Men's Puck Bracketology: AKA the 'St. Francis Xavier wins' edition

(Updated: the X-Men, with Sudbury Wolves alumnus Nathan Pancel sniping a tiebreaking goal 1:59 into the third, beat No. 1-ranked UNB 5-3 to sweep the AUS championship series. Time to change our tenses!)

Drew Owsley created a domino effect.

St. Francis Xavier finished the job against No. 1-ranked UNB on Wednesday in Game 2 of the best-of-3 AUS championship, which semi-halfway radically altered the seeding for the CIS University Cup. Men's hockey is relatively straightforward about its seeding. The winners of each sport conference form the top three "based on their respective team national ranking in the final Top Ten of the season." The OUA runner-up draws into the No. 4 seed, and everyone else is arranged accordingly. 

So we have some idea of the fallout from the X-Men winning, especially in a format that looks deep within each team's soul and assigns them a seeding based on their place in a media poll. Please bear in mind this is using this week's Top 10. There is no anticipating whether there will be a shift when the contributors submit their final, final Top 10 on Saturday night after the OUA Queen's Cup (Trois-Rivières at Western) and play-in bronze game (Guelph at Carleton).

  1. Trois-Rivières (OUA champion) — Based on having 140 points to take the No. 2 spot in the poll. Former Saint John Sea Dogs goalie Sébastien Auger was a game-stealer in the sealer last Saturday against Carleton.
  2. Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West champion) — Sweeping Alberta, 4-0 and 3-2, did not nudge them over the Pats in the poll.
  3. St. Francis Xavier X-Men (AUS champion) — One would think that the X-Men might even siphon away No. 1 votes if they take down the the Gardiner MacDougall gang. They were still 34 points adrift of Saskatchewan in last week's penultimate Top Ten. Brad Peddle's lads had some bounce-back in the clincher. They spotted the V-Reds the first two goals, levelled, and former OHLer Nathan Chiarlitti had a mid-second period response goal only 55 seconds after UNB had taken its second lead.

  4. Western Mustangs (OUA runner-up) — Anything can happen in a one-game final on the Mustangs' home ice, just saying.
  5. UNB Varsity Reds (AUS runner-up) — Not a bad loss for UNB if the form holds in London, Ont., on Saturday. The V-Reds would get a quarter-final against a team which was unranked much of the season. Being in the 4 vs. 5 game also puts them in the same scheduling bloc as Saint Mary's, which is probably also helpful.

    With the ex-OHLers Nathan Chiarlitti and Nathan Pancel getting big goals for the X-Men on Wednesday, any Ontarian named Nathan might not be welcome around the Aitken Centre for a while.
  6. Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West runner-up) — Saskatchewan goalie Jordon Cooke, a Kelowna Rockets alumnus, was named Canada West player of the year. The last time a goalie got the honour was Lethbridge's Trevor Kruger in 1993-94. You know what else Lethbridge did that season? Mike Babcock coached it to the national title. There's a very small sample size an omen for you.
  7. Carleton Ravens (OUA bronze medal) — Confidence check: 72 per cent sure that the Ravens get 'er done against Guelph on Sunday in the play-in, AKA the OUA bronze-medal game.
  8. Saint Mary's Huskies (host) — SMU has a 48-44-29 poll lead against Western and Guelph. A pair of upsets by the OUA West teams might nudge them into the 7 vs. 2 quarter-final. That would segue into the meaning of "try to avoid" same conference matchups. It has occurred in the past, albeit in other sports, that a conference winner and the team that won the bronze-medal play-in game for the conference's third berth were matched in the first round. 
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