Just days after winning his second University Cup as a Varsity Red, UNB's career points leader and 2010 CIS male hockey player of the year Hunter Tremblay has signed a one-year two-way contract with the Edmonton Oilers, one of several teams that had scouts watching Tremblay (and other players) at last week's Nationals in Fredericton.

Tremblay, from Timmins, ON, is a fourth year Business Administration student expected to graduate this spring. There is no word yet when he will play for the banged-up Oilers, and when he does start his pro career it will most likely be with their AHL team, the Oklahoma City Barons.

Update: 8:20 am April 1 - Tremblay has been asked to report as soon as possible to Oklahoma to finish out their season in the AHL.

Year of Eligibility: 4 Degree Program: BBA
Hometown: Timmins, ON Born: Jan. 15, 1986
Height: 5'11” Weight: 200 lbs. Shoots: Left
Previous Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
2008, 2009 NHL camps – Toronto, San Jose
Punchy Walker Award winner

AUS Conference ....... Playoffs (inc. UCup)
2007-08 26 16 34 50 14 8 5 4 9 18
2008-09 28 14 36 50 26 9 1 5 6 6
2009-10 27 25 32 57 12 3 0 0 0 4
2010-11 27 22 22 44 38 12 5 11 16 0
Total 109 77 124 201 90 32 11 20 31 28

Oilers sign Hunter Tremblay (Edmonton Oilers)
Tremblay strikes 'Oil' with pro contract (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Monty Mosher at the Chronicle-Herald is reporting this evening what was rumoured earlier in the day - that the Saint Mary's women's hockey team that was axed on March 18 has had a reprieve.

No doubt the bad media attention, protests and the like had an effect, but more importantly someone stepped up to fund the program, and that someone is Canadian Tire with commitment of $60,000 for next season.

In a press release Tuesday night, the university acknowledged it made a mistake chopping women’s hockey.
“The decision to cancel the women’s varsity hockey program last week, in response to budget pressures, was wrong and we deeply regret it,” university president Colin Dodds stated in the release. “We are taking several initiatives to earn back the respect lost so as to ensure that our students, alumni and friends continue to be enriched by the tradition and contributions of our female athletes.”
It is great that the a business like Canadian Tire stepped up this time; too bad that couldn't have been the case with the UNB's women's hockey team three years ago.

Women's hockey 'alive and well' at Saint Mary's (Monty Mosher, Chronicle-Herald)
Wasn't that a party! This was my eleventh University Cup and the first time I've experienced the incredible explosion of shared joy when the home team wins (I missed Edmonton's hosting). I left the rink at quarter to four this morning and the players, families and friends were still going strong. If you watched the game on Sportsnet you unfortunately didn't hear how loud the noise level rose at the Aitken University Centre every time there was a big hit or goal - when I watched a recording of the game today it wasn't even close. It was the loudest I have ever heard it at the AUC, peaking when UNB captain Kyle Bailey lifted the Cup over his head.

Last night's game was a complete contrast to the night before. Whereas the officials couldn't stay out of the way in the Mustangs-Varsity Reds game, they lost their whistles in the UNB-McGill game. That was certainly a benefit for the V-Reds, who are much more physical than the smaller Redmen. If the same heavy handed officiating crew from Saturday's game had worked the championship game, UNB might have found themselves at the mercy of McGill's lethal power play. But they weren't, and the home squad had the visitors on their heels most of the game.

From a fan perspective I am glad that McGill didn't change their game, and opted to skate with the V-Reds. Calgary showed Thursday night what you can accomplish with a well executed trap and a selfless commitment to blocking shots (learned no doubt from Acadia and StFX) while Western discovered Saturday night what can happen if you don't play a tight defensive system, and can't match UNB's team speed. It's not pretty.

I like this McGill team. I'm one who believes that you may need to lose before you can learn how to win, and the Redman probably learned some valuable lessons Sunday night. Like many, I think they need to get a little bigger up front to compete with the top AUS and Canada West teams. A bruising, crease clearing d-man might help as well. But then I suppose that would apply to most teams.
It was a good week for Fredericton, with most of the games sold out, and over 3000 fans for each of the afternoon games. The V-Reds completed their journey of redemption from last season's playoff upset at the hands of the X-Men. To put that feat in context, consider that this season's version of the Varsity Reds is only a few players different from last year's team, and StFX is an improved team this year. From the team's perspective, maybe the fans will finally stop reminding them of that stumble, and just get back to expecting gold every time.

The #1 ranked and seeded Varsity Reds win their first University Cup at home, their third in five years and fourth since their first championship in 1998. There could be a lot of roster changes in the Red 'n Black before next season, but their destination is the same - Sunday night at the Aitken University Centre.

(All photos courtesy of Brian Smith)

Host V-Reds blank McGill, claim 4th University Cup (The CIS's Michel Belanger and his helpers)
UNB wins fourth title (Bill Hunt, Page 1 above-the-fold story in the Daily Gleaner)
Tournament was a success(Molly Cormier, Daily Gleaner)
Paint the town 'V-Red' (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Nationals notebook (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Join us this evening for the championship game for the Cavendish University Cup presented by Home Depot at 8:00 pm ADT (7:00 pm EDT).

The #1 ranked and seeded University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds take on the #2 ranked and seeded McGill Redmen. This will be the first-ever championship game for the Redmen, while the V-Reds have been there seven times before, winning three times since 1998, the last time two years ago against Western in Thunder Bay.

Tonight's game marks the end of the CIS 2010-11 championship season, and hopefully lots of folks will be on board. This match will be broadcast live in SD and HD on Rogers Sportsnet, webcast on SSN Canada and on local radio (and audiocast) on chsrfm.ca.

Join us this evening for Game 6 of the Cavendish University Cup presented by Home Depot. The AUC will be rockin', as the host and #1 ranked UNB Varsity Reds faceoff against the Western Mustangs. The 'Stangs will be trying to force an all-OUA final, the first since 2002 when Western beat UQTR in OT. The home team will be trying to match their expectations and move past the Mustangs and play McGill Sunday night. After knocking off Alberta 6-3, the Redmen wait for the winner in their first-ever University Cup championship game.

The game at 7:30 pm ADT will be live on Sportsnet, webcast on SSN Canada, and broadcast (and audiocast) on local radio, chsrfm.ca.

Join us for this liveblog of the deciding game in the "Pool of Death" at the Cavendish University Cup between the McGill Redmen and the Alberta Golden Bears. If McGill wins, they advance to Sunday's championship game. If they lose, they are eliminated. And if they lose, all the teams are 1-1 and we go to the tiebreaking formulas which you will see in the previous post.

This game is live on national television on Sportsnet, webcast on SSN Canada and on local radio/audiocast on chsrfm.ca.

Little (lot!) late getting update done ... had a few pops with the some of the media and CIS folks and ...

The afternoon game did go much like I anticipated -- I figured StFX would play much better than their bad start on Thursday and give Alberta all they could handle. Two goals called back (only the first play was controversial in my opinion) and some missed opportunities and Alberta might have won this one, but Joey Perricone was strong in the StFX net and the X-Men get the big 3-1 win. So with Alberta and StFX each having a loss, the tie breaking formulas come into effect today. The easiest thing to remember is that McGill controls their destiny. If they win, they're in the Sunday's championship game. If the Redmen lose, they are eliminated. And if they lose, the margin of their loss determines who does advance:
  • If McGill loses by 1 goal, StFX advances.
  • If McGill loses by 2 goals, StFX advances.
  • If McGill loses 3-0, StFX and Alberta are tied by the first four tie-breaking formulae, so the Golden Bears and X-Men will play go to shootouts to see who advances. (Really!)
  • If McGill loses by 3 goals, (other than 3-0) and StFX advances.
  • If McGill loses by 4 goals, Alberta advances.
The evening game was not the most exciting. Calgary looked understandably drained, and Western got an early goal. The Dinos really didn't get going until the final 10 minutes, and they made the game a goal game, but came up one short and lost 3-2 to get the unwanted title of being the first team eliminated from the University Cup.
Join us for tonight's game 4 at the Cavendish University Cup between the Calgary Dinos and the Western Mustangs. You can watch the webcast on SSN Canada and local radio and audiocast on chsrfm.ca.

