Bisons and Bears Contest Canada West Title Game

 

 

 

Bisons Beat Dinos With 3 point Accuracy

A.J. Basi leads Manitoba into the Canada West Final

 Manitoba 74  Calgary  72 –  Manitoba continues their amazing path through the 2nd half of the Canada West schedule, then beats first UBC, then tonight, Calgary, to earn a shot at a Canada West title.  And, the Herd will travel to Halifax to  compete in their 1st U-Sport Nationals in over 30 years. Coach Kirby Schepp’s squad did it with the 3 point shot for much of the game, as they hit 11/19 (58%) to Calgary’s 3/23.

The Dinos got close through  the Bisons’ 25 turnovers, but their cold shooting (39% to 47% for UM) wouldn’t allow them to convert 21 more FG attempts into a win. 4 Manitoba players hit double figures, led by the 19 points of A.J. Basi, who, along with Keith Omoerah (17 points/ 14 rebounds) were both 4/5 from outside the arc. Ilarion Bonhomme scored 13 and had 6 rebounds, and his speed gave Calgary defenders problems.

Calgary missed 2 shots in the final 5 seconds, and never quite caught the Herd in the dying minutes. Thomas Cooper had 17 points/ 7 rebs for UC, but Bisons defenders allowed him just 6/24 from the floor, and he was blanked on all 6 of his 3 point attempts.  David Kapinga had 13 pts/ 3 steals, and Jasdeep Gill counted 12 for the Dinos.  UC must now win the 3rd place game at 3 pm Saturday vs Saskatchewan, and hope for a wildcard berth into Nationals.     Box Score  

 

Alberta 83  Saskatchewan 70 –  The Bears win every period from the Huskies, as they swarm the 2 U of S big men, and deny good looks to Huskies’ shooters. Alberta shot the ball well,  at 46%, with Mamadou Gueye  weaving a masterpiece with his dominating

Alberta’s Mamadou Gueye scorches U of S with his 30 points

play. The explosive 4th year forward struck for 30 points/ 8 boards, and had everything from 2 treys,  to an alley -oop dunk, then cleaned up inside with some timely rebound hoops in the 2nd half.

Austin Waddoups scored 20 for the GBs, and he controlled the pace, adding 4 assists. Despite losing all-star post man, Brody Clarke,  to fouls early in the 4th frame, Alberta managed to limit Saskatchewan’s inside game. Shane Osayande had just 10 pts / 9 rebounds for the Dogs before he too fouled out near the end.  Lawrence Moore had 19 for U of S, mostly on slick drives to the hoop, but he hit just 2/9 from the outside, and his team was 9/38 from deep range (24%) to Alberta’s 12/30 (40%).  Big Matt Forbes was one of a pair of Huskies at 11 points and he added 8 rebounds, but he was frustrated by the double -team coming from the Alberta defense.

The Bears will play Manitoba for the Canada West championship on Saturday at 8 pm.  They will join Manitoba as the 2 CW teams qualifying on Friday for the Nationals in Halifax next week.    Box Score   

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In the East –    

The Ontario Wilson Cup Semis   #1 Carleton 89  #4 Brock  64,  #2 Ryerson 76  #3 Ottawa 75   Final and 3rd place game Saturday

Atlantic Tournament   Quarter-Finals –  Acadia 73  Memorial 65, and  St. Mary’s 80 St. FX  79 .    Semis on Saturday  #10 Dalhousie vs Acadia ,  UNB vs St. Mary’s  on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)    The championship final is Sunday at 4:30.

Quebec –  Semi-Finals … McGill 59  Laval 48,  UQAM 81 Concordia  71    The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

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Overtime –

  • Saskatchewan and Regina will play a ‘Provincial Final’ for the Canada West Women’s title on Saturday.  In Friday’s semis in Saskatoon, it was the Huskies over Alberta  72 – 62, and Regina beating Winnipeg 81-70.
  • Injuries added up tonight, with Jaylan Morgan making a strong effort for the Huskies, but he was favouring his injured leg late in the game.  Calgary’s 5th year forward, Dallas Karch, took a bad fall, banging his head, and did not return for the remainder.
  •  Teams already qualifying for the Nationals, which are March 9-12 in Halifax  –  Host, Dalhousie … OUA reps, Carleton and Ryerson, Canada West reps Alberta and Manitoba.  Still to come – the AUS camp, the Quebec champs, and a wild-card team.

Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

League Championship Week Across Canada

 

All 4 League championship tournaments set to tip-off Friday

This is U-Sports Play-off week right across the country, from the big AUS Tournament in Halifax to the Canada West Final 4 in Calgary.  Besides determining League champions, the 4 tournaments will go a long way to deciding the field for the U-Spots Final 8 Nationals in Halifax – March 9-12.

Here are the match-ups and schedules for the week –

 

Note the unusual times for the Canada West Final 4  draw-  The UC has decided to divide the Final 4 games with a Dinos 1/4 Final Volleyball match (both for Friday and Saturday).  Unfortunate for basketball fans, and not really the way to host a League championship tournament, in our opinion.

Saturday sees the 3rd place game at 3 pm and the Canada West Final at 8 pm. (Both finalists will have qualified for the Nationals in Halifax.) 

 

The Wilson Cup semi-finals and finals are being played in Ottawa this weekend, with the Carleton Ravens a decided favourite.  The 2 semi-final winners will qualify for the Nationals, and will play for the OUA title on Saturday .

 

The Quebec Finals are  hosted by the top seed , McGill Redmen.  The Final will be played on Saturday, with that champion looking like the lone RSEQ rep in Nationals.

 

We expect this to be an unpredictable 6 team event, with 1 spot in Nationals on the line.  The AUS gets a host spot as well, so teams will be fighting their way through to the Final.

 

Overtime –

  • Emotional and admirable statement from 5th year UBC team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte, after the team’s play-off loss to Manitoba last Friday,  “It’s tough man. It’s a great year. Couple of things didn’t go our way,” said Jensen-Whyte. “ … and Manitoba is a great team. I have nothing but respect for my coach and the players. I have nothing but love for this place.”  From a story in UBC’s student news, The Ubyssey. 
  •  The annual guessing-game surrounding the choice of a ‘wild-card’ team for the U-Sports Final 8 Nationals is starting in earnest.  If we look at the criteria for the committee to consider, we note the subjective nature in some areas.  League records may have a 16-4 team ‘equivalent’ to a 15-4 team, and so on.  To be clear … despite their high marks in every category, the UBC T’Birds are out, with their play-off record, and Canada West’s rule to have only teams from the Final 4 considered. We expect the 8th team to almost be a sure thing for the OUA, but we’ve been wrong before.  U-Sport announces their decision next Sunday, after the AUS Tournament is complete.

 

 

 

Golden Bears Shooters Carpet-Bomb Pronghorns

 

 

The draw is now set for the Canada West Final 4 to be held in Calgary next weekend.  The Alberta Golden Bears were the final team to qualify, with their 3rd game win on Saturday over the Lethbridge Pronghorns.  The #3 seeded Bears will play the early game on Friday, March 3 against the #2 Saskatchewan Huskies.  The top seed Calgary Dinos will be up against the Manitoba Bisons, who took out the heavily -favoured UBC Thunderbirds 2 straight in Vancouver in the 4/5 quarter-final.

Bears bury Pronghorns with avalanche of long bombs

Geoff Pippus scores from long range to lead the Bears.   Photo – Bears Athletics

  #8  Alberta  107  Lethbridge 84 –  Alberta fills the air with long-range shots, and scores an incredible 69 first half points, to settle the affair rather suddenly. Shooting 52% from the floor for the game, the Bears have 14 treys in that half, and finish with 19/39 on the night.  The Pronghorns could not stop or match the Bears firepower, as they did not get the same offensive production as fans saw in their OT win on Friday.

4th year guard Geoff Pippus came off the bench and found his range early, accounting for a game- high 26 points on 8/14 from beyond the arc, plus 6 rebounds.  Austin Waddoups was another hot shooter for the GBs, connecting on 5/10 from outside in scoring 21 points. Mamadou Gueye had a double of 12 points/ 12 boards and added 4 assists, while guard Ivan Ikomey nailed all 6 shots, with 4 of those from 3 pt range for 16 points.

