-man Ben Wright each pick up 14 minutes in penalties to lead the crowd to the box. The second and third periods UNB turned the other cheek and started to pull away from les Aigles Bleus, and yet only scored two more goals thanks to the fine goaltending by P.-A. Marion. The final score was 3-1 for UNB who outshot Moncton 38-23.

The next night on the Island, it didn’t go too much better for Moncton, who decided to give rookie goalie Andre-Michel Guay his first start. UPEI had the only goal in the first period, and Moncton scored shorthanded in the second to tie the game. The Panthers responded shortly after, only to see les Aigles Bleus tie it up yet again. Then Moncton’s edgy play caught up to them, as Christopher Guay took a double-minor and Matt Carter scored two power play goals less than a minute apart. UPEI’s Michael MacIsaac added two goals in the third period to sandwich a Moncton power play goal to make it a 6-3 final. UPEI outshot UdeM 39-24 in the game, including 22 shots on their nine power plays. Moncton didn’t go away quietly, as “something” happened at the end of regulation time, with Guillaume Parenteau and P.-A. Poulin each earning double-minors and ten-minute misconducts, plus teammate J.-P. Paquet got ten minutes, while UPEI’s Matthew Maione and Kris MacDonald each received two-and-tens.

Saturday night was also the second edition of the Battle of Halifax, with Dalhousie hosting SMU. I’ll let a knowledgeable friend, who posts as AUS Fan on HFBoards, describe the game:
I never thought I'd use the words DAL and entertaining on consecutive nights but it was entertaining. 1-1 after two periods, a scoreless third and a penalty filled OT with some good chances at both ends made up for missing the Parade of Lights in downtown Halifax. Both teams started OT 4-on-4, [Mike] Danton took a hooking penalty breaking up a scoring chance. DAL was penalized shortly after and play continued 3-on-3. Just as SMU was starting the PP after Danton's penalty expired, [Andrew] Hotham was called for tripping on a play where I thought the DAL player fell over his own feet. Back to 3-on-3 again where [Nicholas] Croft shook off Kyle Wharton and crossed in front of Conway to tip in [Ben] Breault's shot from the slot. I thought DAL had more jump in the latter part of the game and in OT. This has been a good weekend for the Tigers as they face UPEI and UNB at home next weekend and on the road to SFX the next week.
Shots in that game were 38-25 in favour of SMU and Croft scored the winner at 6:06 in the overtime period.

The weekend play ended on Sunday afternoon with the second installment of the Battle of the Hill, between cross-campus rival UNB and STU (although the rivalry is a bit stunted since the V-Reds came into the game riding a 24-game win streak against the Tommies, and 22 game win streak at the AUC). Sunday was all about Hunter Tremblay. Last year’s CIS MVP had been held pointless his last two games, and was stuck three points behind Rob Hennigar, a previous CIS MVP, for the career lead in regular season points at UNB. Well Tremblay delivered, scoring a hat trick to tie the school record, and stealing the limelight from goaltender Travis Fullerton who collected his second shutout of the season in the 4-0 win. UNB didn’t play a great 60 minutes, and coach Gardiner MacDougall called a timeout five minutes into the second period to get them back on plan, but they did smother the Tommies, who only managed 14 shots on goal against UNB’s 40 (not including the four shots UNB players rang off the iron).

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for UNB. They’ve now gone three games without scoring a power play goal. Power forward Jeff Lee left the game in the first period with a leg or knee injury, and now joins three other starting forwards (Daine Todd, Taylor Prosychen, Dion Campbell) and two all-star defencemen (Luke Gallant, Ben Shutron) on the shelf. UNB’s vaunted depth has been put to the test, and they have not had a healthy scratch for several games, and they may need to dress assistant coach (and former McGill defenceman) Steve Pearce for their road trip to Nova Scotia next weekend. On the plus side, despite the key player losses UNB leads the CIS in only giving up 18 goals over 12 games, helped by only allowing an average 22.6 shots against per game. The next best are the two Huskies: Saint Mary’s (31 GA in 11 GP) and Saskatchewan (31 GA in 12 GP).

That being said, UNB is still in first place with 10 wins. The surprising Panthers, who I guess we have to sometime start taking for real, continue to stalk the V-Reds and maintain their hold on second place, three points back. SMU and StFX are four points further back and tied for third place, although the Huskies have a game in hand on everyone except St. Thomas. How close are the standings? Acadia and Dalhousie are tied for fifth place, and just one point back of fourth. Moncton is just one point out of the playoffs right now, and only STU is starting to slip away.
Every year, it seems like the Carleton Ravens graduate a great player or two. From Osvaldo Jeanty to Aaron Doornekamp, big players come and go from the Ravens program. So how come when those players graduate, the team never seems to lose a step in competitiveness? Anyone who coach Dave Smart's Ravens play this weekend probably got a good idea why.

