March 6, 2009 at 3:00 PM CST at Max Bell Arena - 101.5FM or [UMFM.COM]
March 7, 2009 at 7:00 PM CST at Max Bell Arena
March 8, 2009 at 7:00 PM CST at Max Bell Arena (if necessary)
While the Bisons have been bedeviled by Saskatchewan and Alberta over the years, it can equally be said that the Puddy-Tats have been bedeviled by the Herd. The stats on past series are quoted at length in the CIS playoff preview [LINK] and are not pretty from a Regina point of view. But, who gives a crap about the Regina point of view? They are banjo-playing hillbillies! Let's hope that the Herd can crush them one more time. The Bison preview is [HERE].
The early start on Friday, combined with my son's hockey commitments, will force me to miss that one. However, the on-line broadcast will allow me access to it. Phew! I also switched my Moose tickets so that I will be at Friday night's Moose game and Saturday night's Bison game.
Regina is never an easy opponent. Frankly, I believe that they are a better side than either Lethbridge or UBC. Nevertheless, the Bisons are favoured. I suspect that in the first two games the Bisons will have at least one decisive win and the other game will be a tight one.
The Bisons came out snoozing in this one. They gave up goals at 1:17 and 1:43 of the 1st period and then found themselves killing a 5-on-3 powerplay. They managed to kill it off and came back. But still, a team cannot dig a hole like that one.
Since the game was played on Friday afternoon I listened on radio. Of note, the Saturday game is being webcast. [STORY WITH LINK]
The Bisons were without Myles Rumsey and Terrance Delaronde. According to the radio, they are expected back Saturday.
Those crazy Tweety-Birds have been barely hanging in there all year and here they are - one win away from a semi-final berth. They outshot Lethbridge 42-28. Not unusual for the 'Horns to be badly outshot and still win or tie. But in the playoffs there is no bonus point for a loss.
Regina @ Manitoba: March 7th and 8th at 7 pm
UBC @ Lethbridge: March 7th and 8th at 7 pm
March 1: ACADIA AXEMEN 2 @ UNB VARSITY REDS 5 [BOXSCORE]
March 2: ACADIA AXEMEN 0 @ UNB VARSITY REDS 1 [BOXSCORE]
March 5: UNB VARSITY REDS 3 @ ACADIA AXEMEN 2 (OT) [BOXSCORE] UNB wins series 3-0.
March 3: ST. MARY'S HUSKIES 4 @ MONCTON BLUE EAGLES 3 (OT) [BOXSCORE]
March 5: ST. MARY'S HUSKIES 4 @ MONCTON BLUE EAGLES 3 [BOXSCORE] St. Mary's wins series 3-1.
* UNB and St. Mary's will play in the final and both sides qualify for the nationals.
March 1: LAKEHEAD THUNDERWOLVES 3 @ LAURIER GOLDEN HAWKS 4 [BOXSCORE] (Laurier wins series 2-1.)
March 1: CARLETON RAVENS 4 @ UQTR PATRIOTES 5 (OT) [BOXSCORE] (UQTR wins series 2-1.)
March 4: MCGILL REDMEN 3 @ UQTR PATRIOTES 1 [BOXSCORE]
March 6: UQTR PATRIOTES 1 @ MCGILL REDMEN 2 [BOXSCORE] (McGill wins series 2-0.)
March 4: WESTERN ONTARIO MUSTANGS 4 @ LAURIER GOLDEN HAWKS 3 [BOXSCORE]
(UWO leads series 1-0.)
* McGill will play the winner of UWO-Laurier in the final and both finalists will qualify for the nationals.
The Bisons went down to defeat by the narrowest of margins in a game that ought to have been in the bag early. The Bisons were all over the Cougars but were unable to cash in. The Cougars got progressively better in each period and by the end it was anybody's game. The Bisons nailed a few goalposts but that was it.
On the negative side, the players from Team Canada seemed to be out of sync. The Wood-Hellyer combo never generated much offence. Neither had a shot on goal, which is hard to believe.