U of L are led by 21 points/ 8 rebounds by Elliott Sentance, and 15 points from guard, Dejon Burdeaux.  Alberta heads to Calgary next week for the Canada West Final 4, where they will meet the Saskatchewan Huskies in one semi- final next Friday.  Box Score 

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In the East –  Saturday    

 OUA Quarter Finals  at #1 Carleton 89  McMaster 50, at #3 Ryerson  87 Nipissing 62, at #4 Ottawa 93 Laurentian 81,  at #5 Brock 80 Toronto  59

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 will be in Ottawa on Fri/Sat, with Carleton vs Brock , and Ottawa vs Ryerson.  The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.

Atlantic  –  at St. FX 94 UPEI 93  , St Mary’s 70  at  Cape Breton 66 ,  Memorial  84 at Acadia 74   .  The Quarter-Finals in Halifax next Friday will see Acadia and Memorial in one contest, and  St. Mary’s and St. FX in the other.  Those winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday, the 4th, with the championship final going Sunday.

Quebec – Concordia  75  Laval 63, UQAM 78  Bishops 69 .  Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

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Overtime – 

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals  on Saturday –    at #6 Winnipeg 92  Victoria  65, at # 8 Saskatchewan 78  Fraser V. 69    So their Final 4, to be played at  Saskatchewan next weekend. The draw –
  • Saskatchewan point man, Alex Unruh, on the Huskies’ elimination of

    Alex Unruh, Huskies  – photo U of S

    Winnipeg in the 1/4 Finals.  “It feels good,” said Unruh, who was pressed into a bigger role after an injury Friday to Jaylan Morgan. “Those guys (Wesmen) are a good team. We played them in the regular season straight up and what we wanted to do is try and get it done in two, so, yeah, it feels good and I’m just happy I was able to contribute the way that I did.”  (From a Star-Phoenix article by Darren Zary.)

 

Dinos’ David Kapinga

  •   Calgary’s David Kapinga , on the Dinos’ tough task in getting by a very competitive TRU squad, “I think it was about slowing down Iegorov for the other team,” Kapinga said. “He’s a beast, he’s a beast. He did it all, crazy shots from NBA range, finding his teammates. Johny Verrone did a very good job slowing him down, especially in the second half, and with stops comes transition and that’s what we’re really good at.”   From a story in the Calgary Sun by Rita Mingo 

 

 

 

Bisons, Dinos, Huskies – All on to Final 4

The Herd are full value for a sweep of #2 UBC

Ilarion Bonhomme’s big night propels the Bisons past the ‘Birds.   photo – Rich Lam, UBC

Manitoba  98   #2  UBC  96   OT –  Kudos to Coach Kirby Schepp and his Bisons , as they go into War Memorial and out-play the #2 ranked team in the country on consecutive nights.  The Herd have the Thunderbirds barely hanging on again Friday, and UBC are fortunate to tie it up and send it to extra time. A. J. Basi’s 3 point shot off an offensive  rebound gave UM the lead with 6 seconds left, and the ‘Birds try at the buzzer bounced off the iron.

5th year transfer point man, Ilarion Bonhomme had a defining effort for the Bisons tonight, with his 28 points/ 10 rebounds/ 9 assists.  Justus Alleyn scores 18, with 4 treys before he fouled out, while Keith Omoerah had a double of 14 pts/ 11 boards.  UBC were led by team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte’s 33 point / 10 rebound effort in his final outing for the T’Birds. Patrick Simon scored 21 coming off the bench, and added 5 rebounds.

This was a shocking result to many, but a tribute to the depth of talent on Manitoba, and in all of Canada West, where we saw several visiting squads equit themselves very impressively.   Box Score  

#6  Calgary   76  Thompson Rivers 68 –  For the 2nd night running, the Wolf Pack hold the Dinos feet to the fire, with timely shooting and a stifling zone defense.  It’s tied at the half, then TRU get a lead midway through the 3rd quarter, which they don’t relinquish until the 3 minute mark of the 4th frame.

