Quietly observing the OUA East in the last couple weeks has been a quiet frustration, on my part. With most of these squads bringing back experienced rosters from last season, I was expecting a few teams—besides the Carleton Ravens—to march onward in the division very quickly. The reality is that the cobwebs are still hanging around. The Ravens are the only undefeated squad in the division, with the Toronto Varsity Blues and Ottawa Gee-Gees (both 3–3) both three full games behind them.

The Blues and Gee-Gees should be wary, the Ravens are beyond parity or any of these losing slumps at this point, but I think both squads are slowly getting their court feet back. The OUA East faced the West in interdivisional play this weekend, and the Blues and GeeGees went 3–1. The rest of the division went 2–8 in their contests combined.

While the Ravens shrugged off the Guelph Gryphons and Lakehead Thunderwolves (98–55 and 88–85 respectively), the Blues kept pace with tough road wins against the Western Mustangs and Windsor Lancers. Their 83–79 win against Western was a doozy, 58–55 after three quarters. The Blues’ ball control (winning the rebound game 42–27) proved to help control the flow of an evenly matched fourth quarter. Veteran C Andrew Wasik had 20 points in the win. The Blues took advantage of the roadtrip momentum, and had five double digit scorers in their 86–81 win over Windsor. Kudos goes to F Alex Hill’s three 3-pointers in the clutch. 

Even though Gee-Gees went 1–1 this weekend—interpretively a shaky start for a team with high expectations—the squad has played four road games. They nipped a potential albatross in the bud by winning their first road game against the Gryphons 83–77. Ottawa had control from the get-go in this one, shooting 46 per cent from the floor. Guard play was much better, with G Warren Ward scoring 28 points, and G Mike L’Africain scoring 16 off the bench. This team has the personnel to go out there and get it done. When this squad scores often, their defence has a better shot down the stretch. Even though they lost to Lakehead 78–72, being outrebounded and turning it over 23 times, they somehow kept it close with their baskets. They will have much to mull over this week.

With six games completed by each East squad, there are plenty of questions to be explored. We will not truly know what kind of parity exists until the divisional matchups go into full throttle in the new year. But, we do know that the West continues to look incredibly dominant over the East so far. In the first three weekends, the West is 32–16 (.667) over the East, up from last year's record (39-25, .610), with only one team (Western) below .500. Against everyone but Carleton, the OUA West teams are 32-10.
The CIS men's hockey rankings are here, and the RPI is here.

  1. UNB (2nd in RPI): Host St. Thomas on Friday, who will be seeking revenge for 43:33, 47:50, and 49:35 of this game. The Reds are +2.0 in SRS, a step down from their last two years where they've been three goals or more better than the average team. Though that may be because we're now ignoring shootouts country-wide in these rankings, and so what was previously a win or loss is a tie.

  2. McGill (1st in RPI): Survived the third period at Ryerson on Saturday, winning when (guess who) Francis Verreault-Paul put one home at 59:49.

    Have just one game left in 2011, a Friday morning school game vs. RMC in Verdun.

  3. Alberta (5th in RPI): As Evan noted, their trip to Manitoba this weekend "will be a good barometer of where this squad is after a relatively easy stretch of games against the conference's bottom three squads." Real Cyr will likely still lead the country in save percentage regardless of what happens, though.

  4. Western (6th in RPI): Host Waterloo and Guelph. The first one will be a bigger test, you'd think. This past weekend, at UOIT and Laurier, was the first one the Mustangs had where they won both games convincingly (by at least three goals), which is notable since they've played the weakest schedule in CIS so far. (Though it's hard to say a 9-3 win and a two-goal win aren't convincing.) (Never mind any of that. I read the wrong weekend off the schedule.)

  5. Moncton (19th in RPI): Play at UPEI Friday. They fell from third to fifth in the CIS rankings after losing to those Panthers, but that home loss (combined with everyone else's results) dropped them seven spots in RPI, to the point where they are technically below average. It's not the first time an above-.500 team with a soft schedule is ranked, and it won't be the last.

  6. Saskatchewan (13th in RPI): Cruised against UBC, as usual. Two games vs. Regina await.

  7. Acadia (12th in RPI): Host SMU Friday.

  8. Lakehead (4th in RPI): Host Waterloo this weekend for two. (Another goof. That would be the next weekend they play a regular season, which is in January, not this weekend.)

    Fourth in RPI but four spots below Western? Hmm. The 'Wolves and 'Stangs can settle it on the ice: they play four times between Jan. 20 and Feb. 4.

  9. Manitoba (3rd in RPI): Evan and math are both higher on Manitoba than the voters. Why not, right? They're only 4-0 against Calgary, and they lost by one goal in both games against Saskatchewan, and are 1-1 (or 2-0, depending how you count) against Alberta. What more can they do?

    They have two home games against those Bears this weekend, so I suppose we'll see.

  10. UQTR (8th in RPI): Face a much tougher slate this week: Nipissing and Carleton on the road, rather than RMC and Queen's anywhere. (The Gaels' 1-0 win over Carleton a few weeks back will remain an unsolved mystery for years.)

Talk about kicking a team when they are down. Well two actually, as this affects both the Dal men's and women's hockey teams. The Halifax Metro News is reporting that the Dalhousie University board of governors voted yesterday to demolish Dalhousie Memorial Arena next spring, rather than spend $3 to $4 million to fix the roof.

The 30-year old arena features a very idiosyncratic wooden roof that I rather like, but I know visiting teams are not fond of the DMA dressing room setups. For media, well, the press box is a just a couple of tables at the top of the concourse and patrons are constantly tripping over your phone and power cords as they take a short cut to the beer serving area, but it does have character!

Sounds like some bigwigs at Dal aren't hockey fans and might be envious of UNB's shiny new Richard J. CURRIE CENTER. From the Metro article quoting Dal spokesman Charles Crosby:
“At this point we’re looking at a new fitness and wellness facility,” he said. The next step is to look for someone who could design the facility.

“The plan is for it to include things like physio, a cardio area, yoga studios and the like,” he said.
The bigger question is where will the Tigers play now? There is not another on-campus rink, so will Dal be sharing the venerable Halifax Forum with Saint Mary's next season? That's going to make boosting your attendance even more challenging. I can see the t-shirt now: Homeless team skating.

P.S. UNB's Aitken University Centre is older than Dal's Memorial Arena and the school spent a million bucks or more two years ago repairing the roof. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Each Tuesday, we’ll look at who’s moving up and down, who’s staying put and who’s moving in and out of the CIS Top 10. This week, the top dogs stay put, everyone else moves and we have our first QUBL sighting of the year.

Here are this week's official CIS rankings and RPI. Here's Rob's post from this weekend's results.


No. 4 Saskatchewan, up from no. 5: Jamelle Barrett came back just in time for the Huskies to close out their semester with two wins. Though they went 2-0 without him, it’s pretty obvious that Barrett is the straw that stirs the drink for the Dogs. Everyone else in their lineup instantly becomes more valuable when they play complementary roles to his driving, dishing and scoring prowess. His 30-8-6 in an OT win over UFV was one of the best CIS games of the year.

Also, this week in unreported Huskies injuries features forward Nolan Brudehl, who missed both games over the weekend.

No. 5 Victoria, up from no. 6: In case anyone didn’t notice (and it’s likely more than a few didn’t), the Vikes are the only remaining undefeated team out west, likely because they’ve yet to play any of the other ranked CW teams. Still, they’ve done everything they needed to in the first semester, having taken care of business and set themselves up for a good run in January and February.

Ryan McKinnon is shooting 53% and averaging 21.4 points on the year, giving the Vikes enough production to lead a balanced attack. It’s tough to say how that will translate against stiffer competition, but we’ll have to trust the voters’ judgment that this is the fifth-best team in the country (and the RPI, which has them sixth).

No. 6 Alberta, up from no. 7: Their third win over a ranked opponent (a convincing 79-57 victory over UFV) is enough to legitimize their top-six ranking, but there are a few things they could work on: shooting over 50% in a game, for instance. They also got badly beaten on the boards and shot just 41.2% against the Cascades and somehow still won by 22. That means you’re still doing some things right.

No. 8 Wilfrid Laurier, up from no. 9: Still undefeated, and still trying to convince people that that they’re more than just the third-best OUA team. And even when you beat up Laurentian and York, home court wins against overmatched OUA East foes doesn’t get you much credit. They’ll get a chance to prove their worth as they head to Ottawa to take on the Gee-Gees and Ravens next week. Until then, it’s still tough to say exactly how good this team is.

No. 10 Concordia, previously unranked: Just like last year, the Stingers are the best of the QUBL, which is like saying the Cobb Salad is the best item on the healthy menu at McDonald’s. They’re the best among those they compete with, but you move them somewhere else and their success becomes a little more dubious. They play UQAM for their first two games in January, which should give us a better idea of how good these guys actually are.


No. 7 UBC, down from no. 4: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think this team has the depth to be the force that Thunderbird teams have been over the past few years. In their loss to Lethbridge, they got a grand total of 12 bench points, Nathan Yu was forced to take on a scoring role (not sure what’s more wild: that he took 16 threes, or that he made eight of them) and foul trouble ate them up. The following night in a loss to Calgary, three starters and a key player (Graham Bath, Balraj Bains, Doug Plumb and Tommy Nixon) fouled out, while Yu and Kamar Burke each had four fouls.

