- McGill (20-4-2, +0.9 SRS, RPI #2) — W 7-3 at UQTR, L 4-2 vs. Concordia, W 4-3 vs. Carleton
After their most dominant performance of the season on Tuesday, shellacking Trois-Rivières 7-3 at Le Colisée, the Redmen were mediocre in weekend games against Concordia and Carleton. Allowing the Ravens and Stingers to go a combined 5-for-12 on the power-play was embarrassing, as was being out shot 14-4 by Carleton in the third period of Saturday’s game. Nevertheless, beating the Ravens in regulation, something McGill hadn't done in their last four meetings (three losses and a shootout win), cleared a significant psychological hurdle.
Having had a chance to watch both McGill weekend games in person, I'm convinced defenceman Marc-André Dorion should be a finalist for CIS Player of the Year. Through 26 games he sits seventh in the CIS with 36 points, has only four penalty minutes, and can handle tough defensive minutes. The L.A. Kings and the Tampa Bay Lightning each sent a scout to McGill games over the last two weeks, and one has to assume they were there to watch Dorion.
- UNB (17-6-2, +1.9 SRS, RPI #7) — W 3-2 at Acadia, L 3-2 (SO) at Dalhousie
The V-Reds dominated Dal on Sunday, outshooting the Tigers 39-17, but Wendell Vye had a career game to hand UNB a shootout loss (or as Rob likes to call it, a tie). It took 16 shooters in the skills competition to finally give Travis Fullerton his first (qualified) loss of the season in his tenth start.
Friday night was much kinder to the Reds, as Chris Culligan scored on UNB’s first shot of the game, and UNB managed to squeak out a 3-2 victory over the ninth-ranked Axemen.
- Western (21-2-3, +1.4 SRS, RPI #1) — W 5-1 vs. Waterloo, W 7-4 vs. Lakehead
Is this the week that voters finally reward Western with a number-one ranking? Wins over the second and third place teams in the OUA West, coupled with middling results over the last few weeks for UNB and McGill, just might do it for the Mustangs. Granted, voters may continue to penalize Western for the OUA West’s overall weakness, but they’re now number one in RPI for the first time I can remember.
If they do get the top spot, Josh Unice deserves to have his name prefaced with all the laudatory adjectives one can think of. He’s allowed only 5 goals on the last 142 shots that he’s faced (.965 SV%).
- Moncton (16-8-1, +1.5 SRS, RPI #19) — L 4-3 (OT) vs. StFX, L 3-2 vs. Saint Mary's
Tough weekend for Moncton. They give up a shorthanded game-winner in overtime to StFX’s Brennen Wray on Friday night, and then get out shot 41-28 in a loss to Saint Mary’s on Saturday. That’s going to sting if they end up starting the playoffs on the road in two weeks' time.
- Alberta (16-6-2, +0.5 SRS, RPI #4)
- Saskatchewan (15-6-3, +0.0 SRS, RPI #17) — L 3-2 (OT) vs. Calgary, L 3-0 vs. Calgary
After being swept by Manitoba prior to their bye week, the Huskies have now lost four-straight games, the last two dropping them 10 spots in the RPI rankings. Calgary has had their number this year — going a perfect 4-0 against Saskatchewan — largely thanks to Dustin Butler, who stopped 55 of the 57 shots fired his way this weekend.
- Manitoba (17-5-2, +0.6 SRS, RPI #3) — W 3-2 (OT) vs. UBC, W 5-3 vs. UBC
Well, that was a lot harder than it should have been.
In consecutive games the Bisons spotted the Thunderbirds a lead and then clawed their way back to win. UBC was up 2-0 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday, and led heading into the third period both nights, before Manitoba went into dramatic-comeback mode. Blair McAuley had three tallies on the weekend to propel himself into the CIS lead in goals (21) and Manitoba into first place in Canada West.
- Saint Mary’s (17-7-2, +1.8 SRS, RPI #5) — W 8-2 at STU, W 3-2 at Moncton
Winners of seven of their last eight games, Saint Mary’s is now only one point back of UNB for the AUS lead* (though the Varsity Reds have a game in hand). After blowing out the Tommies, the Huskies almost squandered an otherwise-impressive game against Moncton by allowing a third period shorthanded goal — a CIS-worst ninth shorthanded marker they’ve allowed this year.
- Acadia (15-9-2, +1.1 SRS, RPI #21) — L 3-2 vs. UNB, L 6-1 vs. UPEI
Hard to believe that a team as solid as the Axemen now sit fifth in their conference, but such is the burden of playing in the AUS. That said, it’s no surprise they’ve slid from first to fifth seeing that they’ve given up 20 goals on 137 shots (.854 SV%) in their last four games, all losses.
- UQTR (18-6-2, +0.6 SRS, RPI #8) — L 7-3 vs. McGill, W 3-0 vs. Queen's
115 goals scored in 26 games (4.4 per game) will cover all manner of sins. But poor defence and mediocre goaltending become hard to ignore after stinkers like Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to McGill. The Patriotes have the eighth-worst save percentage of any CIS team, and appear ripe for a second-round upset by a team like Nipissing or Carleton.
*Correction - This post originally claimed that Saint Mary's was tied with UNB atop the AUS standings, when in fact they are one point behind the Varsity Reds. Thanks go to cis-sic.ca for that mathematical mishap.