Carleton took a trip down the 401 and defeated two top-10 opponents with a mix of stingy defence, balanced team play a game plan that limited their opponents' most dangerous weapons.

On Friday, Phil Scrubb led the Ravens with 26 points on just 14 shots in a 91-66 win over the Western Mustangs. The win saw Carleton dominate the glass (36-22) and share the ball well, tallying 24 assists on 30 made baskets (generous courtside statisticians aside [ed. note--way to foreshadow a future article, Mr. Decker. -RP]) over the Mustangs, who got just 17 points from their frontcourt duo of Andy Wedemire and Adam Jespersen.

For their follow up on Saturday, in the biggest matchup of the young OUA season, Carleton picked apart the Windsor Lancers with precision, once again sharing the ball, as five Ravens reached double figures, led by Scrubb and Elliot Thompson with 12 points each. Carleton once again found a way to neutralize the opposition's best, holding Andre Smyth and Issac Kuon to just 23 points combined.

Having crushed the best in the OUA West, the Ravens have a chance this weekend against Mac and Lakehead to prove, like always, they are the team to beat in Ontario once again.

While Carleton cemented its place at No. 1, St. Francis Xavier may be on the way down from its current perch at no. 2. In just their second game of the conference season, the X-Men fell to the Dalhousie Tigers after last-second three-point attempts from Charlie Spurr and Will Silver failed to prevent a 59-56 loss. St. FX made 23 turnovers and shot just 32%, looking sloppy in their only game in a two-week span.

The caveat here for the X-Men is that they were playing without two-time AUS MVP Christian Upshaw. Again, it's only their second game of the conference season, so as Rob said, it's hard to put a finger on exactly how good this team is.

Other top 10 scores:

#3 UBC Thunderbirds:
Josh Whyte reminded everybody why he's the Player of the Year, leading the T-Birds to two very efficient wins over Fraser Valley on Friday (84-68) and Saturday (92-82). Whyte totalled 41 points on 17/26 shooting, and UBC shot 50% or better in both games.

#4 Laval Rouge et Or:
Survived a scare from UQAM on Friday thanks to two late free throws from J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux, whose clutch shots from the charity stripe earned the Rouge et Or a 72-71 win.

As close as that game was, Laval's adventure versus Bishop's on Saturday was that much of a blowout. The Gaiters trailed 82-33 after three (no, that isn't a typo) and Laval cruised to a 101-54 win. Laval's pesky defence forced the overmatched Bishop's squad into making 28 turnovers.

#5 Saskatchewan Huskies:
The new combo of Rejean Chabot and Jamelle Barrett is making Huskies fans miss last year's championship backcourt duo of Showron Glover and Mike Linklater a lot less. Chabot and Barrett led the Saskatonians to a pair of dominant wins (99-51 Friday) and (115-62 Saturday) over the lowly Winnipeg Wesmen, including 36 from Chabot and 18 points and 13 assists from Barrett on Saturday. That game saw Saskatchewan shoot an absurd 68% from the field.

Chabot and Barrett are leading what has been a very, very potent Huskie offence (100.7 team ppg over last six games), and have fit in pretty much as well as anyone could have expected this year.

#6 Concordia Stingers:
Enjoyed an off week. Will play McGill and Bishop's next week.

#7 Trinity Western Spartans:
Took care of business, defeating the Alberta Golden Bears 96-83 on Friday and 89-78 on Saturday. Jacob Doerksen posted ho-hum (for him) lines of 23 points, 6 boards and 4 assists on Friday and 25, 6 and 2 on Saturday.

#8 Windsor Lancers:
Got some good news with the return of star scorer Kuon from an ankle injury, but fell as mentioned above to Carleton after beating Ottawa 84-81 in overtime on Friday. Windsor has some nice complimentary pieces in Enrico Di Loreto, Monty Hardware and Lien Phillip, and I'll give Kuon a pass for returning from the injury to face some big-time opponents, but the fact of the matter is that the Lancers can't expect to win games if their horses Kuon and Smyth only attempt 19 combined shots, as they did in their loss to Carleton.

#9 Western Mustangs:
Got nice performances out of Wedemire and sophomore guard Quinn Henderson, who scored 18 points in the Mustangs' 76-71 overtime win over Ottawa, saving a 1-1 weekend after losing to Carleton on Friday.

#10 Toronto Varsity Blues:
Are starting to make some noise as a potential challenger to Carleton's OUA East crown after starting the conference season 5-1. Took care of business at home in beating Brock 96-86 behind 25 points from burly forward Andrew Wasik and double-doubles from Drazen Glisic and Alex Hill, and followed that with an 86-70 win over Guelph, a game in which Hill went off for 27.
TSN's Dave Naylor has the scoop:

Next season's Vanier Cup will be played at Vancouver's renovated B.C. Place Stadium, one day before the Grey Cup game is played on the same site.