UBC’s top talent is good enough to compete for a title, but they’re going to need to find a way to stay on the court, and that starts with getting more out of their bench.

No. 9 UFV, down from no. 8: Two losses to end the semester after a 5-1 start will leave a sour taste in their mouths, especially after shooting 35% in a loss to Alberta. They still need to play UBC and Victoria twice, so they’ll have some work to do in the second semester. If their resurgence is going to continue, more consistent play will be at the top of their wish list this Christmas.


No. 1 Carleton: A win over the GGODs in the Thunderdome is never easy to achieve, and the first team to challenge the Carletons didn’t make it easy. A three-point victory, probably the closest a team will get to beating the Ravens until the playoffs, is the feather in the Ravens’ cap so far this year.

No. 2 St. FX: Is an undefeated season too much to ask? Yes. Their 81-78 win over Dalhousie was their second nail-biter of the year. I’m just not sold on the rest of the AUS, however (maybe UPEI?!). X is clearly better than all the other teams, and for some reason it seems conceivable that they'll beat everyone this year.

No. 3 Lakehead: No shame in the Thunderwolves losing a classic to the best team in the country. From what I hear about this game, it sounds like a thriller. I’d say I wish I was there, but then I’d be wishing to be in Thunder Bay and no one wants that. I am looking forward to what this team does in the second semester, however.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Nathan Yu, UBC: 36 points, six assists, 8/16 3pt

I don’t care that they lost, that he went 2-for-6 on two-point shots, and that it probably played into Lethbridge’s strategy to make him a scorer. Nathan Yu shooting 16 threes is hilarious, and making eight of them is pretty awesome.

Honourable mention to TRU’s Justin King, who is averaging 32.8 points over his last four games, shooting 61%.


1. Carleton
2. St. FX
3. Lakehead
4. Saskatchewan
5. Alberta
6. Victoria
7. Wilfrid Laurier
8. UBC
9. Fraser Valley
10. Concordia

THIS WEEK IN @CHRIS__OLIVER: “Discipline means to learn everything that helps us to the maximum performance.”
A few storylines to follow this week, namely rookie-squad UBC-O finishing with more wins than their UBC cousins in Vancouver, who got shut out on the weekend. Fraser Valley and Trinity Western, both struggling top-tier clubs in the Pacific Division, faced a road trip from hell against Alberta and Saskatchewan, and an unfamiliar face out of Kamloops becomes the nation's scoring leader.


Manitoba 87 @ Winnipeg 70 Not necessarily the marquee game of the week, but Jonar Huertas came off the bench for the Bisons to score 25 in just 26 minutes of play, shooting 9-for-16 in the process. Winnipeg continues to have trouble putting the ball in the basket from the floor, getting outshot 51.5%-30.8%, with only one player, Benny Iko, shooting at more than 50%.


Fraser Valley 95 @ Saskatchewan 104
It took overtime for the Huskies to finally pull away from the Cascades. Jamelle Barrett was back in the lineup, shooting 10-for-18 with a game-high 33 points, while Michael Lieffers dominated inside, collecting 11 defensive boards. This was vintage Saskatchewan, keeping their big threats to the outside and forcing them to shoot a lot from the outside. The problem? Fraser Valley sunk 16 of their 35 shots from beyond the arc, with Sam Freeman leading the way at 5-for-8 (and 29 points to boot).

Victoria 75 @ Calgary 63 Calgary lost the first game of a tough homestand against the ranked BC teams, dominated off the glass 47-27 (earning just 5 offensive rebounds all game) which was enough to propel Victoria to another road win despite some pretty poor shooting. Just 38% of shots went in, but they took 71 shots to the Dinos 48. It was an otherwise quiet night for Ryan MacKinnon, scoring just 15 in 37 minutes, but Victoria somehow managed to get the job done and improve to 7-0.

Trinity Western 77 @ Alberta 87 Daniel Ferguson has been catching fire for the Golden Bears, and he led them in points again Friday with 26, securing a double-digit win for Alberta over the reeling Spartans, who have seen the hardest schedule in the nation so far. Alberta pulled away with an 8-point advantage at halftime and the teams swapped punches in the second half, but Trinity was never able to mount a big run to pull themselves close, despite an impressive nine-rebound, 25-point night from Kyle Coston.

UBC 80 @ Lethbridge 90 A very impressive win by the Pronghorns, dispatching the number four Thunderbirds for their first of [spoiler alert] two losses this weekend. Lethbridge didn't shoot the lights out of the building or control the glass, but they took advantage of the T-Birds limited depth that has been alluded to (and I ignored last week) by outscoring them off the bench 32-12 (earning 11 points from Alex Fletcher).

Regina 76 @ UBC-Okanagan 78 Well, who would have thought that of the two UBC teams, the one to win on Friday would be the team based in Kelowna over Vancouver? Bret MacDonald hit two free throws with 10 seconds left on the clock in the fourth, and Sterling Nostedt missed a three-pointer at the buzzer which would have tied the game (the score was made to look closer thanks to a free thrown on an ensuing loose ball foul) The Heat pick up their first regular season CIS win, thanks to a couple of extra rebounds and a few more trips to the charity stripe (hint: grit!).

Brandon 84 @ Thompson Rivers 91 There was a time when I thought that I could snag Justin King in the MUBL add/drop period, but that may not be the case, as he rocketed off 36 and 35 points this weekend to become the leading scorer in the entire country. Dude is an absolute delight to watch. Akeem Pierre and Chas Kok each got 14 rebounds for the WolfPack, who dominated the Bobcats in that regard. TRU's offense continues to shine.


Fraser Valley 59 @ Alberta 79
You can't really blame the Cascades for this one, a night after going to overtime against Saskatchewan and presumably taking a bus to Edmonton, they just didn't really have their legs and scored just 20 points in the first half. Jordan Baker hit 20 for the Golden Bears. Interestingly, Fraser Valley out-rebounded Alberta 42-27, although earned just six from big-man Jasper Moedt. The loss sends the Cascades to 5-3 into the break which is pretty good considering their tough schedule (and contributes to their No. 7 nationwide RPI ranking).

Victoria 90 @ Lethbridge 59 Perhaps the 'Horns partied a little too hard after stunning UBC, because they came out pretty flat against the Vikes. MacKinnon and Mike Berg caught fire for the Vikes, hitting 13 of their combined 21 shots, while Berg's seven rebounds (five defensive) was the most among starters. Lethrbridge's offense takes a tumble, now just 11th going into the winter break.

UBC 85 @ Calgary 92 Well, that ain't good. Or as Rob wrote in the top 10 post: "That didn't go well" as the Thunderbirds get swept on their two-game Southern Alberta road trip. Tyler Fidler had 25 for the Dinos while Nathan Yu was held to just 8 points, just 2-for-7 from the field in what has to be a season low for shots taken.

Trinity Western 73 @ Saskatchewan 98 The Spartans had to do the Edmonton-to-Saskatoon bus trip after their game in Alberta and obviously didn't stop to chat with Fraser Valley to discuss how to keep the game close against the Huskies. Barrett hit a game-high 23 points, Peter Lomuro had 20, and, behind Trinity's 22 turnovers, Saskatchewan didn't really have a problem dispatching the tired Spartans, hitting the break at just 2-6.

Brandon 81 @ UBC-Okanagan 68 Brandon accomplishes what Regina couldn't, which is pick up a victory over the lone Canada West Pacific squad outside the top 20 in national RPI. Ali Mounir scored 21 for the Bobcats in 23 minutes, while the Heat appeared to have trouble hitting shots. Yassine Ghomari had a game-high 26 points for the home team. Unfortunately for him, he also missed 17 shots from the field (7-for-24), indicative of UBC-O's struggles so far as they hit the break at just 1-5.

Regina 100 @ Thompson Rivers 110 It does feel nice to have a WolfPack team that can shoot the ball, as the WolfPack head into the break with the second best offense in the conference behind just UBC. Regina and TRU both shot pretty well, especially in the fourth quarter, where they combined for 74 points (a 37-37 quarter split). Paul Gareau had 23 points for the Cougars and eight rebounds in 28 minutes of play, but it wasn't enough for Regina as they get swept in their BC interior road trip.
With another week of volleyball in the books, we take a look at the results for the country's top squads boasting 'Y' chromosomes.

Week 6 of the CIS men's volleyball schedule featured a few marquee matchups out West, but failed to provide much in the way of clarity. Manitoba and Alberta split their weekend matches in Winnipeg, while Calgary and UBC did the same in Vancouver. Meanwhile the Trinity Western war machine continued to flex its collective muscle atop the Canada West standings, and Laval dealt out similar damage in interlock play on the opposite end of the country.