Dinos full court pressure finally wore down the ‘Pack. 6 points by Calgary’s 4th year post man, Mitch Ligertwood, in the last 1:40 were the crucial ones in this series winner.  The UC defense limited Thompson Rivers to just 12 points in the last 10 minutes.  Calgary won the rebounding 47-34, and hit 12/18 free throws to just 2 of 5 for the visitors.   UC’s Thomas Cooper had another sparkling effort, with 26 points and 9 rebounds, and Jhony Verrone was solid with his 13 points/ 11 rebounds, and superb defensive effort. Mambi Diawara was sharp, especially late in the game, with defensive pressure, and he tallies 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 steals.

Volodymyr Iegorov plays his final game for the Wolf Pack, hitting 20 points and claiming 11 rebounds. Derek Rhodes scored 11 and Mike Rouault 10 for TRU, who gave a very brave effort on both nights.    Box Score  

#9  Saskatchewan  88  Winnipeg 77  –  The Huskies storm out of the gates early, and grab a huge 31-8 lead after 10 minutes. But the Wesmen win the middle frames 46-29, to get to within 6.  Saskatchewan’s offense clicks for 28 points in the 4th, and they sweep the series.

Shane Osayande is strong again with a 21 point/ 19 rebound  crusher, while Alex Unruh has a nice game for U of S, with 20 points on 8/10 FG shooting. Trevor Severinski cashes 4/8 from outside for the Dogs for 16 points and he doubles with 10 boards. Narcisse Ambanza scores 18 pts / 5 asst for the Ws, and Denzel Lynch-Blair returns for 14 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 steals.  Box Score

31 pts from their captain, paces the U of L past Alberta in game 2

 Lethbridge 112    #8  Alberta   111  OT –  As much as the ‘Horns were limited by U of Adefense on Thursday, the U of L shooters responded with confidence on this night. The visitors shoot 49% from the floor, hit 15 treys, and convert 25/29 free throws. Alberta betters the Pronghorns with 51% shooting, the same 15 treys, but get fewer free throws (20/22) in a most efficient offensive display by both clubs .

Before fouling out with 10 seconds left in regulation, Dejon Burdeaux scored a team-high 31 points/ 8 rebs/ 5 assists for Lethbridge, who force a game 3, to be played at 7 pm Saturday night.  Zac Overwater is big for the ‘Horns with 26 points/ 12 rebounds, and Elliott Sentance contribute’s 16 pts to the winning cause.   Box Score  

 

 

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In the Atlantic –  Friday Night –   UNB 85 at St. FX 74, at #10 Dalhousie  90 UPEI 75, Saint Mary’s 94  at  Cape Breton 78, at Acadia 97 Memorial  82

 

Sat. OUA Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto   (On OUA TV)

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 57  Trinity W 41 (Win series 2-0) ,  at #6  Victoria 74 Winnipeg  69  (series tied 1-1),   Fraser V. 74  at # 8 Saskatchewan  62  (series tied 1-1),  at Alberta 60   UBC 52   (wins series 2-0) … 3rd games on Saturday for Vikes – Wesmen, and Cascades – Huskies.
  • TRU’s Luke Morris

    TRU forward, Luke Morris, is providing scoring and leadership to his young Wolf Pack team.  Coach Scott Clark comments in this article from Morris’ hometown Mission City Record.  “He’s a bigger guy [6-5] and can score in a variety of ways,” said Clark. “He can step out and hit a three, score in the post, score in the cut and offensive rebound.”   “There has been increased expectations from our coaching staff and he’s shown more leadership and a lot of growth this season,” Clark said.

 

  •   We learn that Denzel Lynch-Blair of Winnipeg misses last night’s game at Saskatchewan due to accumulating 5 technical fouls over the course of the season.  League Directors review reports on technical fouls, and may suspend players, depending on the details of the offense (s).

 

Road Teams Look Good In Opening Games

 

 

Bisons shock UBC,  ‘Pack play Dinos tough, and Winnipeg scares the Huskies

3 of the 4 Canada West  1/4 Finals see the visiting underdogs play inspired games on the opening night.  The Manitoba Bisons go and hand the #2 UBC Thunderbirds their only home loss so far this season.  The ‘road warrior’ TRU Wolves gave as much as they could before bowing by a slim margin to UC. #9  Saskatchewan needed some last minute heroics to subdue a fired up Winnipeg team by the single point.