Join us for Game 3 of the 2011 Cavendish University Cup presented by Home Depot, as the StFX X-Men try to rebound from their 2-1 loss yesterday against the rested and #3 ranked and seeded Alberta Golden Bears. Today's game is being webcast on SSN Canada, and on local radio and audiocast on chsrfm.ca.

Just a brief update. Two 2-1 games to start the University Cup. In the afternoon match in Pool B, the Pool of Death, StFX had a one-goal lead going into the third period, but two McGill goals in roughly five minutes game the Redman the win. For me, this is the best game I've ever seen McGill play at the University Cup. That afternoon opener on the Thursday afternoon can often be tough energy wise, but there were over 3400 fans at the game, many of them school kids who had been directed to cheer for one team or the other.

The evening game was the main event for the local fans, and a sellout crowd of over 3700 had to watch UNB try to break through the Calgary trap. Not very entertaining. UNB did score on the powerplay in the second period, after frittering away a five-on-three advantage, but then handed the Dinos a powerplay soon after and sure enough, Calgary took advantage to tie the game up.

Fans were restless, nervous and quiet through much of the third period, with flashes of noise when UNB had faceoffs in the offensive zone. The last few minutes the Dinos really looked to be just hanging on, and iced the puck several times to relieve the pressure. UNB couldn't get an effective point shot all game until, with less than five seconds left, UNB captain Kyle Bailey won the draw in the Dinos zone back to Luke Gallant, who served a pass over to Josh Kidd who hammered the puck through a crowd and past Dustin Butler, the CIS goalie of the year. Then everyone breathed again and UNB was off to Saturday's game.

[Update: Friday, 7:35 am. Some sad news. CBC Radio is reporting this morning that an elderly man died last night of a medical condition, that may have caused or was the result of a multiple car accident last night in the parking lot next to the Aikten University Centre. Here's the first report of the accident last night.]


GAME 1 POOL B CIS championship: No. 1 McGill edges StFX in comeback win (CIS)
Redmen drop X-Men in University Cup opener (Christopher Cameron, UNB Sports Information)
Redmen rally to edge X (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
GAME 1 POOL A CIS championship: No. 1 UNB survives scare, Kidd the hero (CIS)
Heartbreaking goal downs underdog Dinos (Eric Kerkhoven, UC Sports Information)
No Kidding around for UNB (Christopher Cameron, UNB Sports Information)
V-Reds aren't Kidd-ing around (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Join us for Game 2 at the Cavendish University Cup between the host and #1 ranked UNB Varsity Reds and the Calgary Dinos. This game is being webcast on SSN Canada and carried on local radio and audiocast on chsrfm.ca. I'll be your host, plus trying to do my job as colour guy on the radio. Multitasking hasn't proven to be my strength ...

So folks, join us for Game 1 of the Cavendish University Cup between the StFX X-Men and the McGill Redmen. You can watch the game on SSN Canada or listen to the audiocast on chsrfm.ca - I'll be the guy doing colour.

Feel free to join in ... I'll try to do my best to multitask.

We've had a few posts teasing the University Cup here and here, but not an actual preview from our stable of hockey writers. Let's correct that now, with a group look at the upcoming championship tournament, featuring each of our correspondents: David Kilfoil, Daniel Da Silva, Matt Chesser, and Evan Daum.

Our odds, based on our team rankings (RPI and SRS) are a little more one-sided than those of UNBHockeyFans.com, so if you want you can take the average. Also note that Evan's commentary originally appeared over at South Campus Sports.

1. UNB Varsity Reds (44.6% chance of winning the tournament)
4. Western Mustangs (4.8%)
6. Calgary Dinos (9.2%)

ED: The Dinos could get a rude awakening in the program's return to the national tournament after an 11 year hiatus. The Varsity Reds will meet Calgary for the third time this season after dismantling the Dinos 10-2 and 6-1 during a Western Canadian tour back in mid-September. The Aitken Centre will be jam-packed, and in order to have any hope of winning this game the Dinos will need goaltender Dustin Butler to make every save you'd expect from the Canada West's top goaltender and a few more. A tough test out of the gate to say the least for Calgary.

DK: UNB is favoured, and their #1 ranking gives them easier opponents in their pool. They did hammer the Dinos in those two games, but UNB had a conditioning edge and Calgary has nine players in their lineup now who didn't play then. The Dinos were underwhelming against Alberta in the Canada West finals but their coaches tell me the team was coming off a tough three-game series against Saskatchewan and weren't prepared, especially emotionally, to deal with the Bears. UNB has to deal with tremendous pressure to win (think Team Canada and gold medals), and if that pressure gets the best of them they might be vulnerable. UNB goalie Travis Fullerton will be carrying the weight.

DDS: The Mustangs need to put their Queen’s Cup loss behind them. They didn’t show up for that game and that can’t happen again. All-stars Keaton Turkiewicz and Kevin Baker need to lead the team offensively. But their offensive depth with rookie star Steve Reese, Yashar Farmanara and Jason Furlong should help quite a bit. For the entire season though, their strength has been their defence and goaltending. If they play like they did for the entire playoffs (except the Queen’s Cup), they have a chance.

DK: The Dinos should be loose, and if Dustin Butler can stand on his head maybe they can steal the opener. Maybe. Friday's game sees the loser play Western. If the Dinos get run over by the V-Reds, they might be easy pickings for the Mustangs. If UNB is upset Thursday, I see them taking their frustration out on the Mustangs and skating them off the ice.

DDS: True, Western should be able to handle Calgary. And it’s hard to see them upsetting the Varsity Reds (presumably in the Saturday game) unless they play the game of their lives.

ED: I don't think Calgary will find a way against Western, but it should be an extremely tight matchup.

DK: If as predicted UNB advances to Saturday's pseudo-semi-final, I do see them beating Western. The Mustangs have not been spectacular this year, have had a bit of a long layoff, and the V-Reds have really been pushed in the playoffs. Again I think it will depend on how UNB deals with the pressure on them (I keep repeating that, don't I?) to win in front of the home crowd. Unless they melt down in one of their games, I expect UNB to be in the final Sunday.

ED: Expect the V-Reds to come out and down the 'Stangs to punch their ticket to the national final.

2. McGill Redmen (10.9%)
3. Alberta Golden Bears (16.4%)
5. StFX X-Men (14.0%)

DK: Ah, the Pool of DeathTM. McGill gets the bad luck of playing StFX in the opening game. The X-Men have just proven that they can play with the top skill-based teams in the AUS, taking out Saint Mary's in overtime in Game 5 in the semis, and falling to UNB in Game 5, in overtime, in the finals. They play tight defensive systems, and are incredibly patient; rope-a-dope and opportunistic. In other words they drive skilled teams nuts. Neither the Redmen or the Bears will be having much fun in their pool games. The X-Men are very efficient - they tend to bury their chances, especially late in games. They have no fear about coming back, and they love tight games. As long as goalie Joey Perricone plays as well as he has been, and snipers Chris Hulit and Jason Bast keep lighting it up, I can see the X-Men "upsetting" McGill and Alberta.

MC: While Pool A offers little in the way of uncertainty (as I can’t see Western or Calgary knocking off UNB), picking a winner in Pool B is a crapshoot for me. Three of the best four teams in the tournament are crammed in here, which should make for some great hockey (and a worthy opponent for the hometown Varsity Reds in the likely title game matchup). Alberta-McGill should be the most exciting round robin game of the tournament. The Redmen have the most talented (and in my opinion, the deepest) group of forwards in the CIS, averaging over 5 goals per game in the regular season and playoffs. Alberta can run-and-gun with the best of them, as they finished fifth in the CIS in goals per game, so I expect a thriller.