Swing of the Week: Regina (3) vs. Brandon (1) - Nov. 25

This week's quickest and most definitive momentum shift comes to us from Canada's most lazily drawn province. On Friday night, the Regina Cougars led their counterparts from Brandon two sets to one, winning the third by an exhausting 42-40 score, but trailed 25-24 in the fourth. The Bobcats were intent on taking the match to a deciding frame, but with outside Ben Glue serving on set point, the Cougars' influential right-side Andrew Nelson decided to take things into his own hands.

Nelson erased the Bobcats' set point with a kill for 25-all, before reeling off two more clean winners to give the Regina outfit an important home win.

The Cougars began that decisive swing with a 65.6% chance of winning the Friday night match, and notched the victory only three points later.

Recapping the Top 10

#1 Trinity Western Spartans (8-0) and #9 UBCO Heat (3-5)

The Spartans offered another frightening demonstration of their power this past weekend, dropping consecutive bagels on the UBCO Heat. I was interested leading into this series to see how the enigma that is the first-year CIS program would match up against the nation's top team. The short answer is: not well. Trinity Western never really had to get out of first gear in either match, winning without having a single player crack the 15-point threshold. Back to the drawing board for the Heat.

#2 Alberta Golden Bears (7-1) and #3 Manitoba Bisons (9-1)

Alberta faced its toughest test of the young season, and they will likely be happy with having come away with two points after a doubleheader on the road in Winnipeg. Manitoba took the first contest on Friday night after losing the first set, enjoying a fairly efficient night from both of the usual suspects on the outside. Chris Voth was the more prolific hitter (17.5 points on 15 of 39 hitting) while Dane Pischke was the more effective (14.5 points on 14 of 29 hitting).

In the rematch a night later, the two teams traded sets throughout and while Mitch Irvine understandably saw the most of the ball, it was fellow outside Taylor Hunt who paced the Golden Bears to victory on Saturday.

Hunt put up a game-high 25.5 points on an impressive 22 of 42 hitting (.381) to lead the Albertan outfit to a critical road win and put an end to Manitoba's unbeaten season.

#4 Laval Rouge et Or (9-0)

Indulging in a weekend of interlock play, the Rouge et Or won three matches over two days at Memorial. Laval convincingly cleaned out all three members of the AUS without really flexing their attacking muscle at any point. Star outside Karl de Grandpre saw very little of the ball, and it was rookie hitter Tommy Belisle who led the way for the Rouge et Or in his stead. Belisle notched 13 points against Dalhousie on Friday, 20 the next morning against the hosts from Memorial, and 17.5 in the final match of the weekend against UNB. The smooth sailing continues for Laval.

#5 UBC Thunderbirds (6-2) and #6 Calgary Dinos (5-5)
Much like the Alberta-Manitoba match up mentioned earlier, the UBC-Calgary series would result in a split, with UBC notching a victory in the Friday opener on home soil before being blanked the next night. The Dinos would outscore their hosts in both contests, but would pay dearly for their errors in the Friday loss. Calgary gave away 16 free points from the service line and 28 on hitting attempts en route to the four set defeat.

Saturday's rematch saw the Dinos clean up their game and enjoy a much-improved performance from leading outside contributor Allen Meek. Meek would tally 17 points over the course of three sets, converting 15 of 34 hitting attempts in the process.

#7 Western Mustangs (8-0)

The Mustangs added yet another notch to their belt with a fairly routine sweep on Saturday against a struggling Waterloo side. Western spread the attacking love, and were highly efficient as a unit, posting a team hitting percentage of .393 in the victory. Sophomore middle Phil James continued his hot start to the season, converting 12 of 13 hitting attempts with a single error. Another sophomore, outside Garrett May added 12 points of his own on 10 of 12 hitting.

#8 Brandon Bobcats (3-7)

Brandon got all that they could handle from the Regina Cougars this past weekend, and came away with two of a possible four points. After dropping the aforementioned opener over the course of four sets, the Bobcats recovered well to drop the Cougars in straight sets on Saturday night. Where Jonathan Sloane led the attack for the Manitobans in a losing effort, it was fellow middle Dan Boutwell producing in the win. While outside Ben Glue had more points (14), it was Boutwell who was the more efficient hitter, converting 8 of 11 attempts and amassing 11 points overall.

#10 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-7)

The one-win Huskies didn't have an opportunity to improve their record this past weekend, as they enjoyed a bye week. Their season gets back underway on Friday night, when the Huskies open a two-game set on the road in Brandon.
It was a comparatively quiet weekend in AUS men’s hockey, as the teams ease into the Christmas exam break with most teams only having one game this week and one left next week. There are exceptions, all in Nova Scotia, as Acadia and StFX played twice and Saint Mary’s will play twice next week. As a result of the unbalanced schedule the Huskies will get both Wednesdays off in the second half, while the Axmen and X-Men each get one Wednesday off. You could consider that a bit of an advantage in the push to the playoffs in the second half as SMU gets to avoid completely the 3-games-in-5-nights test that most of their competitors will be involved in. Twice. Including the last week of the AUS regular season.

Unprecedented comeback keeps V-Reds in 1st place

The biggest CIS sports story of Friday night, well until later on when Laval came soclose to coming back and winning after a 23-0 first half deficit in the Vanier Cup, was UNB scoring THREE shorthanded goals in the third period to tie cross-campus rival St. Thomas, getting the winning goal even strength, and then adding ANOTHER shorthanded goal for insurance, albeit into an empty net. Two of those shorties came from defenceman/rover Jonathan Harty, perhaps showing off for his police constable mother who was on-duty at the game in STU’s barn.

This was a much anticipated game, with many in Fredericton, including both Daily Gleaner sports columnists, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the Tommies might end their 27-game streak of futility against the V-Reds in The Battle of the Hill. For two periods it looked like it might happen, as STU scored twice off practiced plays in the first period and added a power play marker in the second period while being outshot 33-11 in the first 40 minutes. Then came that third period for the ages. You can read all about it here if you like.

There was more good news for UNB. They’ve looked beatable ever since goaltender Travis Fullerton had his emergency appendectomy surgery on November 5. Surprisingly he was in the warm-up Friday night and on the bench for the game. Monday morning the V-Reds announced an early Christmas gift. Geordie Wudrick had committed to UNB over the summer but decided to give pro hockey a try first. After playing the first half season in Germany, the 6’4” sniper will be joining the V-Reds after all for the second half. Now more competition in practice and another forward is going to have to sit in the stands when (if?} veteran Jordan Clendenning returns from his knee injury.

Friday – UNB 5 @ STU 3

Axemen flirted with first place

Coming into the weekend, and sliding under the radar a little bit, Acadia was the hottest team in the AUS with a five-game winning streak and just two points back of UNB. Friday in Antigonish defenceman Chris Owens scored his second goal at 7:09 of overtime for the win against the X-Men. In the rematch in the Axemen’s wide rink on late Sunday afternoon there was no scoring for two periods, and then rookie Nicolas Chouinard scored early in the third on a nice rush.. But then X woke up and scored three straight goals and added an empty netter. Granted Acadia had only four healthy regular defencemen and their fatigue might have been a factor. Next week Acadia hosts SMU, and they will hope for a win and a UNB loss to STU to allow them to go into the break tied for first place.

Friday – Acadia 4 @ StFX 3 OT
Sunday – StFX 4 @ Acadia 1

Les agiles déféquèrent le nid

Saturday Moncton was home and up 3-0 after one period to bitter rival UPEI. I won’t get into it, but there’s history there, and it’s not always pretty. Then power plays kick-started the Panthers offence. UEPI scored two goals in 14 seconds in the second period. They added two goals in 35 seconds in the third period. They added another for good measure. Three goals leads were obviously not safe on the weekend. I should add that UdeM and UPEI each scored a shorty.

Saturday – UPEI 5 @ UdeM 3

Remember the Huskies?

Going into that Acadia-StFX game on Sunday, the top five teams in the AUS were all 7-3 in their last 10 games. SMU was one of them. They got to play last place Dalhousie on Friday night, and surprisingly, needed to come back twice to tie the game and overtime to win it. Not something to brag about.

Friday – SMU 4 @ Dal 3 OT

Be careful with big cats

UPEI are deceptive. It seems like they have tentative slow first periods, but maybe that is just the setup for their second period attack – which is the one they have outscored their AUS opponents. Ask UNB. Now ask UdeM. The Panthers have an incredibly dangerous first line who are very opportunistic and dangerous on transition. Bobble the puck or make those long passes in the neutral zone at your peril when Matt Carter, Jordan Knox and Dana Fraser are on the ice.

Saturday – UPEI 5 @ UdeM 3

Have the X-Men finally woken up?

StFX has lost a lot of one-goal games this season when you discount empty netters. Three times now in OT. They split this past weekend, but came away with three big points in the standings. If they start playing 60 minute games in the second half like that last 20 minutes against Acadia the rest of the conference could get nervous.

Friday – Acadia 4 @ StFX 3 OT
Sunday – StFX 4 @ Acadia 1

St. Thomas gut wrench at Battle of the Hill

Give STU coach Troy Ryan credit. For their first meeting this season his game plan was to utilize practiced stretch passes and defensive zone faceoff counterattacks to catch UNB off balance plus drag out every whistle and line change to thwart any V-Red shift-to-shift momentum. Done, done and done. For two periods. Too much power play time in the third period apparently gave the Tommies too much time to think (dream?) about the potential outcome and they lost sight of the process. Ryan’s own words. For whatever reason, it was an epic collapse at home and now Friday night they skate into the V-Reds rink and try to do it all over again without the advantage of last line-change. I’ll be interested to see what the Ryan playbook is for this game.