Tyler Dittmer made his debut in this series. He came to the team after Christmas and was then injured in Thunder Bay. He played the point on the power play and did OK, but had no real chemistry with other linemates.
Here's how they lined up:
Thiessen - Lamoureaux
Rumsey - Lenoski
Brown - Workman
UBC took the series 2-1 in a series where every game went into overtime. It is hard to figure out these two teams. UBC have been downright pathetic at times this year. Yet they managed to secure enough points to stay in the race. Lethbridge looked to be ready to challenge Sask for 2nd place and where even in the national top 10. Then they fell apart in the late going and may have missed the playoffs if the season had lasted much longer. So I guess the closeness of the series was to be expected.
March 13-15, 2009
Regina @ Alberta
UBC @ Saskatchewan
Final: UNB v St. Mary's starts March 13th
March 7: LAURIER GOLDEN HAWKS 2 @ WESTERN ONTARIO MUSTANGS 3 [BOXSCORE]
(UWO wins series 2-0.)
After knocking off the Bisons in a pair of nail-biters last weekend, the Puddy-tats packed their banjos, hitched up the horses, rode into Edmontown, and beat the Evil Monkeys!
Regina took a 3-0 lead in the 1st period, and then led 5-1 after two. Alberta went nuts in the last period, with a 17-5 shots advantage, but scored only once. So now the Evil Monkeys, after being ranked #1 nationally until the very last week of the season, are facing elimination.
Sorry, Tweety-Birds, only one upset per night is allowed.
By looking at the summary it seems UBC did just the wrong thing. They tried swapping offence with the Huskies. Sask outshot them 16-15 in the 1st period and the score was 1-1. Not bad, you might say. However, UBC was last in the CW in offence and I don't think they have a prayer in a run-and-gun game. In this one, Sask piled on 14 more shots in the 2nd and 13 in the 3rd. Sask's 4 goals in the 2nd period salted the game away.
BTW, this is the first time these two have met in a playoff series.
Regina @ Alberta: March 14th and 15th if necessary
UBC @ Saskatchewan: March 14th and 15th if necessary
The Bison ****** took the opening game of the women's final. However, they only managed 11 shots on goal. You gotta like the win. So to win another game the Bison ****** will have to play better. Only one team goes to the nationals. Arguably, these are the top two teams in Canada. McGill and Laurier are the top two out east.
This was a respectable yet decisive win for Sask, as I believe pretty much everybody expected. UBC went as far as they could this year. If Regina beats Alberta on Sunday then the final will be held in Saskatown. However, a win for the Evil Monkeys would mean that Sask would yet again travel to Edmontown for the final.
Regina @ Alberta: March 15th
No games - UNB and St. Mary's play game two of the final series on Sunday.
The OUA final is a one-game event. They do this because they always get to send at least two teams to the nationals, even though their's is the weakest conference.
Anyhow the Urban Cowboys take the OUA title which, oddly enough, usually seems to go to one of the Quebec-based teams. They will therefore be seeded 3rd at nationals and will likely be paired with the CW champion.
The Pandas evened the final series at 1-1. Game three goes Sunday in Edmontown. The Bison ****** only managed 17 shots on goal. While we all cross our fingers in the hopes that good will triumph over evil and Manitoba will win, I don't like the Bison ******' chances in game 3. But here's hopin'.
After one period the Evil Monkeys have pretty much ended the Kittens' hopes. Two close wins over the Bisons followed by a big win in game one of this series appears to be the limit of Regina's abilities.
Saskatchewan @ Alberta: March 20th, 21st, and 22nd (if necessary)
This win gives the Bison ****** the series by a 2-1 count! This is the first conference championship for the team. However, they have finished as high as 3rd at the nationals when they qualified as runner-up. This season, the CW only sends one team to the nationals. So Manitoba has done all contenders a favour by eliminating a favourite.