An announcement is expected Monday about the Canadian university championship game being promoted as part of the overall Grey Cup festival.

Although a firm date for the Vanier Cup has not been established next year, it is likely to be played on the Friday night and not the Saturday.

After the 2008 Vanier Cup--held in Hamilton the day before the Grey Cup in Montreal--had disappointing attendance, Neate Sager said it was time to "stop dancing around the Obvious Pole" and put the two events together. James Mirtle subsequently agreed, so it only took two years for the higher-ups to listen to this site's founders.

(That last part was tongue-in-cheek.)

This is pretty obviously a good decision, for the reasons mentioned in Neate's linked post and the comments following it. If we spend some time in the wayback machine, we see that the 2007 Vanier Cup (same city and weekend as the Grey Cup) had a "pretty packed house" in terms of media coverage, per James' game-day observations. Which is exactly what you'd expect.

Would putting the games together increase fan attendance at the Vanier, though? That depends on how many football fans would go to both games, I suppose, and others can speak more to Vancouver's appetite for Canadian football. (Like the Vanier Cup game itself, I've rarely been seen outside of Ontario and Quebec.)

Arden Zwelling, after driving far too many kilometres, filed copy for the UWO Gazette and, and liveblogged for The Score with Justin Dunk. Hitting it out of the park in all places. When a Queen'sman says "a job awesomely done" about a Western student, you know it was good.

Our liveblog was late in getting started because I slept in, and Deux Fans were slightly late because of a 15% discount on liquor. The fun never stops in the CIS blogging world. (

It was "ball-busting cold" in Calgary, says Monty Mosher. He was speaking literally, and click through to find out why. (The Chronicle-Herald)

Here's linebacker Jason Kosec's story, who was on academic probation before returning to the Mustangs. Money quote: "I’m glad I got kicked out of Western. It worked in my favour, lit a fire under my ass." (Toronto Star)


Dal beat St. F-X Saturday night; the X-Men were 5th in RPI going into the game. I had them a little higher than that in our informal, not-actually-published preseason rankings. They've only played two conference games so far--some Canada West teams have played 10--so it's hard to say where they really rank this year.


Nipissing pushed Lakehead to a shootout on Saturday after getting trounced 10-1 on Friday. The only win by an OUA East team on the crossover day was by UQTR, over Windsor in a shootout, but that's a little misleading since Friday's games were much more balanced. (North Bay Nugget)
For the second consecutive season the Calgary Dinos will be playing for the Vanier Cup thanks to their convincing 35-8 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies in Saturday's Mitchell Bowl.

Leading only 8-0 at the half after failing to capitalize on SMU turnovers in the first, the Dinos turned it on offensively in the second thirty minutes scoring 17 points to secure a berth in the national final next weekend where they'll meet the Laval Rouge et Or.

The win over SMU marked the second straight season in which the Dinos earned their way to the Vanier Cup with a win over the Huskies after last year's 38-14 win in Halifax.

Steven Lumbala was the big man offensively for the Dinos on the ground, rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown.

In his final game at home, fifth-year senior Erik Glavic made it a day to remember with 263 yards through the air and three touchdowns to keep his Vanier Cup dreams alive.

On the defensive side of the ball, Michael Lau had a pair of interceptions including a brilliant diving snag in the Calgary endzone in the first half. Lau's two picks were part of six SMU turnovers on the day - with one of those turnovers coming via a failed third down conversion.

It was a dominant win for Calgary on home field in front of a frozen crowd at McMahon Stadium in the Stampede City, with the temperature at kickoff hovering around the -17C mark.

Calgary will now travel to Quebec City for next weekend's Vanier Cup game against Laval who won in a nail biter earlier in the day with a 13-11 victory over Western.
T-Birds topple top 10 team - There was only one sweep this weekend in Canada West action, and it came from the most unlikely of sources - the UBC Thunderbirds. The T-Birds managed to secure a pair of wins over the #5 ranked Manitoba Bisons.

Friday night it took a shootout to break a 2-2 deadlock, with Tyler Ruel scoring the winner on Manitoba netminder Steve Christie to lift UBC to the win.

In the second game of the weekend set in Vancouver, the Thunderbirds would once again need some extra time to topple the Herd, pulling off the feat thanks to Craig Lineker's overtime marker 4:34 into the extra frame to give UBC the 4-3 win.

With the wins it's more than safe to say that this group of T-Birds is for real. After hanging around the Canada West standings through the previous 10 games, UBC proved this weekend they have the ability to string together two solid outings against the conference's elite.