Friday – UNB 5 @ STU 3

A glimmer of hope for Dalhousie

Bad news first. The Tigers losing streak is now 11 games. Good news? They pushed Saint Mary’s to overtime and their last two losses have been by one goal. Third-string rookie goaltender Philip Wright has his GAA down to 4:37 and is save percentage at .877, the same save percentage as injured started Bobby Nadeau. Not great, but not terrible.

Friday – SMU 4 @ Dal 3 OT

Looking ahead on Wednesday, StFX is at SMU (so they don’t have to do it second term?). As mentioned, the UNB-STU rematch is Friday night. SMU will close out the half against Acadia on Friday while Moncton and UPEI get back at it on the Island.
Highlights of the week so far for top 10 teams: UBC loses a pair in Alberta, UFV and Saskatchewan go to overtime, Carleton wins a thriller in Thunder Bay.

RPI available here. This post will be updated as results come in.

  1. Carleton (RPI #2, SRS +26.6 entering the weekend): W 98-55 at Guelph (28th, -1.9), W 88-85 at Lakehead (7th, +13.5).

    Looks like one night after an all-time classic at B.C. Place, we missed another in the Thunderdome in the first game between Lakehead and Carleton since the OUA final. (Don't feel so bad: the Ottawa Citizen apparently missed it too.) They scored a combined 56 points in the fourth quarter, with very few missed shots from either side down the stretch. Dave Smart was likely not happy that the 'Wolves got two possessions in the last 10 seconds to tie it with a three, thanks to a five-second violation, but there you go.

    Before this weekend, the Ravens' opponents so far had been held to 33.0% shooting. Against everyone else, those teams have shot a far more respectable 44.6%. Though all this really proves is that the Carletons are better defenders than their OUA East colleagues, something we probably already knew. (The winter term portion of their schedule is going to feature a lot of garbage time.)

    On Friday Guelph continued that trend, shooting 33% themselves in Carleton's 43-point win. The Ravens once again out-rebounded their opponents on the defensive glass alone. Tyson Hinz, Cole Hobin, and Phil Scrubb continued to average around 21 minutes in this one — obviously with a flight to a much tougher opponent in Thunder Bay awaiting them immediately, and an entire season still left to come eventually, there's no need to run them out for 30-35 minutes against the Westerns and Guelphs.

  2. St. F-X (RPI #1, SRS +15.3): W 78-81 vs. Dal (37th, -4.4).

    Please note that in AUS men's basketball, a win over Dalhousie is worth 0 points. (I like that joke so much, I'm leaving it in all weekend.) Terry Thomas led the way: 24 points on 8/19 shooting, and 11 rebounds, four offensive. Like Lakehead/Carleton, this was a one-shot game right until the end, with Dal missing their own three-point attempt at the end following a pair of Ellis French frees that extended the X lead and Jeremy Dunn's jumper that gave it to them for good with less than 30 seconds to go.

  3. Lakehead (RPI #7, SRS +13.5): W 78-72 vs. Ottawa (17th, +7.8), L 85-88 vs. Carleton (2nd, +26.6).

    We had three undefeated teams before last night and with two of them playing each other, we were guaranteed at least one of them would lose; unfortunately for the Great Group of Dudes [Teammates], it was Lakehead. Moral victories: scoring 85 against and out-rebounding the Carletons. Joseph Jones scored 18 and might have more if he didn't miss 12 shots, seven of which were from long range.

    Still not sure what to make of these Gee-Gees. They gave the GGOD[T]s a good run, outshooting if not outboarding or outscoring them. Five Thunderwolves hit double digits in the win. Lakehead found themselves holding off a late Ottawa charge (it was 43-30 at the half and 72-58 with four and a half left in the game), with Warren Ward missing two three-pointers in the last 71 seconds, disappointing himself and his MUBL owner.

    Video highlights:

  4. UBC (RPI #9, SRS +14.2): L 80-90 at Lethbridge (22nd, +2.4), L 85-92 at Calgary (41st, -5.9).

    That didn't go well.

    Wayne Thomas runs down the Dinos' win, giving credit to Tyler Fidler (the game's leading scorer with 25), Josh Wolfram (15 points, 4 rebounds), and Patrick Walker (six boards in 15 minutes off the bench and also "altered several UBC shots through the game").

    As for Friday's game, 36 from Nathan Yu wasn't enough to offset 90 from various Pronghorns. "The story of the game was turnovers," according to Kevin Hanson. Hanson also pointed out that there are a lot of older transfers on this Lethbridge squad, quite a few of whom we will be following this year. This win alone will help the 'Horns greatly in the RPI, as they're already up from 22nd to 8th following Thursday and Friday's results. Of course, it is early.

    By the time March rolls around, we may have forgotten about this weekend. Four total losses isn't a death sentence for a team hoping to make the Final 8 by any means.

  5. Saskatchewan (RPI #5, SRS +13.1): W 104-95 (OT) vs. UFV (14th, +9.7), W 98-73 vs. TWU (8th, -4.3).

    Needed overtime to beat UFV. But they had Jamelle Barrett back to help them beat UFV, and 30 on 10/18 shooting will do that. Michael Lieffers contributed a typical Lieffers night: 16 points, 13 rebounds, a couple of blocks. The next night, it was much less in doubt against the mostly-Kyle Coston-less Spartans, who lost by 25. Coston had two fouls by the five-minute mark, three by the end of the first quarter, and played just 14 minutes total after sitting the entire fourth with Saskatchewan up 74-55. 23 from Barrett and 20 from Peter Lomuro paced the Huskies.

    There was no word, literally, on the reasons for Barrett's absence from the Lethbridge games last week, but Cam solved the mystery. The official word from the U of S's Nicole Betker is that Barrett is day-to-day. (Though, really, aren't we all?)

  6. Victoria (RPI #3, SRS +5.8): W 75-63 at Calgary (41st, -5.9), W 90-59 at Lethbridge (22nd, +2.4).

    Outscored the Dinos 24-7 in the second, and that was enough. Won despite shooting 38% to Calgary's 42% because they grabbed half the offensive rebounds and 25 of the 30 on Calgary's side. Leading the Dinos in rebounds is ... nobody. They officially* do not have a team leader in rebounds. (*Not actually official.) Ryan MacKinnon led the winners with 15, though Tyler Fidler scored 22 and Andrew McGuinness managed 15 of his own on nine shots.

    The Vikes then got their first blowout of the season against Lethbridge, who were down 24 at the half. Will this be enough to put them ahead of UBC in the top 10?

  7. Alberta (RPI #4, SRS +10.1): W 87-77 vs. TWU (8th, -4.3), W 79-57 vs. UFV (14th, +9.7).

    This will be the end of the TWU side in the RPI top 10, one would think. Alberta had a 13-point lead at the half Friday but it wasn't that much of a laugher: if more than three of Trinity's 13 three-pointers drop then we have a different game here. Daniel Ferguson scored 26. Jordan Baker may not mind being considered a careless shooter (5/13 from the field, 6/12 from the line) so long as the big red number on the scoreboard is greater than the other team's big red number.

    And then Alberta dominated UFV. Not much to say about that one, considering it was the Bears' worst shooting performance of the season to date. I will say that in 24 years, I have never thought to verbify in the way the U of A did in this headline, and I can't say I regret it.

  8. UFV (RPI #14, SRS +9.7): L 95-104 (OT) at Saskatchewan (5th, +13.1), L 57-79 at Alberta (4th, +10.1).

    Fraser Valley, or as the Friday night boxscore calls them, "University of Fraise", may not quite be at the level of the top Canada West teams just yet (they let the Huskies shoot nearly 60%), as they'll need to play Alberta close like they did against Saskatchewan. Not winning either game on this road trip makes it hard to keep them up there. Alberta held them to 35% shooting. Against Sasky, Joel Friesen — or is that Fraise-n? — scored 29 as part of a top-heavy lineup the Cascades ran out there.

    And this has to be the worst road trip in CIS, no? You could argue that an eastern or northern Ontario school that has to go south Friday and up to Lakehead Saturday has it worse, but flying to Saskatoon, driving (presumably) to Edmonton, and flying back to B.C.? That's up there. The coach agrees with me.

  9. Laurier (RPI #12, SRS +9.7): W 98-77 vs. Laurentian (32nd, -3.9), W 102-62 vs. York (43rd, -13.2).

    Fun fact: in two of the last three years, the Hawks have played the toughest or second-toughest schedule in all of CIS. They won't get any help in that category this week, though. When a team doesn't schedule any preseason games, you kind of expect them to be 40-something in RPI.

    Laurentian didn't put up much of a fight Friday, down 21 at the half. Kale Harrison once again led the way with 30 points on just 19 shots — if only we could all go 14 for 19 every night. After seeing Laurier top 100 again on Saturday, one wonders if York had communication problems and went to the football stadium instead. (15 for 26 on three-point attempts?) Kyle Enright hit a personal best with 21, also known as a Kaleing.