ED: StFX/McGill is a tough one for me to call having not seen much of McGill this season, but something tells me a stingy St. FX team can't quite shut down the high-flyng Redmen. St. FX is a very good team, and I really don't think a win by X would be much of a surprise, but I'm going against my better judgment and taking the OUA side in this battle.

MC: No one in the OUA plays a disciplined defensive system the likes of which the X-Men will employ on Thursday afternoon, and I’m intrigued to see how the Redmen respond to a frustrating, opportunistic opponent. St. FX is more physical than McGill, and has a distinct edge defensively and in net. But McGill is fantastic in transition and boasts five players who notched double-digit goal totals in the regular season.

DK: The Alberta-McGill game will be interesting, as I expect this one to be wide open, end-to-end. This is a great opportunity for McGill to prove their ranking, but I still see the more battle hardened Bears winning the match, and then pulling out their hair when they have to play StFX.

ED: If Alberta is going to lose one of their two round-robin games I think it will be on the Friday night when the nerves are at their peak, but if they survive against St. FX - which I think they will - they win their game against McGill barring a powerplay onslaught from the Redmen. This should be a dandy between two teams that have more than their fair share of gifted playmakers.

MC: Ultimately, I think special teams will give McGill the edge in this pool. They have a number of great defensive forwards (Evan Vossen, Maxime Langelier-Parent, and Marc-Andre Daneau in particular) who give the Redmen a reliable penalty kill, and McGill has a dazzling array of options on a powerplay that scored on 36.4% of its chances in the playoffs.


DDS: The Varsity Reds should have no trouble with Western and Calgary. The other group could really go in any direction. I think it will come down to McGill and Alberta, and my gut tells me Alberta's experience at this tournament (namely, winning games at this tournament) helps them overcome the Redmen. But the Varsity Reds are playing to make up for last year's disappointment and they are doing it at home. I don't see any way UNB doesn't take their 4th University Cup.

DK: I can see a UNB-StFX final, and the V-Reds have the easier path to Sunday. I do believe goaltending will be the key, as it usually is, and if Fullerton or Perricone have a bad game, or the V-Reds wilt under the pressure, then perhaps Alberta wins it.
The 2011 Cavendish University Cup presented by Home Depot (what are we now, NASCAR?) kicks off today with the lunch time "meet the coaches" press conference and the All-Canadian Awards presentations tonight.

I posted the pools and schedules on Sunday, so you can scroll down in the blog or click this link. No need to make this post longer than necessary.

The press conference will probably follow the same predictable form as the past: the coaches will all talk about the good teams they had to beat to get here, the great competition this year (best ever!) at the tournament and how anyone here can win the University Cup. The assembled media will then turn to each other and roll their eyes. Except it is all true. And any team with a hot goaltender and a hotter sniper can win this thing when you are effectively playing single elimination games. But of course a big chunk of the attention will be on favoured UNB and head coach Gardiner MacDougall who are under incredible pressure to win at home.

This evening is awards night, and UNB is trying something different. Instead of the typical long drawn out banquet format with antsy hockey players, tonight the teams will have their team meals at their hotels or local restaurants. They will then arrive at the Fredericton Playhouse for a one-hour ceremony focused solely on the nominees and award winners. No food, and quick escape. For local fans there is a little less excitement, as the AUS coaches saw fit to exclude any UNB players or coaches from their major awards, and thus none of the #1 ranked V-Reds are in the contention for CIS awards, other than the All-Canadian teams.

Five of the six teams skated yesterday at the Aitken University Centre; StFX who were just here on Friday night for Game 5 of the AUS championship skated at home and bussed in last evening. Calgary's sticks didn't make their flight, so they had to buy some stick locally for their practice (there's some petrodollars for the local economy ...)

Sportsnet is here. Louis Jean was at the first practice (Western) yesterday morning, and he was joined by Sam Cosentino in the afternoon. Play-by-play man Peter Loubardias arrives today or tomorrow. Sportsnet will be broadcasting live the two Saturday games (2:30 pm & 7:30 pm ADT) and the championship game Sunday (8:00 pm ADT). SSN Canada will be webasting all seven of the games, and I will be doing colour for all seven games alongside Dave Ritchie for local radio on CHSR-FM (and audiocast at chsrfm.ca). I'll also be hosting liveblogs on CISBlog for each game for those who want to join in the conversation (snark not required, but it often appears). There will also be lots of folks tweeting - look for the #CIS #UCup hash tags.

The Daily Gleaner, as expected, is giving a ton of coverage. They've got a two-page broadsheet (a double-truck in newspaper parlance) spread on all of the teams, which is essentially a rehash of the team stats collated by Steve Knowles, the Canada West and CIS hockey stats guru who also chairs the Top 10 committee. You can read those team-by-teams stats here on the tournament web site. Sport Editor (his paying job) Dave Ritchie today used his weekly column to offer a mini-history on the rise of AUS hockey. Bill Hunt has a story on the ex-Bears now coaching the Dinos, another on Western assistant coach, and former Tommie, Pat Powers and his desire to be the next STU coach, and another feature on the organizing committee behind the University Cup. Finally they're also running a story out of their sister paper in Moncton on UNB goaltender Travis Fullerton. Oh, and they squeezed in a short notebook too.

The real fun starts tomorrow. StFX and McGill play at 2:00 pm, and this should be a great game. Then the home team, UNB, opens against Calgary at 7:00 pm in front of what should be, hopefully, a raucous full house. I guess we'll see if the AUS can walk the walk tomorrow.

Just one more sleep ...

Official 2011 Cavendish University Cup website
Team-by-Team Stats
Success follows Travis Fullerton (Sean Hatchard, Moncton Times-Transcript)
Strong team 'behind the scenes' (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Return fuels Powers interest in STU job (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Ex-Bears entrusted with building Dinos (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
Suddenly, the AUS holds balance of power in CIS hockey (Dave Ritchie, Daily Gleaner)
Hunter Tremblay: the quiet hero (K. Bryannah James, The Brunswickan)
The goaltender rankings have been updated with the women's results (the men's will follow shortly). For an explanation of these, see the post on last year's results; the only difference here is that I've included playoff results for 2010-11, and inserted a couple of convoluted puns in the headline.

A quick rundown of the top 10:

  1. Mel Dodd-Moher, Queen's (+2.4 wins vs. average): Nowhere to be found in the OUA awards -- cue "SOUA" jokes -- Dodd-Moher was nonetheless near the top of both Ontario and the country in these rankings. She's not that far ahead of the two OUA all-star goalies, though, and they all had save percentages at or above .940, so it's not a huge snub. We can't get through this without mentioning this game again, so there you go. Last year, she finished third in these rankings.

  2. Beth Clause, Brock (+2.3 wins vs. average): Clause is just a half-goal out of first, so her CIS all-star status (second-team) is well-deserved. Not bad for someone who didn't play hockey until around age 12 (make sure you click on that, it's a great read). She also did not let in a goal in four games at the Universiade. (Plus: differently-coloured pads! How can you go wrong?) Clause was 9th last year.

  3. Charline Labonté, McGill (+2.0): Here's your CIS goalie of the year (even if they don't say that in the release, she was the first-team goaltender, so...). I think it's fair to say Labonté is the only one on this list who used to play major junior. Oh, and she was on the national team too, I hear. She had a save percentage of .960 but loses ground in our rankings because, to some extent, the average goalie can be successful playing behind that defence. According to the very nearly navigable McGill athletics website, she has had a .949 save percentage all-time with the Martlets, and looks up to Marc-André Fleury despite being two years older than him.

