Women's Puck Bracketology: Guelph goes for No. 1 seed, Western tries to win one for Saint Mary's

There is a great feature some national sports network could produce about No. 1 Guelph's coach, Rachel Flanagan, and her now five-year-old child.

The Gryphons' guide was, as you would recall, due any day that night five years ago this month when Guelph and Queen's engaged in a six-overtime playoff series opener. There is some human drama for you. Plus the Gryphons, under the leadership of someone who captained the team in its nascence, have become a world-beater.

They grow up so fast. It can be easy to forget women's hockey has been on Canadian Interuniversity Sport's roster for fewer than 20 years. Or that even 10 years ago, the nationals were usually a roll call of usual suspects: Alberta, Laurier and McGill, lather, rinse, repeat, add a host team, an assigned team and the AUS, add stir. Now it is one of the most unpredictable sports when it comes to who shows up at nationals.

Hierarchy? McGill and Montréal as 1A and 1B in Quebec notwithstanding, this is a democratic sport. Take Nipissing, a new-ish team. The Lakers eliminated next year's nationals host, Queen's and then played the equivalent of a four-game series against Western last weekend. The Mustangs finally coaxed a series-winning goal past NU's Jacqueline Rochefort after nearly 112½ scoreless minutes in Game 3 last weekend.

Anyway, the seeding.
Women's hockey not only tries to avoid same-conference quarter-finals, but same-conference semifinals whenever possible, assuming that I read Section 4.2.2 correctly, and had an administrator at a school whose team is out explain it slowly enough to me. The Western-Guelph McCaw Cup matchup on Saturday will determine the seeding.

Using the current Top 10, essentially Guelph will be No. 1 next week in Calgary if it wins. The Mustangs are playing for No. 3 at nationals, but a win means McGill next Thursday instead of Saint Mary's.

If Guelph wins on Saturday, everything falls into place:
  1. Guelph (OUA champion) 
  2. Montréal (RSEQ champion)* 
  3. Saint Mary's Huskies (AUS champion)*  
  4. UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champion)* 
  5. McGill Martlets (RSEQ assigned)* 
  6. Western Mustangs (OUA assigned) 
  7. St. Thomas Tommies (AUS assigned)* 
  8. Calgary Dinos (host)* 
A Western win, sighs of relief all around, will not cause any controversy. Calgary to No. 7 is an easy pivot. St. Thomas and Montréal meet in the quarter-final either way, and each stay in the same half of the bracket. It's not relevant that Calgary gets a 7 seed even though it was not ranked all season and went two-and-out in the first round against Regina.
  1. Montréal (RSEQ champion)* 
  2. Saint Mary's (AUS champion)* 
  3. Western (OUA champion) 
  4. UBC (Canada West champion)* 
  5. Guelph (OUA assigned) 
  6. McGill (RSEQ assigned)* 
  7. Calgary (host)* 
  8. St. Thomas (AUS assigned)* 
Saint Mary's becomes the big winner, presumably, since it goes from defending national champion Western to Calgary, which was ousted on Feb. 20. For what it is worth, every so often a host team that is on hiatus for that long comes back refreshed and focus and wins, like the 2005 Weyburn Red Wings and 2012 Shawinigan Cataractes in junior hockey.

The Dinos' layoff adds up to 25 days, which is almost as long as some of the more dubious Memorial Cup host teams of recent vintage. There's another story!

(* already determined)
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