  Manitoba 79   #2 UBC  75 –   The Bisons plant the seed of doubt, with some good clutch shooting and very strong team rebounding (42-38 over UBC) .  Faced with a looming comeback bid from the home side, and seeing their 10 point lead disappear with 3 minutes left, the Herd circle and hold their ground.  The last of 4 treys from A. J. Basi and 5 free throws from Ilarion Bonhomme seal the deal.

UBC may have lost this for a number of reasons, but their free throw average of 52% (13/25)  wasn’t nearly up to the 22/30 = 73% for Manitoba. Basi leads the Brown with 22 points, while Keith Omoerah adds a nifty double of 17 pts/ 15 boards.  Bonhomme controls the attack at key times , as he counts 12 points/ 6 rebs/ 3 assists.

The T-Birds appear poised in the 4th, but just did not have their rhythm in the last 2 minutes, with shot opportunities falling off the rim. Jordan Jensen-Whyte 22 points led UBC, with Will Ondrik adding 16 / 5 rebs. Conor Morgan was not his usual self, tallying just 12 points on 5/16 from the floor.   Box Score     Game 2 on Friday is at 7 pm Pacific.

 

David Kapinga is the Calgary Dinos’ defensive ace   photo – David Moll

#6  Calgary  75  Thompson Rivers 71 –  A tale of 2 halves, as the Wolf Pack recover from a 19 point 1st half deficit, and win the 3rd quarter 24 – 9, finishing the 2nd half with 47.  Calgary shoot 44% to start the game, but go ice cold in the 2nd half, finishing at 35%. TRU are 34% after 20 minutes, but hit 53% in the last 20 minutes.

Volodymyr Iegorov has a monster game for the Orange, scoring 27 and grabbing 15 rebounds, and dealing out 6 assists.  Derek Rhodes with 14 pts and Trent Monkman on 10 help the Thompson Rivers cause.  The Dinos secured the win with a stronger 4th quarter, with key hoops from guards Jhony Verrone and David Kapinga down the stretch.

Thomas Cooper with 21 points/ 10 rebounds/7 assists led the UC attack, backed by Kapinga’s 19 pts/ 6 rebounds/ 6 steals.  The Dinos get all they could have expected from a Thompson Rivers squad whose busy play-off travel schedule  we have chronicled.  The Wolves fought extremely hard to get back in, and came close to tying it up in the last minutes. Box Score    Game time for the 2nd in the best of 3 is 7 pm Friday.

 

#9  Saskatchewan 85  Winnipeg 84 –  The Huskies pull out the win, as they come off the ropes in the final 2 minutes, courtesy of a clutch trey from Trevor Severinski to tie it at 81, then a dunk and a highlight reel shot block from Shane Osayande. The teams are back and forth in this one, with multiple lead changes in the final 20 minutes. U of S shooters hit 51%, as Osayande has another huge night as their leader;  the 6-6 post man scores 26 points / 15 rebounds/ and 5 big blocks. Lawrence Moore with 15 pts/ 7 rebs, and Trevor Severinski hitting 13 pts on 4 of 8 from 3 point range are also key to this win.

The Ws looked like winners  at times in the final 10 minutes, but could not quite get the horses in the corral. Their impressive rookie, Narcisse Ambanza, leads the Wesmen with 24 pts, aided by Jamar Farley’s 16 on 4/6 from outside. Sean Tarver plays his 6th man role nicely, scoring 18 points/ 4 rebounds.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their high scoring guard is absent for Winnipeg in this game, and not sure why?

 Box Score    Game 2 is at 8:30 again on Friday.

 

#8 Alberta 80  Lethbridge 59 –  Not close in this one, as the Bears’ defense make the

Mamadou Gueye leads the Bears over UL  photo – Bears Athletics

Pronghorns attack largely ineffective.  Lethbridge are a woeful 27% FG on the night, and their floor leader, Dejon Burdeaux leaves the game mid-way in the final frame with just 7 points.