  4. Liz Knox, Laurier (+1.9): If you've read this far, do you really need to be told who Liz Knox is? She went along with Clause to the Universiade and they appear to have split the playing time equally. (Given how opposing OUA teams treat WLU, that must have been an interesting couple of weeks.) Knox is basically the only player on this list I've ever seen play, and she provides yet another data point in favour of Waterloo students blowing off Warriors games and making the walk over to WLU instead. She was ranked second last year.

  5. Audrey Doyon-Lessard, Concordia (+1.9): I'm going to be the difficult one here and ask why Doyon-Lessard, the RSEQ player of the year (not goaltender, player), was not a first-team RSEQ all-star. Were there not already enough Martlets on the first team? Doyon-Lessard, who was ranked 10th in 2009-10, is the first of the goalies we've been over so far who did not benefit from an above-league-average penalty kill unit in front of her.

  6. Mackenzie Rizos, Saskatchewan (+1.9): Rizos, previously with the Pronghorns and profiled here, wasn't a first- or second-team all-star in Canada West this year, which kind of proves the purpose of these rankings. (She was nearly a win better than those who were so named.)

  7. Nicole Kesteris, Toronto (+1.7): Kesteris is one of many athletes whose nicknames are just the various syllables of her name. Despite that, she had quite the rookie year: she made both the CIS and OUA all-rookie teams (as we've learned, making the former doesn't imply you made the latter), and now she gets to put "Ranked 7th in the cisblog.ca goalie rankings" on her resume. Not bad for someone who isn't yet 19.

  8. Leitte Klassen, Manitoba (+1.2): This one needs a bit of explanation, no offence intended to Ms. Klassen. She only played 448 minutes this year, yet in that small amount of playing time, managed to post a .962 and 0.80 -- certainly outstanding numbers regardless of the level of hockey. But, since our rankings also account for playing time, we don't have a cutoff for qualifying players. If Klassen is worth eight additional goals in 448 minutes, then that's what she was worth. (These are meant to be descriptive, not predictive rankings.)

  9. Julia Sharun, St. Thomas (+1.2): Our first AUS goaltender, Sharun was a second-team all-star in the Atlantic conference this year. In 2008-09, she was the AUS rookie of the year, and last year she came in 31st in these rankings (and was profiled in the local paper).

  10. Kathy Desjardins, Moncton (+1.1): There are not many worse ways her season could have ended than how it did: a 9-2 shellacking in a game that, if won, would have sent les Aigles Bleues to nationals. (After the goals at 38:51 and 39:21, I would have skated to the bench on my own and refused to return to the crease; one of many reasons I'm not a hockey player.) This is probably a good time as any to point out that these rankings don't count AUS playoff stats because the AUS has apparently not been introduced to LeagueStat and there's only so much manual entry I'm going to do. Desjardins was 4th last year in these rankings.
This is a guest post from former Ubyssey sports editor Ian Turner on his ideas for improving CIS men’s basketball. The ideas expressed here are his own and are not necessarily endorsed by The CIS Blog, but they should stimulate some discussion. You can read more of Ian’s work here and contact him at ianturner88 @ gmail. – Andrew

On February 22, UBC won its first playoff match of the 2010-2011 season 106-75 against the Manitoba Bisons. The following night, UBC won 103-85, taking the best-of-three series and advancing to the next round, the Canada West final four.

The two games were uneventful - the likely outcome was known to both teams before the series started. Did below-.500 Manitoba really think they would upset Canada’s second-ranked team, UBC? Unfortunately, such blowout contests are also the norm for the men’s team throughout the regular season.

So what if we rearranged the Canadian collegiate basketball scene?
Join us this afternoon for live coverage of the women's basketball championship game between Windsor and Saskatchewan! The game, which starts at 4:30 Eastern, will be shown live on TSN.

We were in Hamilton last year for the Lancers-Huskies semifinal, and liveblogged the game. We thought it was Windsor's "outstanding guard play" that did it for them in that game, which they won 82-60. (Our predictions were in the "Windsor by 6" area, not "Windsor by 22.")

How will this year's rematch turn out? Find out in a few hours...

A release just out from the CIS has the seedings and game schedules for next week's University Cup in Fredericton. No surprises. Since they had to put one team from each conference in each pool, AUS runner-up StFX got the #5 seed in the host spot and Canada West runner-up Calgary got the #6 seed in the wild card spot.

UNB as host had the option to play their first game Thursday or Friday evening, and the team decided back when they received the hosting rights that they would start on Thursday in order to avoid three games in three nights. With StFX playing Thursday afternoon there should be lots of fan excitement to start the tournament.


1. UNB Varsity Reds (AUS champions: 23-5-0 regular season / 6-3 playoffs)

2. McGill Redmen (OUA champions: 24-2-2 regular season / 7-1 playoffs)

3. Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West champions: 19-6-3 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)

4. Western Ontario Mustangs (OUA finalists: 20-3-5 regular season / 6-2 playoffs)

5. StFX X-Men (AUS finalists: 17-10-1 regular season / 7-5 playoffs)

6. Calgary Dinos (Canada West finalists: 17-8-3 regular season / 2-3 playoffs)

Pool A
1. UNB
4. Western
6. Calgary

Pool B
2. McGill
3. Alberta
5. StFX


Wednesday, March 23
12:45: Meet The Coaches Media Conference (Aitken University Centre)
19:00: All-Canadian Awards Ceremony (The Playhouse)

Thursday, March 24
14:00: Pool B #1: StFX vs. McGill (SSN Canada webcast)
19:00: Pool A #1: Calgary vs. UNB (SSN Canada webcast)

Friday, March 25
14:00: Pool B #2: Loser Pool B #1 vs. Alberta (SSN Canada webcast)
19:00: Pool A #2: Loser Pool A #1 vs. Western (SSN Canada webcast)

Saturday, March 26
14:30: Pool B #3: Winner Pool B #1 vs. Alberta (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
19:30: Pool A #3: Winner Pool A #1 vs. Western (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)

Sunday, March 27
20:00: University Cup Final (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)

* Not mentioned in the CIS schedule is that CHSRfm.ca will be audiocasting all seven games as well.
If you are reading this at midnight on a Friday, chances are you were here already and saw the post about Saint Mary's scrapping women's hockey. Let us skip directly to the relevant parts of the latest update:
Halifax city councillor Sue Uteck, the wife of the late Larry Uteck who was the football coach and athletic director at SMU for many years, was livid at the news the women's hockey team was falling under the axe.

"That women's hockey program was his pride and joy to get off the ground and put it to where it was today," she said. "To me, this is a fundamentally wrong decision."

Uteck said the decision had not yet been ratified by the university's board of governors and that she was going to exert pressure to get the program reinstated.

"My husband has a golf tournament in his honour, the Larry Uteck Golf Classic, and that raises money for student athletes as Saint Mary's," she said. "I'm not just alumnus. I give a huge amount of time and dollars to Saint Mary's in the form of fundraising.

"I will be removing his name from that tournament. That hockey team was his pride and joy."
Saint Mary's AD Steve Sarty is quoted saying it is "awful" this came to pass. None of us are so simple to be looking for a villain. There is just no getting past believing this was done because it's an easy cut. It also leaves Saint Mary's with exactly zero full-time coaches who are women, which would seem to be a microcosm of the Canadian zeitgeist (we've gone from seventh to 25th in the world in gender equity since around 2006). It is not not gender equity when 60% of varsity athletes are male at a university whose enrolment is 65% female, as graduating SMU defender Seyara Shwetz argued:
Saint Mary’s University is composed of a 65% female presence in the student body. However, we only have 110 female varsity positions available to women athletes, where as men have 165 positions available. Our Head Coach, Lisa Jordan, was the only full-time female head coach at SMU; she was also the only coach with experience at the National Level.
The point is the obvious. This flies in the face of fairness, gender equity and sustainability. It is also ironic that with this all being provincially mandated, the ones who suffer are the women's hockey team (with 13 of 23 players from Atlantic Canada) and not the Huskies football team (17 of 82). One urges Saint Mary's to see the big picture instead of seeing 23 young women as a line item.