Looking at the summary I see that they managed only 3 shots on goal for each of the 3 regulation periods. However, things got progressively better as the overtime progressed.
Out east, Laurier rebounded from a game one loss to defeat Guelph 3-2 and win the Ontario title by 2 games to 1.
Earlier, Moncton won the Atlantic title and McGill the Quebec title.
Bisons get the banner which will be at the Max Bell next year!
After opening the playoffs with a loss, the Evil Monkeys have bounced back. They seem to be winning handily. Only one of these teams will be going to Thunder Bay for the nationals. Alberta leads the best-of-3 championship series 1-0.
UNB entered the playoffs as the #1 seed in the nation. However, this win by St. Mary's not only gives them the series by a 2-1 margin but means that they are guaranteed a top-3 seed at nationals (as one of 3 conference champs) whilst UNB will be seeded no higher than 4th.
Earlier, the OUA title went to Western Ontario while McGill got a spot at nationals (Ontario gets 2 berths) and Lakehead qualified as host.
The tournament site is [HERE] and has links to video highlights, stories, stats, etc.
The tournament consists of two pools of 3 teams each. In the Bisons' pool, on Saturday St. F-X will play McGill in the final round-robin game. If St. F-X wins 1-0, the Bisons will get 1st place and play in the gold medal game. Any other result would result in the Bisons playing in the bronze medal game.
On the other side, the results thus far ensure that Ottawa will be playing either St. F-X or McGill in the 5th place game while the winner of Saturday's Moncton-Laurier game will play for gold.
The scoreline might make one think of a bad blow-out, which it was. However, Alberta was out-shot 31-21. These two have now met in 12 of the last 13 CW finals. I think it is high time that the Bisons focus their program on moving up a level to challenge these two. Sure the Bisons manage some wins against these teams, and they do beat the leading teams from out east, but they now need to beat out Sask for 2nd at least.
The field for the nationals is now set:
Alberta - UNB - McGill
St. Mary's - Western Ontario - Lakehead
This marks the first time the Bison ****** have finished 4th (instead of 3rd) at the nationals in 4 attempts. The Bisons led 2-0 entering the 3rd but then surrendered 2 goals on 6 shots inthe 3rd. Overtime settled nothing. Then each team had 5 penalty shots and only one was scored - by Moncton.
McGill then dusted off Laurier as expected in the final. And, as expected, it was a tight one. Manitoba had on OTL against McGill to open the tournament. Earlier this year the Bisons beat Laurier, also in OT.
There was some controversy over the seedings. Manitoba was 3rd ranked and ought to have been seeded against Laurier. However, the seeding committee wanted to separate Moncton from St. F-X and McGill from Ottawa.
1. Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West champions / 22-4-2 regular season, 4-1 playoffs)
4. UNB Varsity Reds (AUS finalists / 21-4-3 regular season, 4-2 playoffs)
6. Lakehead Thunderwolves (Championship hosts / 18-8-2 regular season, 3-2 playoffs)
2. Saint Mary's Huskies (AUS champions / 20-7-1 regular season, 5-2 playoffs)
3. Western Ontario Mustangs (OUA champions / 19-7-2 regular season, 7-1 playoffs)
5. McGill Redmen (OUA finalists / 18-8-2 regular season, 6-2 playoffs)
Thursday, March 26
14:00 Pool B #1: No. 2 Saint Mary's vs. No. 5 McGill (SSN Canada webcast)
19:30 Pool A #1: No. 1 Alberta vs. No. 4 UNB (SSN Canada webcast)
Friday, March 27
14:00 Pool B #2: No. 3 Western vs. Loser Pool B #1 (SSN Canada webcast)
19:30 Pool A #2: No. 6 Lakehead vs. Loser Pool A #1 (SSN Canada webcast)
Saturday, March 28
14:00 Pool B #3: No. 3 Western vs. Winner Pool B #1 (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
19:00 Pool A #3: No. 6 Lakehead vs. Winner Pool A #1 (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
Sunday, March 29
14:00 Final (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
THE HOLLYWOOD OUTLOOK:
UNB's loss to St. Mary's in the Atlantic final threw the rankings out of whack. By rule, the 3 conference champions get the top 3 seeds and are seeded in the order of the final Top 10. This gave the Evil Monkeys the #1 seed, St. Mary's the #2 seed, and the Urban Cowboys the #3 seed. After finishing the year at #1, UNB (aka "The Squirrels") fell to #4 to be drawn against none other than the Evil Monkeys.