  10. Windsor (RPI #21, SRS +3.4): W 83-66 at Ryerson (35th, -7.4), L 81-86 at Toronto (24th, +2.8).

    Surprised they're still in the top 10, or as one Windsor newspaper would put it, the 10 top.

    In what seems to be the consistent theme this week, the Lancers won comfortably against Rye, though they didn't stop Jahmal Jones (6/10, 18 points, six assists) the same way Lakehead did last week (4/8, 8, and 0). Not coincidentally, the Rams were much closer in this one, but not really that close at all. Of note in this one for the Lancers, their own Jahmal, Jahmal McQueen, who was the third-leading scorer on both sides despite playing less than one-third of the game. In a very small number of opportunities so far he's Windsor's second-best percentage shooter (48.5%) after Enrico Diloreto.

    Against Toronto, the Lancers had less success, shooting worse than they did vs. Carleton. The five-point loss was a 72-52 deficit after three as they outscored U of T more than 2 to 1 in the garbage-time fourth quarter; Cam will be by soon to explain score effects to whoever wrote this lede. Windsor had just seven players see significant minutes, though. Injuries?

    And now time for This Week In @Chris__Oliver: "Many forms of talent, not just athleticism. Skill is a talent. Decision making is a talent. Toughness is a talent. Energy is a talent."

After a week away from the roundup it's time to catch up on where the teams stand after another interesting weekend around Canada West. Here's our second-to-last roundup of 2011, as teams head into the final weekend of first half regular season action.

Bisons on the right side of the numbers

Number-ten Manitoba reasserted themselves this weekend in the race for top spot in the conference heading into the break with a pair of wins at home over the number-nine ranked Calgary Dinos. After a split the previous weekend, the Herd couldn't be stopped Friday night in an 8-1 victory, with both Del Cowan and Blair Macaulay - who has a conference high 12 goals - finding the back of the net twice. After a 4-2 win Saturday night Manitoba now sits with a conference high 48 goals (tied with Saskatchewan) with the Bisons on pace to score 96 goals this season - 7 more than last season. Head coach Mike Sirant's team is also on pace to give up 62 goals, which would be 19 fewer goals. Add those numbers up and it's little surprise the Herd are on pace for a 40 point season.

Friday - Calgary 1 at Manitoba 8
Saturday - Calgary 2 at Manitoba 4

Saskatchewan handles UBC

The Huskies also took care of business this weekend with a home sweep against a team they've handled consistently over the last several seasons the UBC Thunderbirds. The wins marked number-seven Saskatchewan's 13th victory over UBC in the last 14 regular season meetings between the two teams. The Sled Dogs will wrap up the regular season this weekend against Regina.

Friday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4
Saturday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4

Bears escape with sweep

After a week away from action number-five Alberta used goals from six different players Friday night to earn a 6-1 win over Regina, before a narrow 4-3 OT win on Saturday night thanks to a goal from defenceman Jesse Craige. The wins marked the third consecutive series sweep for the Bears who went a perfect 6-0-0 during the month of November. A trip to Manitoba this weekend will be a good barometer of where this squad is after a relatively easy stretch of games against the conference's bottom three squads.

Friday - Alberta 6 at Regina 1
Saturday - Alberta 4 at Regina 3 (OT)

Butler gets bombarded

If you just glimpsed at the Calgary-Manitoba score you'd think this game wasn't even close, but upon further review it's clear this was simply a 20 minute meltdown. It was 2-1 heading into the third period before Manitoba proceeded to score six goals in the final frame, beating Dinos netminder Dustin Butler those half dozen times on 14 shots. Two of those goals were shorthanded to boot, with a powerplay marker from Manitoba as well. Sounds like Butler was hung out to dry, and Manitoba took advantage.

Friday - Calgary 1 at Manitoba 8
Saturday - Calgary 2 at Manitoba 4

Thunderbirds settling into bottom three

After being swept two of the last three weekends it appears UBC's solid start to the season is coming back to a point where you expect them to give everyone they play a good test, but when it boils down to it they can't run with the big boys. Save for a 2-1 win over Manitoba two weeks ago, the T-Birds haven't been able to find a winning recipe over the last three weeks. A home weekend against Lethbridge this coming Friday-Saturday should remedy that though.

Friday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4
Saturday - UBC 2 at Saskatchewan 4

Goaltending situation in Regina

Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader Post had the rundown about what went on with the Cougars goaltending situation a few weeks ago when he wrote about A.J. Whiffen's departure, and the accompanying search for a new backup goaltender (which led the Cougars oddly enough to a former teammate of mine, Churchbridge, Saskatchewan's Nick Thies who is a U of R student and former senior men's goalie with the Churchbridge Imperials). Interesting tidbit aside, Gore getting the opportunity to play consistently could be the best thing for the Cougars by giving the rookie a real chance to get his feet wet, and get in a rhythm. Whether or not Gore splits the second half games evenly with Andrew Hayes who will be joining the team remains to be seen, but for now having Gore as the number-one is a great opportunity for him and the team.

Friday - Alberta 6 at Regina 1
Saturday - Alberta 4 at Regina 3 (OT)

Evan Daum is The CIS Blog's national hockey editor. Contact him at evandaum@gmail.com
They're not even going to bother playing the Grey Cup now.

If you watched last night's 41-38 overtime win by McMaster all the way to the end, you don't need me to tell you what it was like. If you didn't, I can't even describe it. Thankfully others can do that.

Stray thoughts:

  • It's a good thing we waited until after the Vanier to run the quarterback rankings for this year; 36 for 55 and 482 yards will certainly help Kyle Quinlan's case.

  • Our somewhat-maligned football RPI had McMaster at No. 1 over Laval before the game. Just sayin'.

  • The word "diminutive" has not been used in reference to a player in Canadian football this much since Doug Flutie was around.

  • If you wanted to kick a team while they were down, you might point out that Laval punted on 3rd and 2 from their own 33 and kicked a field goal on 3rd and goal from the 11 — two decisions that, together, led to about a point being left off the scoreboard.
Our Andrew Bucholtz and Brian Decker are on the scene in Vancouver for the 2011 Vanier Cup tonight (9 p.m. ET) between the McMaster Marauders and Laval Rouge et Or, so why not join us during the game for a live blog? We'll be running it jointly with Andrew's colleagues at 55-Yard Line, but you can also tune in right here.

Andrew's preview can be found here and at Yahoo!, and Brian has put together some reading material as well.

It’s the biggest day of the year for CIS football, and by the end of the night we’ll either have a new leader in all-time Vanier Cup wins or a school taking home the national championship for the first time ever. To get you primed for the big game, here’s all the required reading on tonight’s Vanier Cup matchup between the Laval Rouge-et-Or and the McMaster Marauders. We'll be live-blogging it here in conjunction with 55-Yard Line, so swing by at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Friday night for that!

- In hopes of extending his football career into the CFL, McMaster star linebacker Ryan Chmielewski made the move this season to the weakside position, away from the middle, where he’s been a perennial All-Star. Not only did it land him OUA Defensive Player of the Year honours, it helped his team – rookie linebacker Aram Eisho has been a revelation after taking over his old job. The Spec’s Larry Moko has the details on the last game of ‘Chummer’s’s CIS career.

- Here’s a good rundown on Laval’s vaunted model of sponsorship and administrative independence. I don’t think too many people around Mac feel bad for the football team having a quarter of Laval's budget, though. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard a varsity athlete complain about the football players getting free leukotape…

- More Spec: Scott Radley has the story on how one ill-fated interception ruined a great shot for Mac to win its only Vanier Cup in 1967. If someone throws a pick in this situation today, it might break Twitter.

- Radley again, this time with the story of how Vern Lucyk, Mac’s star running back in their 1967 Vanier Cup appearance, left that game at halftime to get married. Again, Twitter would explode.

- One more time from the Spec, as Moko talks about the impact rookie running back Chris Pezzetta has made in the second half of the season. Awful headline pun alert.

- Did Mac coach Stef Ptaszek jinx his team? If an Ontario team wins the Vanier every four years to show parity, things might not be on his team’s side tonight.

- Can Sebastian Levesque learn to become versatile enough to earn a CFL shot? He’s going to find out this spring as he hopes to get drafted and keep playing football.

- McMaster defensive back Allan Dicks will be the only British Columbian taking the field at BC Place tonight. He might be the smallest guy in the game, but he did have arguably the two biggest open field hits in the OUA this season.

- In case you’ve been living under a rock, Kyle Quinlan was suspended for three games for an incident at a campus bar, after which charges were laid against him for assaulting a police officer. CHCH has the story on how it hasn’t derailed his season. Also, get ready to hear this story approximately 400 times.

