Can You Count To 10 ?
10 is the magic number for entry to the playoffs as a Pioneer Division team, especially if you’re the Saskatchewan Huskies ! Canada West’s Evan Daum has produced a playoff possibility primer for the fans going into this week’s play, and that’s a great service to those many of us, who are mathematically challenged ! Here’s Evan’s analysis –
Who’s clinched in the Pioneer (seven playoff berths): Calgary, UBC, and Manitoba have all clinched a playoff spot.
Possible clinches this weekend: Calgary can clinch first overall with a sweep of Regina.
Regina can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Calgary, or a Saskatchewan loss against Alberta … Winnipeg can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Lethbridge
Lethbridge can clinch a playoff spot with a sweep of Winnipeg … Alberta can clinch a playoff spot with a sweep of Saskatchewan.
We are not, however, afraid to go out on a limb by making assumptions based on past performance. so the real key series is Alberta at Saskatchewan. The Bears are in with a win to get to 10! Everything hinges on the Huskies record over the next 4 games. 2 at home with the Bears and 2 down the highway in Regina next week vs the Cougars. The ‘Dogs need to win all 4, or they’re gone, if we assume Lethbridge can win at least 1 of 4 games (and they can and will, as they finish with 2 at home vs Trinity W) . Winnipeg already has 9 wins, and has the tie-breaker with 2-0 over Saskatchewan.
Victoria Vikes (7-11) get the bye this week.
In the Explorer – (three playoff berths):
The analysis from Mr Daum Thompson Rivers has clinched first … UFV can clinch a playoff spot with a victory against Thompson Rivers , or a combination of losses by MacEwan against UBCO and Mount Royal against UNBC … UBCO can clinch a playoff spot with a sweep of MacEwan and one Mount Royal loss.
Yes, well, we look at this week’s MacEwan at UBC-O series as the crucial set. A sweep by either team will get them in is our ‘guesstimate’ … Mac has a useful win over TRU, should they be tied for 3rd. MRU needs to sweep, then get help from TRU beating Okanagan twice, and UNBC over Mac at least once. Now the head starts to hurt …. We have to like UBC-O, since they’re at home, but if they split this week, Mac has a shot if they beat UNBC twice to finish. OK, that’s confusing enough. Let’s play !
Thursday / Friday –
Regina at Calgary – Homers ! That’s what these teams are against each other recently … at Calgary, the Dinos are 5-0 in the last 5 League games vs the Cougars, and at Regina, it’s 6-2 Cougars over the Dinos in that same time frame. Motivation here is about equal, with Calgary looking to clinch 1st place, and Regina wanting to boost their playoff ranking. Key match-ups are – point – UC David Kapinga, Torrez McKoy vs UR Alex Igual, Aaron McGowan …wing – UC Thomas Cooper vs UR Jonathan Tull … forwards – UC Matt Letkeman, Lars Schleuter vs UR Stephen Shields, Will Tallman. Big crowds expected … tough, competitive games ! (both at 8 pm Mtn)
Friday / Saturday –
Lethbridge at Winnipeg – Does this Lethbridge zone defense seem explicitly designed to play the Wesmen? Can the quick, tenacious UW defense slow down the quick-strike ‘Horns attack ? Do Dejon Burdeaux, Rob Olsen, and Brandon Brine light-up the Ws with their potent offensive power? Can Denzel Blair-Lynch get enough scoring help to stay with the scoring pace of the Pronghorns? 8 pm Central for both nights. Tune in to Canada West TV for these and other highlights
Alberta at Saskatchewan – This series has had a major impact on Canada West standings for a number of years; usually it has been in a battle for 1st, 2nd, 3rd , but now it’s for playoff survival. The ‘Dogs are backed into a corner, and have to fight for a post-season spot with 2 wins this week. Alberta is coming off a pair of wins last week, and would love to sideline the Huskies. Mamadou Gueye has his game in order for the Bears, and, if their guards can slow down Chan DeCiman , Evan Ostertag and Co. , they may do just that. Both games are at 8 PM Central.
UBC at Brandon – A few factors in play here … The ‘Birds have bombed the Bobcats 10 straight games dating back to 2008. This is not a ‘banner year’ for the ‘Cats (1-15) … the T-Birds are prepping for playoffs that will see them ultimately host the CIS Nationals. We’re not sure that Brandon’s D.J. Jordan and Earl Thompson Jr. can, between the 2 of them, score enough to overcome the difference in depth between these teams. We’ll ‘bravely’ call UBC to sweep. Games are 8 pm Fri/ 7 pm Sat – Central.
Manitoba at Trinity Western – This is a miss-match of one team, Manitoba, working their way to a possible CW title, and another, TWU, fighting for just a bit of respectability. Manitoba has so many players now ‘running with the Herd’ … A.J Basi, Justus Alleyn, Keith Omoerah, Wyatt Anders, Jonathan Alexander and more. Trinity usually counts on a hot hand from one or both of Kelvin Smith and Lucas Mannes, and it has not been enough.
A Hot Time in the Okanagan !
The eyes of the ‘Explorers’ are on Kelowna, where the UBC-O Heat try to stay ahead of their primary rivals for 3rd place, the MacEwan Griffins. In Abbotsford, we see if Fraser Valley can muster up enough fresh bodies to take a serious run at the vicious TRU Wolf Pack, who have been terrorizing the Division for much of the season. And, over in Prince George, Mt. Royal needs 2 wins over UNBC and their prayers answered elsewhere, if the Cougars have any hope of a post-season appearance. Games are 8 pm and 7 pm Pacific time for all 3 series in the Explorer. (3 playoff spots at stake).
MacEwan at UBC-Okanagan – The Griffs are the masters of the weekend split, having gone 1-1 in 6 of their 9 series to date this season, including the November pair with Okanagan. The Heat have won 3 of their last 4 games, and, when they get scoring from 4 and 5 players, they have beaten everyone in the Explorer. Neither team, however, has been all that predictable. So … Mitch Goodwin and Aldrich Berrios vs Denzel James and Thadius Galvez ? Not really ! The ‘supporting cast is critical for both squads. Too tough to call this series, but a sweep would be a surprise, either way.
Thompson Rivers at Fraser Valley – It has been the recent habit of the Cascades to win at home and struggle on the road; in late November in Kamloops, UFV were trounced by 14 then 30 by the ‘Pack. Fraser Valley are 7-1 at home, and have responded to many challenges this season, but Thompson Rivers may be too much to handle, with their size and skill. Nate Brown needs Kevon Parchment back, and Manny Dulay has to have a hot Vijay Dhillon as an option. It could happen, but the odds are longer than they have been in years.
Mt. Royal at UNBC – The Timberwolves have had a rough go this year, made worse by losing their injured point man Billy Cheng and dropping all 8 of their games since the Christmas break. MRU’s post tandem of James Lefebvre and Brett Layton may give UNBC real trouble, and the guard match-up with MRU’s Glen Yang vs Elliot Rowe for the ‘Wolves may be decisive. The Cougars have some developing depth, but haven’t proven their ability to win 2 games in a weekend.
The Calgary Dinos climbed another spot this week from 5th to 4th as they win 2 games to extend their winning streak to 10. UBC jumps over McGill into 7th ranked, and, despite their gaudy 14-2 record, Thompson Rivers stays in 9th spot.
The Ryerson Rams continue to impress at #1, and Ottawa is in 2nd again, just ahead of the defending CIS champs, the Carleton Ravens. In the OUA this week, we see the Ottawa teams travel to SW Ontario … #2 UO and #3 Carleton take on #6 McMaster and #5 Brock.