Meanwhile, the host Lakehead team has been sinking like a stone throughout the 2nd half of the season. Their last hurrah was winning their Christmas tournament.
All of this adds up to the much-anticipated game between the Evil Monkeys and Squirrels will be on opening night.
I personally do not care for the pools-of-3 idea. I would prefer to see 2 more teams added so that an 8-team knockout format could be used, as the CIS does for basketball and volleyball nationals.
The opener was not much of a surprise. St. Mary's got the coveted easy route to the final by defeating UNB in the AUS final and took advantage by whipping the McGilligutties. I reckon they will defeat the Urban Cowboys to take the pool.
The nightcap was a shock, not for the result but for the margin of victory. The Squirrels and Evil Monkeys were the #1 and #2 teams in Canada all year. Now the question is: What will the hosts from Lakehead do? Last year the Primates also lost but qualified for the final when McGill knocked off Moncton. This year, however, Alberta is -3 and I say they are toast.
Friday, March 27
14:00 Pool B #2: W. Ontario vs. McGill (SSN Canada webcast)
19:30 Pool A #2: Lakehead vs. Alberta (SSN Canada webcast)
Saturday, March 28
14:00 Pool B #3: W. Ontario vs. St. Mary's (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
19:00 Pool A #3: Lakehead vs. New Brunswick (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
Sunday, March 29
14:00 Final (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
The two teams who lost their opener bounced back with a win. However, the margin of victory was not enough to allow either side to retain any hopes of a berth in Sunday's championship game. IMO, a UNB v SMU final is all but assured. In order to advance, Lakehead and the Urban Cowboys both need a win by 2 or more goals on Saturday.
The game notes on the McGilligutties' win had this to say:
GAME NOTES: McGill head coach Martin Raymond was given a game misconduct for failure to control his bench when the Redmen players jumped on the ice to congratulate their teammates at the end of the match… Raymond will have to serve a one-game suspension in next year’s regular-season opener… This was the first-ever meeting between the two teams at the University Cup tournament… McGill is now 3-3 all-time at the CIS championship going 1-1 in 2006, 2008 and 2009… Western was the last OUA team to claim the Cup in 2002 when the Mustangs beat UQTR 4-3 in the final on a goal by Stacey Bristone at 13:17 of the third overtime period… The 2002 final, which ended after 43:17 of extra time, is still the longest game in University Cup history…
Mark Spector ha d a story on CIS hockey [HERE], on the SportsNet website.
Saturday, March 28
1:00 CDT Pool B #3: W. Ontario vs. St. Mary's (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
6:00 CDT Pool A #3: Lakehead vs. New Brunswick (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
Sunday, March 29
1:00 CDT Final (Rogers Sportsnet / SSN Canada webcast)
St. Mary's pulled off one of the biggest chokes ever in their loss to the Urban Cowboys. They were tied after 2 periods and could have lost by two goals and still advanced to the final. Meanwhile, the Squirrels had a solid win over the hosts after having defeated the Evil Monkeys in the opener.
This was a relatively lacklustre final. The Urban Cowboys are a marginally better-than-average CIS team and could not be expected to beat one of the best CIS teams.
Everybody looks at how the conferences did, and here are this year's inter-conference results (there was one game between two OUA teams):
Canada West: 1-0 v OUA; 0-1 v AUS
Ontario: 0-1 v CWUAA; 1-3 v AUS
Atlantic: 1-0 v CWUAA; 3-1 v OUA