Saint Mary's University Women's Team Terminated (Seyara Shwetz, Women's Hockey Life)
University cites funding crunch in cutting women's hockey (Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press)
Saint Mary's U cutting women's hockey (Rachel Brady, The Globe & Mail)
SMU sends the wrong message (Chris Cochrane, Halifax Chronicle-Herald)
Great timing, but is there ever a good time for bad news. Less than a week after McGill defeated StFX for the women's hockey championship, Saint Mary's announced today that they are discontinuing women's hockey. You know SMU, the same school that won the men's championship last year. Their first.
Saint Mary’s University today announced, as part of the university budget process, that it has made the difficult decision to discontinue the Women's Varsity Hockey Team.

Athletics and Recreation Director, Steve Sarty, said the difficult decision was made as a result of the budget deliberations that are currently underway and following a detailed review of the university’s sports programs.

“I spoke today directly to Coach Lisa Jordan. The players have been notified. I know the news has saddened them and, no doubt, it is upsetting,” said Sarty.

Over the coming weeks, athletics staff and student services staff will work with any players who want to transfer to another university.
There is no schadenfreude for me on this one. I'm somehow a lightning rod for folks who still want to bitch about UNB demoting their women's program to club status, and maybe that is what will happen to the SMU program. I hope so. I don't like to see anyone lose an opportunity to play varsity, or at least club, sports while going to school. There are all sorts of individual benefits to the student-athlete, and schools win by having those personalities in their classrooms.

Times are tough at universities in the Maritimes. The demographics aren't good - there are fewer high school students every year. While there may be booming populations in other parts of Canada, those kids (or their parents) seem more interested in jamming into over-crowded local universities instead of attending the long established (UNB is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year) schools out east that have lots of seats in classrooms and lots of residence rooms going unfilled.

There is also the little matter that the federal government did a good job of balancing the national budget in recent years, and a lot of those savings came from cutting back on transfer payments to have-not provinces, which is all of us in the Maritimes (For nitpickers Newfoundland is now a have-province with their petrodollars and by geography is part of Atlantic Canada, but not the Maritimes).

So the feds cut back transfer payments, and the provinces have less money to give to universities, and enrollment is not growing (or declining) and I think you can see the resultant budget crunch. Varsity athletics are not professors or classrooms, so they have to take a hit. Saint Mary's is just hitting that wall after UNB already did a few years ago. Of course SMU kept their expensive football team, just like Mount Allison did when they dropped men's hockey back in the 90's. UNB dropped their football team back in the 80's to fund their other sports. You see the trend here, right?

The AUS women's hockey conference will be down to six teams. The men's conference has eight teams and three of those schools now don't have varsity women's programs: Acadia, Saint Mary's and UNB. Coincidentally the top three programs this year. Only Mt. A has a varsity women's program and not a men's program.

SMU points out in their release that they will still have an equal number of men' s and women's varsity sports teams. This was the same case when UNB reorganized their varsity sports and demoted/cut women's hockey.

So count me a little surprised today, but not shocked. It looks to be a necessary but difficult business decision.

Saint Mary's Makes Difficult Decision to Discontinue Women's Hockey (SMU media release)
Queen's (both the Journal and the athletics department) have put together a list of top 10 moments from the 2010-11 year.

"Winning the Vanier Cup" isn't an option (yeah, I went there), but there are other great moments worth a vote, like the longest hockey game in 349 years or something like that, Sam Sabourin's rookie of the year award, winning the women's soccer championship, and "women's basketball beats RMC." (Okay, fine, it's actually "Women's Basketball wins final four games to qualify for playoffs." But they ended with RMC and ... I don't think that one's going to win.)

I'm pointing all 16 of our readers to this not because we're super-favourable toward Queen's (am I ever not). Rather, I was asked nicely, and I'm happy to oblige. Hopefully other schools are doing a similar thing -- and maybe some of you know of some of those schools, hint-hint -- because it's a) fun and b) easy content for that end-of-term campus sports section that nobody really wants to put out after all the teams stopped playing six weeks ago.

If I can bring myself to vote on anything resembling a memorable moment for Queen's University, so can you. The ballot's here.
Just like with the men's Final 8 preview last week, here's our preview for the women's tournament, presented in descending order of how likely that team is to win (based on RPI and SRS through Mar. 13). All categories are the same or self-explanatory, except "from the season preview", which refers back to Kate Hole's preview from October.

Also available is this one-page at-a-glance sheet (PDF), as well as the CIS preview.

With the regionals format in place this year, we have one of the more intriguing fields in recent memory. Two of Friday's quarterfinals should be fantastic games.

Before we get started, how about this great big Ontar-ari-ariorama? (Been a while since we used that word.) Four teams from the OUA, and just one from Canada West?

Well, the only other alternative, given the results from the regionals -- specifically, Laurier's win against host Regina -- is three OUA and two CW, so it's not as skewed as it sounds. The at-large berth was awarded to Carleton, who went 1-1 at their regional (losing to St. F-X) instead of, say, those Cougars (who also went 1-1).

It's fair to question the choice of Carleton over Regina, but Carleton's not really a "wrong" choice. Both teams finished second in a large conference. Either team could have qualified if they won two games at home last weekend. (In fact, this way into the tournament was only available to the Ravens because they failed to qualify another way. I think that's irony, but I can never tell anymore.)

Saskatchewan coach Lisa Thomaidis told the Star-Phoenix, "They changed the whole way the tournament is seeded — there are, like, 10 criteria that were the same ones used to select the at-large berth and I think we saw from this first go-round that there are lots of problems with that, with different teams that got in over others and things like that."

It's hard to argue Toronto, Laurier, and St. F-X don't deserve their berths, having gone on the road (to another province) and won them directly. That was kind of the point of regionals. So if choosing the Ravens over the Cougars is what constitutes "lots of problems" then there must not be any other problems left to solve in CIS basketball.

On the other hand, the coach who was directly affected by it, Regina's Dave Taylor, was quoted as follows:

"We controlled our destiny for two weeks and didn't get it done," said Taylor, who noted the Ravens deserved the wild-card spot ahead of Regina based on the criteria used by the CIS. "That's why you don't want to go in the back door. Sometimes the back door can be slammed in your face."

And Taffe Charles, of course, thinks his team should be there:

With Canada West teams having won the last 19 championships, many expected that conference's runner-up, the Regina Cougars, to get the wild card but Charles said the selection criteria, which included regular-season winning percentage and winning percentage against teams with good records, favoured the Ravens. "The numbers do show that we had a better year than Regina."

Now that we've covered that part off, on to the preview!

Odds of winning: 50.4%
RPI / SRS: 1st / +19.3
Top-100 players and award-winners: Jessica Clémençon* (MVP, 2), Miah-Marie Langlois** (24), Bojana Kovacevic (28), Korissa Williams (81), Iva Peklova (92)
How they qualified: Hosts and OUA champions
Last year: 2nd place
From the season preview (ranked 1st): "Any pundit choosing someone other than Windsor to win this year’s championship would have, in nicest terms, a heck of a lot of explaining to do."
First-round point spread: Laval, +17
Outlook: The odds are very much in Windsor's favour, a combination of being the host, the No. 1 seed, and tops in the RPI (though they are virtually tied with the Huskies). Not to mention they've lost only two games all year by a combined eight points, and lost only one to a non-qualifier. Laval's knocked off a top seed before, but even then I can't see Friday's game going any way other than a Lancer win. As a whole the Lancers make 78% of their free-throws, but don't get to the line that often ... possibly because they have a 78% success rate. Distress-a-Jess probably won't work, since Clémençon is even better from the line (85.6%).