Alberta are led by wing man, Mamadou Gueye, with a solid double-double of 20 points/ 10 rebounds. Geoff Pippus hits 4/6 from outside for 14 points, and Dwan Williams adds 12 pts/ 5 rebs.   Box Score     Game 2 is Friday at 8 pm Mountain.

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In the East –  Wednesday

Ontario Play-offs – Round 1 –  Nipissing 77 Queens 74 ,  Laurentian 88  Laurier 72 ,  Toronto 82  Lakehead 61,  McMaster 71  Windsor  63

Saturday’s Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto

 Quebec –  Concordia 79  Bishops 76, and on Thursday, it was McGill 62  Laval 45

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 82 Trinity W 59,  at #6 Winnipeg 82  Victoria 70, at # 8 Saskatchewan 78 Fraser V. 55 ,  at Alberta 62  UBC 58  … all the home sides come out on top.
  • “We’re not celebrating yet”, said Manitoba Bisons Coach Kirby Schepp  after his team’s big game 1 win at UBC.  “This was a physical game, and our guys hung in there when it counted.”
  • It was a last second desperation heave by Winnipeg’s Jamar Farley that closed the score to just 1 point at the buzzer, but it was a sobering sight to see what might have been in this very tight game.

4 Strong Favourites – Canada West Final 8

 

Dinos, Huskies, Bears, and Thunderbirds are odds-on favourites

We look at these match-ups, and we definitely see 4 clear favourites in these quarter-final series, which tip-off Thursday night in Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Vancouver. If the series’ go as predicted, we will be re-convening in Calgary on March 3 -4 with our 4 top seeds in the Championship Tournament –   Calgary vs UBC, and Saskatchewan against Alberta.

But first … let’s take a look at this weekend’s draw.  We’re pretty sure Thompson Rivers, Winnipeg, Lethbridge, and Manitoba would like to prove us wrong by upsetting one of the home clubs!

 

5th Year TRU all-star, Volodymyr Iegorov.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  at Calgary Dinos –  Calgary has home court, and, with some fortuitous circumstances, the #1 seed.  The Dinos are deep, while TRU are relatively ‘shallow’, and, quite likely, a bit ‘road -weary’ .

This could, however,  get very interesting, if we consider TRU’s 95 ppg average last week vs Brandon, which indicates a willingness to open it up, offensively.  The Dinos will be only too willing to oblige that possibility.   Keys –  TRU – Control the pace.  Stop the Dinos’ Thomas Cooper.  Play their season’s best team defense.  Get good team shooting, and ball control.  Calgary Play their fast pace, and help that along by turning the Wolf Pack over.  Throw multiple defenders at Volodymyr Iegorov.  Limit the 3 point shooting from the Orange. Run some consistent half-court offense.             7 pm games Thurs, Fri, and Sat (if necessary)

Matt Forbes, Huskies  Post man  – photo – Huskies Athletics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnipeg Wesmen at Saskatchewan Huskies – These teams split their November series in Saskatoon, but this is a bolstered line-up for the Huskies in February, as they now have Matt Forbes at full throttle, and guards Jaylan Morgan and Lawrence Moore in the back-court.  The Wesmen have a team that may be able to harass the Sled Dogs ball-handlers, but can they neutralize the U of S bigs?  If the Ws can generate offense vs a stingy Huskies D, they have a shot.  Keys – Winnipeg – Spread the scoring.  Apply full-court defensive pressure.  Get a stand-off in the post. Play a fast pace.  Saskatchewan –  Execute their offense, and hit open shots.  Limit turnovers.  Pound it inside, and force their own pace of play.              8:30 Thurs and Fri , and 4 pm Sat (if necessary).