- Shameless self promotion: There are a few relevant tidbits in this article I wrote for the McMaster Silhouette and the CUP wire.
Somewhat paradoxically, it may be easier to sell casual or new CIS fans on Friday's Vanier Cup (9 p.m. Eastern, TSN) than those who have been following the Canadian university game for a long while. For new fans, there's plenty of ways to set this one up: Ontario versus Quebec, McMaster's passing attack against Laval's dominant defence, the Rouge et Or's strong ground game against the Marauders' line, et cetera, but for long-time fans, this may look like another potential Laval blowout along the lines of last year's 29-2 snoozer over Calgary. The Marauders themselves are confident, but not everyone's thrilled about their chances.

The Rouge et Or have been incredibly good for the last decade and a bit, winning all six Vanier Cups they've been to (and the first one only came in 1999) and generally dominating their conference, the playoffs and the polls. Meanwhile, the Marauders are the new blood on the scene, thanks to knocking off previous power Western in the Yates Cup and then beating Acadia in the Uteck Bowl. They've only even made the Vanier Cup once before, and that was way back in 1967. History certainly isn't on their side.

You never know what will happen in Canadian football, though, and the Marauders do have several things going for them. For one thing, Kyle Quinlan remains one of Canadian university football's top quarterbacks despite his legal problems and suspension earlier this year, and when he's on his game, he can lead a very dangerous passing attack. If he can connect on a few long bombs at the right moments, the Marauders could make things very difficult for Laval. The Rouge et Or aren't perfect, either; they have an amazing ground game with Sebastien Levesque and an impressive defence, but quarterback Bruno Prud'homme has been more decent than spectacular so far this year. If the Marauders can get off to a quick start, Laval may not have an easy time coming back. It's certainly a David and Goliath matchup, but the little guy did come out on top in the original, so don't write this one off yet.

Tune in to The CIS Blog and 55-Yard Line for a joint live blog of the Vanier Cup Friday at 9 p.m. Eastern!
Very little changed in the national Top 10 this week, but we'll look at where the change did occur and tee-up the sixth week of CIS men's volleyball.

The Calgary Dinos are unsurprisingly the chief victims of this week's revisions to the national Top 10, having endured another lackluster weekend and remained at .500 on the year. The beneficiaries are Laval and UBC, who each edge forward a spot at Calgary's expense.

The Top 10 can be found here, while the RPI is here

Moving Down

#6 Calgary Dinos (4-4) (13th in RPI) - previous #4

The Dinos' inconsistent start to the 2011-12 season continued this past weekend against the Brandon Bobcats, and the most recent iteration of the CIS Top 10 made note of those struggles. Dropping the second of their matches against the Bobcats on Saturday, Calgary returned to .500 and served up another painful reminder that they remain light years away from the pace set by Canada West's top squads. Most worrying is the reduced production of reigning CIS MVP Graham Vigrass, and the flat out failure of outside Allen Meek to make the most of his new found offensive reps.

On the Ups

#4 Laval Rouge et Or (6-0) (5th in RPI) - previous #5

The Quebecois kingpins reap the benefits of Calgary's Saturday slip-up and nudge up a place in the rankings after suitably stomping the Montreal Carabins on the road. It's been business as usual for the Rouge et Or thus far in 2011, and it's tough to see where any real challenge lies for Laval.

#5 UBC Thunderbirds (5-1) (7th in RPI) - previously #6

Much like the Rouge et Or, the Thunderbirds ascend the rankings this week at the expense of the Dinos. UBC notched consecutive four-set wins against the Saskatchewan Huskies, and showed off some offensive balance in the process. With a lauded rookie class in hand, the Thunderbirds have given significant playing time to first-years such as setter Milan Nikic and have not suffered as a result. The future looks bright on the west coast.

One to Watch

#5 UBC Thunderbirds vs. #6 Calgary Dinos - Nov. 25 and Nov. 26

This series should be a perfect mid-season indication of just how far the Dinos have fallen from their division-leading form of a year ago. I believe that the rankings accurately portray two squads that are playing at very similar levels, and these two matches should each be extended and hard-fought affairs. Personally, my money lies with the Thunderbirds, who will benefit from home court advantage, and appear much more settled at this stage than their Albertan rivals.

The Entirely Unofficial Caldwellian Rankings (CR)

1) Trinity Western - The Spartans just keep rolling and there's no real reason to suspect that roll to stop any time soon. UBCO will pose an interesting challenge this weekend but should ultimately be overwhelmed by the T-dub machine.

2) Manitoba - The Bisons have the best record in Canada West and have been playing a balanced brand of volleyball that should stand them in good stead against the division's toughest teams. One such squad is on the immediate horizon in Alberta.

3) Alberta - The Golden Bears have yet to break, but they have bent. Whether Alberta can remain unbeaten in the absence of Jay Olmstead and with the Bisons upcoming remains to be seen. Mitch Irvine may have a little too much to do this weekend.

4) UBC - The Thunderbirds are a team in transition that is hardly playing like it. Players young and old are chipping in and UBC looks like a legitimate gatekeeper in Canada West. Games against Calgary this weekend will determine their viability in that role.

5) Laval - What is there really to say about Laval? The winning continues in the sea of minnows that is the RSEQ-AUS crossover zone. The real test as usual will have to wait for March. Meanwhile Karl de Grandpre will continue to eat Quebecois blockers for breakfast.

6) Western - The Mustangs emerged as the most battle-ready outfit in Ontario this season, as they did last year. The steady play has vaulted them above provincial rivals and may well keep them there.

7) Calgary - Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Dinos look like a shadow of the team that set the pace in Canada West last year, but fortunately for them, that shadow is still exceptionally dangerous. Vigrass and Meek must be better, while Levi Nutma has shown flashes of brilliance. But how many more losses can the Dinos endure?

8) UBC Okanagan - The great unknown in the CIS is enjoying its first year of university-level play this season. I will be having a close look at their match ups with Trinity Western this weekend, but thus far, the results speak for themselves for UBCO.

9) Thompson Rivers - How Brandon and Saskatchewan garner rankings while the similarly 1-7 Wolfpack do not is a bit of a head-scratcher. TRU's young lineup has suffered from an exceedingly tough early schedule, but nonetheless managed a sweep against the Dinos in their opening weekend. Winnipeg provides the ideal opportunity for a bounce-back.

10) McMaster - The Marauders are banged up and playing inexperienced hitters an awful lot, but the talent is obvious amongst the blemishes. A stirring five-set win at Queen's will have done wonders for the Maroon and Grey's collective confidence.
From the University of Waterloo, released this afternoon:

After five years of coaching the Warrior Football program at the University of Waterloo, Head Coach Dennis McPhee has resigned from his coaching position and will be leaving the University.

“We wish Coach McPhee the best with his future endeavours and thank him for his contributions to the Warrior Football program,” said Bob Copeland, University of Waterloo Athletics Director.

Copeland said the change in leadership comes at a time when the Department of Athletics program is evolving according to a strategic direction built around core values and goals that best position the school for success in interuniversity sports.

Continuity for the football team will be provided by a strong line-up of assistant coaches including Assistant Head Coach Joe Paopao, longstanding Assistant Coach Marshall Bingeman, and Assistant Coach Kani Kauahi, all of whom will be on the sidelines guiding the Warriors through the 2012 season.

McPhee's reasons for leaving aren't given. Copeland's quoted in The Record as part of this passage:

McPhee, a fiery competitor with a temper to match, is thought to have left the school because of an impasse with UW’s senior administration on how the team can vie in an increasingly competitive Ontario University Athletics conference.

UW’s athletic director Bob Copeland confirmed McPhee’s choice followed lengthy discussions with senior management.

“His decision was definitely tied into the department’s and team’s year-end review. Whenever you conduct a review, it is a time for reflection and Dennis had the opportunity (to do that).

“He’s made his decision because it’s the best course of action for himself and his family and the program.”

(Wait, "increasingly competitive"? There's a whole post to be written on that word choice, but let's stick to the topic at hand.)

I don't know what will happen to Waterloo football any more than you do. I probably know less. But wording like "a strategic direction built around core values and goals that best position the school for success in interuniversity sports" does not usually mean "hey, let's take money from other teams and give it to the winless one that brought us so much bad publicity."

Even before last year's troubles, the Warriors weren't serious contenders. And Waterloo, at least in the 2009-10 academic year, was one of the least successful among all schools offering all the major sports, not just bad at football. I'm glad the school is talking, somewhat, about the future of the program — not as an alumnus (a non-donating alumnus, at that), but as a follower of CIS who would, frankly, like to have fewer irrelevant games.

Some of us, including myself, were incorrect to say Waterloo wouldn't play football again after last year. (Though, if you wanted to be cruel, you could say we haven't been proven wrong yet.) But maybe the story's changed now. It's unfortunate if current and future players lose those roster spots, but, really, it's hard to argue that axing football would be the wrong move.
If you have to check out Brian's Top 10 tracker on the week in men's basketball, you can find it here. Saskatchewan, UFV and Victoria all went up spots in the rankings while Alberta dropped after a 1-1 split in Winnipeg and UBC held the number four position despite being ninth in RPI, fifth in Canada West. It's also surprising that they didn't move up and that the voters weren't swayed by a couple of blowout victories against last season's CIS semi-final opponent in Trinity, although that team has yet to get their legs out from under them so far. According to team record, however. Not RPI.