Bears-Huskies play to exciting split - The #7 Saskatchewan Huskies came into Edmonton this weekend to take on the #1 ranked Golden Bears hoping they could find a way to keep pace with the high scoring Bears, and Saskatchewan did just that.

In the opener the Bears used two goals in the span of 23 seconds from J.P. Szaskiewicz late in the third to score a 6-4 win after the Huskies had fought back four times to even the score.

Saturday would prove to be another tight contest, this time with the Sled Dogs coming out on top thanks to Jesse Zetariuk's second of the weekend to give Saskatchewan a 4-3 OT win.

The split for Saskatchewan, and more importantly the fact that they played toe-to-toe with Alberta for more than 120 minutes of action over the weekend points to the fact that this is a team that seems to have found their stride late in the first half.

The lone top 10 series of the weekend lived up to the billing with two tight contests, and a fitting split.


Bowles back, 'Horns split - Goaltender Scott Bowles made his regular season debut this weekend for the Lethbridge Pronghorns, but was unable to lift his team to their first sweep of the season, settling instead for a three-point weekend at home against Regina.

Lucas Isley scored the lone shootout goal of the night Friday to give Regina a 3-2 shootout win. Capitalizing on two of their 10 powerplay chances of the night, the Cougars found a way to down the undisciplined 'Horns.

In the series finale Saturday night in southern Alberta, it would be all Pronghorns on the scoreboard with Kris Snopek leading the way with two goals in a 4-0 Lethbridge victory.

The three-point weekend for Lethbridge wasn't enough to lift them out of the Canada West cellar, now sitting a single point back of Regina. With Bowles back in the lineup; however, we should start to see the true potential of this time that came into the season with high expectations.
Due to technical difficulties, it's a late-starting edition of a Uteck Bowl live blog. Come join us below for all the action between Laval and Western!

Our football game previews continue with the Uteck Bowl, with Jared Book, Neate Sager, and Rob Pettapiece.

All stats in the "overall" section refer to the regular season and playoffs; all others are regular-season only. Explanations can be found in the Loney Bowl preview. See also the previous commentary for Western and Laval in the Yates Cup and Dunsmore Cup previews.

Western Mustangs at Laval Rouge et Or
12:30pm ET

RPI (rank)12

Rob: Ah, the fun of team rankings after just ten games. If you go by SRS, Western are huge underdogs, but RPI has them as essentially equal. This one's actually not a foregone conclusion, which is more than you can say about most Laval home games.

Jared: Laval had their first scare of the season last week, and are looking to keep their perfect record in bowl games at PEPS. Sherbrooke's defence was very good at stopping Laval, and have an offence that worked mainly with misdirection. They came an end zone interception away from winning the game after iffy clock management.

Pass Yards/Game210.2253.8
(CIS rank)168
Surplus Passing2847
(CIS rank)73
Rush Yards/Game254.2207.0
(CIS rank)13
Surplus Rushing1740
(CIS rank)52


Pass Yards/Game216.5175.7
(CIS rank)133
Surplus Passing-21-52
(CIS rank)51
Rush Yards/Game84.654.9/td>
(CIS rank)32
Surplus Rushing-33-42
(CIS rank)42

Jared: Western has a ground attack that may be able to keep Laval off balance. Liam Mahoney was a similar quarterback to Western's Donnie Marshall. In the 2008 Dunsmore Cup, Mahoney's Stingers played Laval at PEPS and had them off-balance, and were an end zone interception away from winning the game (starting to see a pattern yet?).

Rob: Marshall will probably be more of a ground threat than Mahoney, too, which would help the Mustangs toward an upset. (Mahoney had just 34 rushing yards on 7 attempts in that game.) But speaking of threats, it will be interesting to see the Western secondary (5th against the pass) go against Bruno Prud'homme and the Laval pass game (3rd in the country).

Jared: Actually, Julian Feoli-Gudino, their top receiver, was injured in the game against Sherbrooke. He says he will play but I have heard he's a lot more questionable than that article says he is.

Rob: That would certainly change things. He was the 2008 Vanier Cup MVP and combined with then-QB Benoit Groulx for a few outstanding catches.

Nov. 22, 2008: LAV 44-21 UWO (in Hamilton).
Rob: The last time these teams met in a game that mattered was the 2008 Vanier Cup, but both starting QBs from that game have since moved on to coaching. Hopefully this game will be closer than 23 points.

Rob: Laval 30, Western 21. This is harder to predict than it looks.

Neate: Laval 26, Western 17.

Jared: The running back trio that Western has is much better than what Concordia and Sherbrooke did when they were close to dethroning the Rouge et Or. Laval's defence is very fast, and look for Western to use the different looks to their advantage. Laval 24, Western 21.
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