Odds of winning: 21.5%
RPI / SRS: 2nd / +15.7
Top-100 players and award-winners: Katie Miyazaki (5, defensive MVP), Kim Tulloch* (6, MVP), Jill Humbert* (10), Marci Kiselyk (60), Jana Spindler (73), Lisa Thomaidis (coach)
How they qualified: Won Canada West
Last year: 3rd place
From the season preview (ranked 2nd): "The addition of defensive specialist Miyazaki will be a spark to their backcourt tinder, but it’s the front court they need to work on: both the Huskies and their SFU transfer have struggled with turnovers in the past, and it has been their Achilles heel in important games."
First-round point spread: Laurier, +6
Outlook: Despite winning nearly every Canada West award in sight, the Huskies (since they are the 2-seed, not the 1) consider themselves to be "flying under the radar a bit" and are looking to put "all the pressure" on Windsor. But let me put some pressure, however small, on Saskatchewan too: they have probably the best offence in the country, the defensive player of the year two years running, and Detroit is watching!

Odds of winning: 7.1%
RPI / SRS: 3rd / +8.9
Top-100 players and award-winners: Jahlica Kirnon* (13), Denisha Haywood (53), Kari Everett (56), Nicole Works** (84), Stephanie Toxopeus (89), Fabian McKenzie (coach)
How they qualified: Won the AUS
Last year: 5th place
From the season preview (ranked 12th): "...you might think they would be ranked higher – but they’re going to miss Portugal-bound Kelsey Hodgson (and her 22 points per game) desperately. That, coupled with returning only half of their roster (and half of their points) will put Cape Breton in a much tougher spot in 2011." (Well, we can't get them all right.)
First-round point spread: Too close to call, vs. Toronto
Outlook: Losing Hodgson didn't hurt the offence too much after all, though their defence took quite a hit. Odd how that works. Still, they're likely to run right into Windsor in the semis should they advance. Which would not happen if they did not have the befuddling 4 seed.

Odds of winning: 6.7%
RPI / SRS: 4th / +7.4
Top-100 players and award-winners: Alyson Bush** (41), Ashleigh Cleary (51), Kendall MacLeod (52)
How they qualified: At-large berth after finishing second in the OUA and losing their regional to St. F-X
Last year: Did not qualify.
Last appearance at nationals: Never.
Really? Yes.
From the season preview (ranked 9th): "Returning 80% of production to a team that finished a hair’s breadth from OUA East glory will certainly help the Ravens, as will their strong outside shooting and low turnover rate."
First-round point spread: Too close to call, vs. St. F-X
Outlook: Taking a page from their male counterparts, these Ravens also have the slowest pace factor of anyone at nationals. The rematch against St. F-X will be a good one. This is a pretty solid team, generally ... not really sure how they ended up with just the one second-team all-star.

Odds of winning: 5.3%
RPI / SRS: 7th / +10.2
Top-100 players and award-winners: Nicki Schutz* (40), Jill Stratton (49, rookie), Sherri Pierce** (75), Michèle Bélanger (coach)
How they qualified: Won the Fredericton regional, defeating UFV and Western
Last year: Did not qualify.
Last appearance at nationals: 2008, finishing in a tie for 7th.
First-round point spread: Too close to call, vs. CBU
Outlook: Stingy and aggressive defence might get them past CBU and who knows what will happen against Windsor in the semis. Toronto beat them back in November, despite being outshot, because they took 20 more shots due to the 25 turnovers they caused. One of their weaknesses was still evident, though: they shot only 63% from the line, and let Clémençon score 18 despite making just five field goals. (The Blues have also defeated Western once and Laurier twice, so they are familiar with how to match up with the top OUA West teams.)

Odds of winning: 5.2%
RPI / SRS: 8th / +10.9
Top-100 players and award-winners: Ashley Stephen* (30, defensive MVP), Donisha Young (61), Kirsten Jones (66), Sheryl Chisholm** (91)
How they qualified: Won the Ottawa regional over Alberta and Carleton
Last year: Did not qualify.
Last appearance at nationals: 1997. No, really.
First-round point spread: Too close to call, vs. Carleton
Outlook: If Matt Skinn were Kevin Hanson, you wouldn't ever hear him yell "BALL PRESSURE!" (don't worry, it's a joke that five people get) because the X-Women are involved in more turnovers than Cleo Lemon. In a good way, I mean: their defensive turnover rate is the highest in the country (and, as well, their offensive rate is the lowest in the country). Could this be the best quarterfinal game? Too bad Saskatchewan can only play one of the X-Women and Ravens at this tournament.

Odds of winning: 3.4%
RPI / SRS: 9th / +8.2
Top-100 players and award-winners: Renata Adamczyk* (11), Megan Grant (55), Felicia Mazerolle (rookie), Paul Falco (coach)
How they qualified: Ran the table at the Regina regional, beating the Citadins and Cougars
Last year: Did not qualify.
Last appearance at nationals: 2004, when they went 0-2.
First-round point spread: Saskatchewan, -6
Outlook: A rather good defence is going up against a very good offence. I think six points might be too close, unfortunately for the Hawks, a team that (like most of Laurier) have that Homer Simpson appeal to them. (I'm rooting for an upset only because it might finally motivate the crack reporting staff at The Record to look up WLU's team name, and thus learn that they are not the "Laurier Lady Hawks.")

Odds of winning: 0.5%
RPI / SRS: 25th / +1.8
Top-100 players and award-winners: Marie-Michelle Genois* (32), Marie-Pascale Nadeau (94), Elyse Jobin** (96)
How they qualified: QUBL champion. They barely qualified for playoffs in the first place, though our Ilana Shecter perhaps saw it coming all along: she was bullish on Laval's chances against McGill in the semifinal and then said (before their win against UQAM) that they "seem poised to win it all."
Last year: 6th place. They lost one of the worst games I've ever had the misfortune of having free courtside seats for. (And I went to Waterloo.)
From the season preview (ranked 10th): "Genois will take care of business inside, and if they can figure out a replacement point guard they should be top of the QUBL once more."
First-round point spread: Windsor, -17
Outlook: What, "Windsor, -17" isn't enough? The turnovers will probably cause an early exit for Laval.
The McGill Martlets finished off their perfect season in style last night, easily handling the St. Francis Xavier X-Women in the gold medal game at the 2011 CIS Women's Hockey Championships.

The win marks the third in the past four years for the Martlets, continuing the powerhouse that has been McGill women's hockey.

Though, St. FX was able to keep McGill in check for the first period and headed into the intermission only down 1-0. The speed of the Martlets helped extend that lead in the second though, as Jordanna Peroff and Caroline Hill scored less than 40 seconds apart.

An early goal by Jasmine Sheehan looked to put things out of reach, but the X-Women refused to give up. Captain Suzanne Fenerty was able to get St. FX on the board, which was quickly followed by an Erin Brophy marker.

All momentum that the X-Women had was quickly compromised when Alessandra Lind-Kenny scored to make it 5-2, which would go on to be the final.

With the win, McGill finishes the year a perfect 33-0, while the loss marks the first for St. FX this season.

Peroff was named the tournament MVP, and was also chosen as a forward on the All-Tournament Team. Joining her are teammates Leslie Oles and Cathy Chartrand, as well as St. FX's Fenerty and Carolyn Campbell. Rounding out the team is Queen's goalie Mel Dodd-Moher.

For Dodd-Moher, the accomplishment is complemented by a bronze medal at the tournament, which her Gaels won in thrilling fashion earlier in the day.

Against the host Laurier Golden Hawks, Dodd-Moher demonstrated why she deserved her All-Tournament accolade, as she stood on her head and made 33 saves in a 1-0 shutout performance.