Brian noted in the Top 10 post that the local scribes failed to document exactly why Jamelle Barrett was out of the Huskies lineup. A brief stay on Barrett's Twitter feed solved the mystery for us. Apparently Barrett may require surgery on a broken hand. As for why he was struggling, he admitted via Twitter that he's missed seven games with a knee problem.

TWU 75 @ UBC 104 | TWU 70 @ UBC 103

Not really much competition here. RPI doesn't really include Pythagorean Expectation, but UBC has convincingly blown out every opponent they've faced so far. They still have yet to see a starter play over 32 minutes and points have been coming from everywhere, so while Brian may have an issue with their depth I don't really see it. They've counted on their bench to come in for mop-up duty and the janitors have always cleaned up. On Thursday, the Thunderbirds showed off some rebounding ability, winning that 45-20, grabbing 15/30 boards off of Trinity's defensive glass. 17 of those came from Kamar Burke (6 on offense) and he also chipped in offensively going 6-for-11 with 15 points, second to just Doug Plumb. Trinity got 19 points from Kyle Cotson and 15 points and 6 assists from Tristan Smith in just 29 minutes, so, there's that at least.

On Saturday, Trinity fought a little harder around the glass and grabbed a lot more defensive boards, but they couldn't shoot worth a lick, going just 41.9% up against UBC's 59.7%. Cotson went 0-for-6, Smith 2-for-7 and Calvin Westbrook 1-for-6. Less Sean Peter, who had 21 points, the starters shot just 19.2% for Trinity. Kamar Burke picked up 13 boards again while Nathan Yu had another strong Saturday night with 21. Off the bench, Tommy Nixon, whose name has popped up a bunch, went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and had 29 points in 43 minutes of play on the weekend.

UofA 70 @ Winnipeg 71 | UofA 84 @ Winnipeg 56

You always like to think that when a team gets upset it comes from a game-winning shot, but, not really the case in this one. It came down to a missed free throw by Matthew Cardoza. A layup from Brayden Duff gave the Wesmen a 2-point lead (70-68) with :22 remaining in the fourth quarter. The teams would trade foul shots in a :22 second-span that probably lasted about three minutes and Winnipeg held on for the win after Duff's foul sent Cardoza to the line after an offensive board. You can't really blame him for the win, as Alberta didn't shoot all that well compared to what they can do. They were held to 41.9% (though Winnipeg somehow won with 31.9%). Cardoza also missed three other FTs in this one, which was crucial, because both teams were sent to the line a lot. Anyway, this is just one of those losses...

...that usually result in the team pulverizing their opponent the next night. Winnipeg's poor shooting finally caught up with them and Alberta had better rebounding, and, also, better shooting, particularly from Jordan Baker, who went 11-for-15 for 30 points and added 13 rebounds for the double-double. This game was over well early in the second half, with Alberta holding the Wesmen to 9 points in the 4th. Baker, Daniel Ferguson and Lyndon Taylor all played significant minutes in the quarter, with Golden Bears coach Greg Francis refusing to take his foot off the gas.

Lethbridge 67 @ UofS 83 | Lethbridge 65 @ UofS 74

Lethbridge's offense was held in check this weekend and even without Jamelle Barrett and Nolan Brudehl in the lineup. Barrett has not been himself in the previous two weeks, so he's probably nursing some sort of injury. Brudehl went down 1:04 in to the Friday game and didn't return on the weekend. Our crack news department will try and sort out the issue as quick as we can, taking into account the fact that we don't really know anybody in Saskatoon. The Huskies have been putting up points without Barrett, however, on Friday they got 18 from Michael Lieffers and 16 from Evan Ostertag off the bench, running up the score late after the Pronghorns were leading 41-32 at the half. They shut down Dominyc Coward after that, holding him to 2-for-7 shooting in the second half. Despite the losing effort, Daryl Cooper had an impressive stat line, going 7-for-9 with 25 points (9 FTs made) three assists an seven steals.

Saturday night was more of the same. Lethbridge was shut down and couldn't get much going in the second half except in garbage time, when they opened up the floor for Saskatchewan too. They shot just 31.9%, down from 33.3%, once again going for volume over quality (which sometimes isn't a bad move). Coward was a little better, hitting 18 in 29 minutes of play. Jones and Lieffers, the usual crowd for the Huskies, combined for 39 points and Lieffers got a dozen rebounds, plus an extra from the baker for being such a good customer.

TRU 75 @ UVic 77 | TRU 76 @ UVic 84

A pair of close victories for the Vikes, who move up to a perfect 6-0. They earned a scare Friday but Zac #@$*ing Andrus hit a jumper with the buzzer going to defeat the WolfPack, who are now less of a juggernaut after a strong early season. The game winner accounted for Andrus' 15th and 16th points on the night, while Ryan MacKinnon was otherwise slowed with "just" 18 points in 35 minutes. As for TRU, Justin King ho-hum put in another 35 and has become the conference's leading scorer, which I guess is something to print up in the local Omega newspaper.

On Saturday, it was close, but Victoria still pulled ahead as, for the second time on the season, a late bucket by the WolfPack kept the score within single digits. MacKinnon hit 22, Mike Berg had 16 points and 7 boards and Vic sort of pulled away in the third quarter after a 43-38 halftime lead.

UBC-O 52 @ UFV 74 | UBC-O 63 @ UFV 108

Again, the rookie franchise has a little bit to learn, as the Villains of the Valley crush the Victims of the other BC Valley on consecutive nights. Sam Freeman was back this weekend with 8 on Friday and 14 on Saturday in 36 minutes of play. The big-man Jasper Moedt had a double-double on Friday but was held to just 5 rebounds on Saturday, probably having something to do with the fact he only played 22 minutes, partly because the Cascades hit 64.4% of their shots so offensive rebounds were unavailable. Not a single UFV starter was below 50%, showing off where the Heat stand in shooting defense against a big team like UFV.

UFV travel to Saskatoon on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday, so this will be a fun upcoming weekend for them.

Other scores and Key Performances...


Calgary 74 @ Regina 83 Regina get their first win of the season on a terrific first half performance from Paul Gareau. He tied for the team-high with 20 points but played just 21 minutes, also recording 4 steals and 3 offensive rebounds.

Manitoba 94 @ Brandon 74 Manitoba win for their first time since their first week upset over Alberta on a 9-for-14 shooting, 25-point performance from Kurtis Sangespreet. Chipping in with 16 points and 9 boards was Keith Omoreah.


Calgary 91 @ Regina 93 And Regina win again, giving Saskatchewan teams a perfect 4-0 record on the week. Sterling Noestedt was just 5-for-20, but hit the big layup with :10 left in the second OT, probably upstaging Keenan Milburn's 27 points in 46 minutes of play.

Manitoba 91 @ Brandon 98 Brandon earn the split against their provincial rival, securing 28 points off 9-for-13 shooting from Ilarion Bonhomme.
With the Christmas break nearly upon us, we break down the results of the fifth week of CIS men's volleyball.

This past weekend saw very little in the way of surprises, as most of the premier squads in the nation met expectations and dispatched lesser teams. The glaring exception to that generalization was provided by the Brandon Bobcats, who dealt a four-set defeat to the Calgary Dinos on Nov. 19.

The Swing of the Week: Windsor (2) vs. Western (3) - Nov. 18

This week we debut a feature that combines the long-winded narrative talents of yours truly with the mathematical wizardry of this blog's benevolent dictator Rob Pettapiece. For every week-ending edition of this column, we will pinpoint the most influential passage of play in a selected CIS match and explain how one team effectively swung momentum in their favour.

For this inaugural edition, we visit Windsor, where the Lancers were locked in a five-set struggle with the OUA-leading Western Mustangs on Nov. 18. Having traded sets throughout the Friday contest, the two teams were tied at 11 in the deciding frame when the Mustangs made a decisive breakthrough.

The catalyst for Western's streak would be middle Matt Waite, who powered his squad into the lead with a kill before blocking Windsor's Jimmy El-Turk to move the Mustangs to within two points of victory at 13-11. The Lancers called a timeout to regroup, but would only see the gap widen when Alan Screaton added a kill of his own. Fittingly, it would be Waite and Screaton to provide the winning combo block at 14-11 and complete a vital last-ditch push for Western. With the late momentum shift, the Mustangs maintained their perfect start to the season, and dealt a heartbreaking loss to their regional rivals.

Overall, it was a swing of 50 percentage points of win probability, as Western went from being a 50-50 shot to win at 11-11, to winning it all four points later.

Recapping the Top-Ten

#1 Trinity Western Spartans (6-0)

TWU continued its unblemished start to the 2011-12 season with two more fairly routine wins against the Regina Cougars at home in Langley (3-0, 3-1). Particularly impressive was the performance of third-year middle blocker Lucas van Berkel in the first match on Nov. 18. Usually noted for his defensive prowess, van Berkel led his team on the score sheet with 10.5 points and hit for a super-efficient .625 hitting percentage (6 of 8 with an error).

#2 Alberta Golden Bears (6-0)

Alberta kept pace with the Bisons and Spartans atop the Canada West standings by notching consecutive wins at home against Winnipeg (3-1, 3-0). In the absence of influential left-side Jay Olmstead, who was injured a week ago, right-side Mitch Irvine exploded offensively over the course of the weekend. Irvine followed up a 29-point effort on Nov. 18 with 18.5 the next night, as he enjoys the greatest share of the distribution on offence.