Both Dodd-Moher and Liz Knox in the other end played phenomenal, evidenced by the 58 minutes of play without a goal. However, with just 1:52 left on the clock, Kerstin van Bolderen scored just under the crossbar off a backhand after receiving a beautiful pass from Elizabeth Kench.

The win for Queen's helps cap off their Cinderella ending to the season, which saw them win 10 straight games entering the tournament, including one which was the longest in collegiate hockey history (for men or women).

Laurier will hope to forget the loss and post-season in general. After being ranked as the #2 team nationwide for much of the regular season, they were swept by Queen's in the first round of the OUA playoffs. Despite getting an automatic bid into the tournament as host, the Golden Hawks dropped their first game to St. FX, which resulted in them playing for bronze instead of gold.

The fifth place game saw the Alberta Pandas do battle with the Manitoba Bisons in a Canada West battle. Melody Howard picked up three points for the Pandas as Alberta went on to win 5-2 to finish fifth in the tournament. Both teams dropped their two round robin games which caused them to play in the early game instead of for a medal.

Another year has come and gone for CIS women's hockey, but you can bet coaches and players are already thinking about next year's tournament in Alberta.

McGill will have a chance to repeat, but it will hang in the balance based on who will return for the Martlets next season. It should be an exciting off-season to see which recruits go where, and who decides to stay for these big teams.
Carleton 82, Trinity Western 59

HALIFAX — Upon seeing the Carleton Ravens have won their seventh CIS men's basketball title in nine seasons, many will groan and say, 'Oh, it's just another win for Carleton.' After all, the team wins with such monotony that even casual observers of CIS basketball know which program is Canada's King.

But this was not just a formality; this was a clinic. Dave Smart's Ravens showed why they're the best program in the country, putting together textbook offensive execution and a stingy defensive focus to beat the Trinity Western Spartans 82-59 and become CIS Champions.

The Ravens hit 10 three-pointers before halftime to beat the massive Spartan lineup, penetrating the paint and moving the ball to the perimeter with stunning precision. It was no matter that Player of the Year Tyson Hinz was limited to just 13 points by Trinity's versatile bigs; Carleton picked apart the Spartan defence with crisp, precise passes and made it rain from beyond the arc.

Carleton finished 16-for-38 from three-point range and racked up 19 assists. And while they were firing on all cylinders offensively, the Ravens also managed to hold Trinity Western to 35.4 per cent shooting and forced 18 turnovers with excellent rotations and quick, nabbing hands.

It's a signature win for Smart given the youth and experience of this Carleton team; many, including Smart himself, labelled this a 'rebuilding' year following the recent departure of stars Aaron Doornekamp, Stu Turnbull and Kevin McCleery. But the Ravens, led by Hinz and super rookie Phil Scrubb, showed there may be a new Carleton dynasty on the way.

Here's what the players and coaches from each team had to say following the win:

Ravens coach Smart:

- On the gameplan and execution: "We had to attack them off the perimeter. Friday we didn't make shots, but Saturday and Sunday we did."

- On having won a title in a potential off-year: "I don't want to downplay how proud I am of this group. I love this group. It's a young group and they've worked really hard... Every time I've been standing here I've had a special feeling about them."

- On the potential start of a new Carleton dynasty: "It's hard to win. A lot of things went our way this year. Do we hope to put ourselves in a position to win again? Yes. But it's hard to win."

Senior guard and maritime native Elliot Thompson, who was named Player of the Game:

- On winning in front of friends and family: "It feels amazing. Any time you can win a national championship it's the best feeling in the world.... It feels great hearing the support; I try to block it out, but it's definitely there and it's awesome.

- On his performance in the final (Thompson had 19 points, including four threes): You just have to keep shooting the ball. Friday and Saturday I shot a lot of threes and some of them weren't going on, but you just have to trust your body and keep shooting. The main thing going into this tournament was to keep attacking, never quit and play for 40 minutes and I think that's why we won this tournament."

- On being a leader of the team and having young players like Hinz and Scrubb playing so well under pressure: "That's the thing with those guys; you don't really need to tell them much. They're guys that are getting it done and are gonna have great careers in the future... it's not hard to lead when you have great followers."

Ravens guard Willy Manigat:

- On winning his second CIS banner: "I can't even put it into words. Everyone in our locker room from our coaching staff to our managers and players and anyone that helps with our program, they always believe in us, and we work hard every single day at practice you know [coach Smart] demands a lot from us."

- On winning in what was potentially a rebuilding year: "To us, it's never really a rebuilding program. We lost a big piece in [McCleery] last year and part of the mission was to get what he couldn't get last year."

- On rebounding from last week's Wilson Cup loss to Lakehead: "I feel like the Lakehead loss, even after it happened, never really brought me down because we went undefeated for the year and won our first playoff game by a fair amount and we needed something that could bring us back to earth so that we could win this. This is what we wanted. Last year we won an OUA title, but when we lost [in the semi-finals] it didn't make me feel any better. We knew that the ultimate goal was to come here and just fight."

- On Smart's coaching philosophy: "Our coach always says we don't need to worry about the score; it's just about the process of winning. If we fight and do everything that we need to do then things will happen."

CIS Rookie of the Year Scrubb:

- On Player of the Year Hinz' impact: "He's basically our whole offence. He gets other guys shots. He's tough to cover one-on-one and most teams have to [double-team him] and when they do, we'll get shots."

- On coming to Carleton as a 17-year old and winning a championship: "When I talked to coach Smart, he basically said I was going to improve here. I just wanted to improve every minute and every second and to win. The main reason I came here was to win a national championship, and I look forward to doing that in the future as well."

- On the potential for a new Carleton dynasty: "Hopefully. That's the plan. Next year, we're going to work just as hard - maybe harder."

For Trinity Western, the loss is painful as fifth-year players Jacob Doerksen, Tyrell Mara and Daniel Horner came up agonizingly short in their final CIS games. With a starting five composed entirely of transfer players, it was a team built for a championship; one they were one game short of winning.

Spartans forward Kyle Coston:

- On Carleton's execution: "We knew that they were going to come out strong and they were going to be fluid. In the first half I think they competed a little harder than us, to be honest. You can't do that in a national championship and think you're going to win."

Spartans forward Doerksen:

- On the run his team made to the tournament: "It's been great for Trinity Western. Just a few years ago they had losing records year after year. To build the program up the last three years with [head coach] Scott Allen and to make the final was an accomplishment. It was awesome. Just too bad we couldn't win it."

- On prospects of continuing his career professionally: "I definitely want to play. I was just waiting for the season to end and to get a good look at maybe playing overseas."

Spartans coach Allen:

- On focusing his team after yesterday's dramatic win over UBC: "I think the guys were focused and we had a plan. I just think we underestimated how aggressive they were on defence... we couldn't get into our looks."

- On Carleton's offensive execution: "They're so good in the post, what are you gonna do? Are you going to double team them or let them go one-on-one... you have to pick your poisons and kind of mix it up. They're a full-merit team and they're a machine."

- On Trinity Western's first Final 8 appearance: "It's a young program. I told them right after the game I was proud of them and that what they've done now is established a tradition that we want to continue."


UBC 111, Saskatchewan 95

Earlier in the night, the UBC Thunderbirds and Saskatchewan Huskies ran a glorified track meet, with UBC winning the Bronze medal game 111-95 in a low-intensity, high-scoring affair. Alex Murphy torched the Huskies with a career-high 36 points in the final game of his CIS career. The Thunderbirds took an 18-point lead at halftime and never let their lead get any smaller than 10, cruising to their third straight Final 8 medal.

Jamelle Barrett scored 28 points and dished out 10 assists for the Huskies, but it wasn't enough to produce a victory. Fellow backcourt teammate Rejean Chabot score just 10 points in 22 minutes as both teams went deep to their benches early and often.

UBC played without former Player of the Year Josh Whyte, who had been playing with a stress fracture in his foot all weekend and took shots to let him play in the quarter- and semi-finals.

UBC coach Kevin Hanson:

- On Murphy's career game: "I thought Alex Murphy, for a fifth-year senior guy, that'll be a memory for life scoring 36 in his last game as a UBC Thunderbird... he held us together like glue."

- On Whyte playing through the stress fracture: "He put in everything in his heart for this team., sacrificing personal injury like that to play."

- On the relaxed atmosphere of the game: "These toilet bowl games always seem to be high scoring-scoring affairs... it's an opportunity to have a little bit of fun."

Player of the Game Murphy:

- On playing for the Bronze medal: "I'm proud of the guys. It's such a tough game to get up and play for. Nobody wants to play that game."

- On scoring a career high in his final game: "That was good. I know I can shoot like that. It was good to prove it to myself.

- On where he goes next in basketball: "I'm going to try to play pro somewhere in Europe... it's going to be a long, arduous summer. I'll work hard at it."


Jack Donohue Trophy (Tournament MVP):

Tyson Hinz, Carleton

Tournament All-Star Team:

Jamelle Barrett, Saskatchewan
Tyson Hinz, Carleton
Kyle Coston, Trinity Western
Jacob Doerksen, Trinity Western
Elliot Thompson, Carleton

R.W Pugh Fair Play Award:

Simon Farine, Dalhousie


Just a note: Thanks to all the readers who followed the liveblogs, checked in with our game reports and offered comments. It's been a great weekend of hoops and it wouldn't be possible without readers like yourselves.
In what promises to be a thriller, the two undefeated teams of CIS women's hockey are set to go toe to toe in Waterloo.

The McGill Martlets downed both Alberta and Queen's throughout the week, while the X-Women won squeakers over both Laurier and Manitoba to reach the finals.

After months of hard work and tight games, the CIS Basketball season comes down to one game. The Carleton Ravens and Trinity Western Spartans will duke it out for the W.P. McGee trophy and a CIS Banner. Follow me and host of others tonight as we call the action live.

Two OUA foes get set to do battle this afternoon in Waterloo for the women's hockey bronze medal as the Laurier Golden Hawks and Queen's Gaels face off.

Queen's had their Cinderella run come to a halt yesterday when they were downed by McGill 3-1 sending them here. Laurier find themselves here after a close 4-3 loss to St. FX earlier in the week.

Well, it has been two close games so far in the AUS men's hockey championship. How close? How about the first decided in overtime and the second in double-overtime, with UNB and StFX each coming away with a win in Fredericton.

The No. 1 ranked VaBrian Smith Photorsity Reds and the No. 7 ranked (and underrated) X-Men are locked in a tight-checking battle for pride, as both teams are already ensured a berth at the Cavendish University Cup. The V-Reds want to play their customary uptempo puck possession game while "X" is committed to team defensive systems that clog up the middle and take away time and space from their opponents.

For two periods Friday night the StFX playbook was winning out. Rookie X-Men Jason Bast scored off the rush in the second period and Murdoch MacLellan got a gift goal when the rebound from his shot glanced off a UNB defenceman's skate and into the net. In the third period UNB made some adjustments, particularly with their struggling breakouts, and started to get pucks deep with some consistency. They scored two goals in less than two minutes off deflections that Joey Perricone had no chance on, the first by Hunter Tremblay and the second by Daine Todd.

The overtime period was all UNB as they swarmed the StFX zone. After the X-Men iced the puck to get a line change, UNB's Chris Culligan won the faceoff clean back to defenceman Ben Wright who waited a heartbeat for the screen to develop in front of him before firing a wrist shot that beat Perricone on the short side and the game was over 64:34 of hard fought play.
Saturday night UNB had a better start, but still the game was scoreless after 40 minutes. At some sustained V-Reds pressure in the early part of the third period, at 6:44 StFX made a foray into the UNB zone. Matthew Bragg put on a puck control display, from the right corner back to the inside of the blue line and then the left circle before letting the puck go that Spencer McAvoy deflected past Travis Fullerton. After icing was waved off got UNB got three players deep with the puck and tied it up at 15:08 when captain Kyle Bailey put the third whack at the puck past Perricone.

The first overtime Saturday was uneventful more the most part, but fairly balanced. At 2:42 of the second OT the faceoff was at the left UNB faceoff circle after a missed attempt for a stretch pass was whistled down for icing. Then in a stunning move on the puck drop, Phil Mangan successfully went for the shot forward instead of attempting to win the draw back, and the puck found the inside of the post just past a surprised Fullerton. The shocked crowd filed quietly out of the AUC, and now Game 3 and 4 will be in Antigonish on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

(All photos courtesy of Brian Smith)

Wright caps V-Reds' rally in OT (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
X-Men Stun V-Reds in Double OT (UNB Sports Information)
Best-of-three now (Bill Hunt, Daily Gleaner)
After disappointing losses yesterday, the UBC Thunderbirds and Saskatchewan Huskies will try to earn measure of redemption in the Bronze medal game today. Follow our liveblog here as we call the action from the last day of the Final 8.

The Calgary Dinos Canada West conference championship hopes will have to wait until next year after the Alberta Golden Bears successfully defended their conference crown with a convincing two game sweep of their southern rivals. Making their first conference finals appearance since 1996 and first against Alberta since 1990, Calgary ran into a Bears team that would prove to be too much offensively.

Friday night in Game 1 of the series the Bears got out to a quick start scoring 3:53 into the first period when conference MVP Derek Ryan beat Calgary's Dustin Butler. Then just 52 seconds later Alberta would strike again when Sean Ringrose scored to make it 2-0 - Calgary had fallen victim to the Bears' lightning quick offence. Ryan would add another marker in the third, while rookie netminder Kurtis Mucha stopped all 32 shots he faced for his second playoff shutout in a 3-0 Alberta victory in front of a raucous crowd at Clare Drake Arena.

Butler got the hook after Alberta went up 3-0, although he couldn't be faulted for any of the three goals. Calgary head coach Mark Howell explained his decision to pull Butler and put in rookie Kris Lazaruk this way:

"Laz hasn't played in three weeks, so I wanted to make sure I got him in there. There's still a lot of playoff hockey. You never know what's going to happen." - The Edmonton Journal

After Friday night's impressive start it would've been hard for Alberta to get out of the gates any quicker, but that's exactly what the Bears did when Ryan scored shorthanded on a beautiful feed from Chad Klassen only 55 seconds into the opening frame beating Lazaruk - the rookie got the start Saturday over Butler in a rather puzzling move by the conference's coach of the year. J.P. Szaszkiewicz would extend the Bears lead to two when he scored at the 6:27 mark of the first period, but then 14 seconds later Calgary's Joel Eisenkirch would answer back to cut the lead to one. That would be all the Dinos scoring, while Alberta put up a five spot in the second period, adding one more in the third for good measure in an 8-1 destruction of Calgary.

It was a feisty finish to the game witnessed by 2 975 at the Drake with a solid stream of Bears and Dinos heading to the penalty box in the third - Calgary had six minor penalties in the final frame compared to four for Alberta. Of all the shenanigans that went on in the third none stand out more than an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed to Calgary's Eric Frere who slapped a shot into the Bears bench intentionally after the Bears had gone up 8-1. Luckily for the Alberta bench Frere didn't get all of a rolling puck off a faceoff just outside the Calgary zone.

Another interesting moment in this one happened when Calgary assistant coach Cory Cross - a former Bear - wouldn't shake hands with Alberta head coach Eric Thurston after the game. It's safe to say there's some bad blood between these two sides, but again the Canada West season ends with Alberta coming out on top claiming their fourth straight conference title and 10th in 11 years.

Both teams now head to Fredericton for the University Cup that gets underway March 24th.
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