#3 Manitoba Bisons (8-0)

The Bisons continue to set the bar in Canada West, and they proved their quality once again this past weekend with two wins against the always-dangerous Thompson Rivers Wolfpack (3-2, 3-1). Manitoba's outside hitting duo of Dane Pischke and Chris Voth took turns leading the charge over the two-game set. In the five-set triumph on Nov. 18, it was the former doing the damage, with 19.5 points on 16 of 38 hitting (.342). The next night, Voth carried the offensive burden and notched 22 points, going 19 of 40 hitting in the process (.350).

#4 Calgary Dinos (4-4)

The Calgary Dinos continue to struggle against the tougher outfits in their conference, and remained a .500 squad after splitting their weekend matches at home against the Brandon Bobcats (3-1, 1-3). Left-side Levi Nutma was hugely influential in Calgary's Friday night win, connecting with 16 of his 22 attempts for a ridiculous hitting percentage of .727. However, in the Saturday rematch, Nutma was held to just .080 while his outside partner Allen Meek went into negative figures with 8 errors and only 7 kills on 24 attempts.

#5 Laval Rouge et Or (6-0)

The Rouge et Or remain unbeaten in Quebec since the last Ice Age, after dealing a straight-set beatdown to the Montreal Carabins on the road. Karl de Grandpre once again put up dominating numbers (this is not a recording), notching a game-high 9 points on 7 of 15 hitting (.400).

#6 UBC Thunderbirds (5-1)

UBC kept itself within striking distance of Canada West's big guns after notching two consecutive victories against Saskatchewan (3-1, 3-1). In the Nov. 18 weekend opener, sophomore outside David Zeyha paced the Thunderbirds' attack with 23.5 points, converting 21 of 35 attempts in the process. The next night, UBC's veterans took over, with fifth-year outside Robert Bennett notching a game-high 17 points.

#7 Western Mustangs (7-0)

The perfect season was very nearly ruined for the Mustangs, as they narrowly eked out a five-set win in the titanic match mentioned earlier against Windsor. Middle Matt Waite poured in a game-high of 21 points on 16 of 24 hitting and 6 combined blocks (2 solo, 4 assists) in the Friday night contest.

#8 Brandon Bobcats (2-6)

The Bobcats grabbed their second win of the season by claiming the high-profile scalp of the Calgary Dinos on Saturday night. Middle hitter Jonathan Sloane shouldered the offensive load for Brandon in the victory, connecting on 17 of his 29 hitting attempts (.483) and tallying a game-high of 21.5 points.

#9 UBC Okanagan (3-3)

No news on the Heat front this week, as the UBCO outfit enjoyed a bye this past weekend.

#10 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-7)

Two more losses wracked up for the Huskies this past weekend at the hands of UBC, and that will likely spell the end of their short and inconspicuous time in the CIS Top-Ten. The Huskies have threatened to do damage this year (just ask the Golden Bears), but have failed to see the results thus far.
The AUS men’s hockey standings sure tightened up at the top end, with UNB out of first place for the first time in a long time (albeit just for two days). Moncton is pushing hard, and has the same number of wins as UNB. The Axemen are close on the heels of les Aigles Bleus, and Saint Mary’s and UPEI aren’t far behind. However SMU has played one more game than other top five teams. As always, or so it seems this season, goaltending is all important.

UNB salvages weekend

While the V-Reds had starter Dan LaCosta back between the pipes for the weekend, they had to dress one of their student trainers, Taylor Johnson, as the backup goalie Friday night. Johnson becomes the sixth goaltender to dress for UNB this season, and he last played competitive hockey at the midget level. Third-string goalie Matt Davis was back on the bench Saturday while UNB’s regular goalie, two-time CIS champ Travis Fullerton, is expected back after Christmas as he recovers from that emergency appendectomy from a couple of weeks ago.

LaCosta played fine this weekend, even though UNB lost to the opportunistic Panthers on the Island Friday, blowing an early lead. Granted the V-Reds received what appeared to be a disproportionate amount of chintzy penalties in the game with two refs on the ice, but when I look at UNB’s two losses to UPEI this season I feel that the V-Reds players have perhaps not respected the offensive skills of their opponent as much as they should. The loss, and the Moncton win, put UdeM temporarily ahead of UNB in the standings. That was until Sunday afternoon, when les Aigles Bleus and the V-Reds faced off in a battle for first place. After a somewhat tentative first period, UNB put the hammer down midway through the period and it was only Moncton goalie P-A Marion that kept them in the game. UNB didn’t solve him until their 41st shot in the third period, and after that the struggling V-Reds power play finally came through with a big goal for the winner.

Friday – UNB 2 @ UPEI 3
Sunday – UdeM 1 @ UNB 2

Moncton flirts with first place

Les Aigles Bleus are still missing some key forwards. Christian Gaudet is still out with concussion symptoms from that head shot from STU’s Chris Van Laren on November 5. The play is now up on YouTube. Van Laren’s high hit looks pretty blatant and deserved of the match penalty, while the retaliatory two-handed slash by Alex Quesnel looks less deserving of his match penalty. Both players got automatic four games for the match penalties. Moncton protested and Van Laren’s suspension was increased to six games, including the interesting sidebar that he cannot burn any of the suspension games by sitting out STU exhibition games over the holidays. In the Moncton paper UdeM coach Serge Bourgeois is looking for even MORE games against Van Laren. I dunno, six is pretty severe for the AUS.

Moncton’s rematch against STU on Friday didn’t turn into a gong show, which is good. They came back from a two-goal first period deficit and managed to score a late goal and get the win. As mentioned above, Sunday afternoon didn’t go as well, although goaltender Marion did his very best to steal a win, with the help of his teammates who for the most part did a good job of minimizing good second shot chances for the V-Reds. Still, they were outshot 44-16 and dominated territorially.

Friday – UdeM 3 @ STU 2
Sunday – UdeM 1 @ UNB 2

Acadia gains ground

The Axemen had the best weekend of the top-three teams, gaining on both UNB and UdeM ahead of them. They beat the two Halifax teams by the same score. Granted winning against Dal this season is unfortunately no big deal, but the Huskies are looking more like their old selves. The Acadia special teams killed off all 13 penalties on the weekend while their power play was 2-for-11.

Friday – Acadia 4 @ Dal 2
Saturday – Acadia 4 @ SMU 2

Huskies showing improvement

Veteran goalie Neil Conway hasn’t been having his best season so far, but he played well against StFX on Friday, and his teammates gave him three straight goals in the second period to take the pressure off. Conway didn’t have as good a night or get as much support the next night against Acadia.

Friday – SMU 5 @ StFX 1
Saturday – Acadia 4 @ SMU 2

UPEI finally gaining ground

Don’t look now, but the Panthers are showing some consistency and have a three-game winning streak. After the fine play of rookie goalie Mavric Parks helped slay the Red ‘n Black dragon for the second time Friday, the Panthers gave veteran Jhase Sniderman a rare start Saturday and he managed to get the win against the Tommies.

Friday – UNB 2 @ UPEI 3
Saturday – STU 3 @ UPEI 6

X-Men still in hangover mode? Still?

Can’t be fun for coach Brad Peddle to watch his team, and particularly his goaltending, struggle this season. After that thumping by SMU, StFX was handed the gift of Dal, who consistently serve as the solution to everyone’s losing streaks this season. Rookie Morgan Clark took the loss to the Huskies, and Joey Perricone got the start, and win, against Dal. Perricone was the team MVP last season, and carried the X-Men all the way to Nationals, yet that win on Saturday was only his second of the season thus far. Not very MVP-like to say the least.

Friday – SMU 5 @ StFX 1
Saturday – Dal 3 @ StFX 5

Harsh reality for Tommies: AUS is tough.

Friday night STU blew a two-goal lead, but were still 83 seconds from at least earning a point when Moncton sniper Marc-Andre Cote scored. Saturday in Charlottetown, Island native Randy Cameron (and one-time UPEI recruit) scored a natural hat-trick but it wasn’t enough compared to the Panthers more balanced attack.

Friday – UdeM 3 @ STU 2
Saturday – STU 3 @ UPEI 6

Nightmare won’t end for Tigers

The losing streak is now up to ten games. Dal gets off to decent starts, but so far this season they’ve been outscored a combined 50-16 in the second and third periods of games. Shots wise, they don’t look so bad, averaging 27.4 shots per game compared to their opponents’ 33.5. The third-string goalie, rookie Philip Wright, took both losses on the weekend and Bobby Nadeau is still out. I don’t see events getting any better for the Tigers until one of their goalies can start making some big saves, especially in the latter half of games.

Friday – Acadia 4 @ Dal 2
Saturday – Dal 3 @ StFX 5

The first half is winding down. UNB finally gets to play cross-campus rival STU on Friday, while SMU is at Dal and Acadia is at X. On Saturday there is one game – UPEI at Moncton. On Sunday StFX is at Acadia.
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