 

Lethbridge Pronghorns at Alberta Golden Bears –  Very familiar opponents, with

Brody Clarke, U of A –         photo – Bears Athletics

Alberta enjoying home court, and a more experienced , deeper roster.  The Bears should be healthy and rested, while the ‘Horns had some intense action last weekend vs Victoria.  The Austin Waddoups – Dejon Burdeaux match-up should be worth the price of admission, and Elliott Sentance vs the den of U of A outside shooters will be a highlight as well.  Keys – Lethbridge – As always , try and keep Burdeaux on the floor, healthy.  Push the pace on offense without turning it over.  Get ‘secondary -scoring’ from other than Burdeaux and Sentance.  Stop U of A from getting it inside.  Win the rebounding battle. Alberta – Use their depth, and wear down the ‘Horns starters.  Fill it up with 3 pointers (tops in Canada West in % treys and # scored per game).  Attack with Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke.  Concentrate defense on the 2 Lethbridge king-pins.             8 pm Thur, Fri and 7 pm Sat (if a 3rd)

 

Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC’s 5th year guard  – photo –  T’Birds Athletics – Richie Lam

Manitoba Bisons  at UBC Thunderbirds –  Manitoba’s Coach, Kirby Schepp, reminds us that the Herd lost by 8 in game 1 at UBC back in November, then ” … could, and maybe should have won game 2.”  That went 75-72, and was tight down the stretch.  Yes, but … the ‘Birds did go 19-1, which is a measure of their consistency and quality.

They are at War Memorial, a notorious ‘burial ground’ for visiting teams, and UBC has had some time to rest injured stars, Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor.  Manitoba is a match for UBC in terms of experience in their line-up, and they have won 15 of 17 to finish the season.  On the flip side, the Bisons have won only once vs the T’Birds in 23 games since January of 2001.  Keys – Manitoba – Disrupt the UBC offense; they cannot allow the ‘Birds to get too much momentum.  Take care of the ball.  Go after Morgan at both ends.  Do a ‘shut-down ‘ job on Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Share the load on offense, and use the bench.  UBC-  Establish their defensive style, and limit fouls.  Just do what they do on offense.  Whyte is a key catalyst for the rest of the squad.  Keep Morgan healthy.                              7 pm Thur, Fri and Sat ( if 3 are necessary).

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In the East –

The OUA first round games are getting underway tonight – Queens at Nipissing , Laurier at Laurentian , Lakehead at Toronto, and McMaster at Windsor  .  These are  ‘sudden victory’, and you move on to play the top seeds Carleton, Ryerson, Ottawa, Brock on Saturday.

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Strong rookie prospects throughout Canada West

Canada West Hoops’ ‘Co- Rookies of the Year’ , Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza, and Victoria’s Scott Kellum.

We have a large field of rookie to choose our All-Rookie Team from, and we think we can say that this is an exceptional class.  Without the playing minutes, and resulting scoring, and other stats, we can whittle down our list of honourees.  Our suspicion is that we may have some exceptional players in the following group, and they aren’t on our Team !   (reverse alpha order – just a quirk)

Jeff Rodehutskors,  Fwd, Calgary …  Trent Monkman, Wing, Thompson R. … Josaiah Meppelink, G, Trinity W … Madhu  McConnell, G, TRU … Scott Mazutinec,  W,  Lethbridge …  Triston Matthews, G, UBC-O … Craig Martin , G, Mt. Royal …  Tyrell Laing, G, UNBC … Cole Knudsen, F, Alberta … Kobyn Jopp, F, Brandon … Graeme Hyde-Lay, G, Victoria …  J.J. Hamel-Carey , G, Victoria … Benjamin Hillis, W, Regina …  Riley Braich, G  , Fraser V. … Emmanuel Akintunde, F, Saskatchewan.

 

 

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Overtime – 

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, commenting on star forward Conor Morgan’s readiness for play vs Manitoba this weekend, “He won’t be 100 per cent on Thursday night, but he’ll be healthy enough to contribute in some way.”  More on the T’Birds – Bisons in this story from Steve Ewan in The Province  

 

 

 

 

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

If you’re the TRU Wolf Pack, you will feel like visitors on your own campus, as you leave again on Wednesday for Calgary,  your 3rd road destination in as many weeks.  TRU were in Regina to finish League play, then last week a 3 game set in Brandon, finishing Sunday …  Monday a.m. on the road to Winnipeg, connecting flight through Calgary, and finally home to Kamloops.

TRU’s Scott Clark leads his ‘Pack to another play-off showdown with the Calgary Dinos.

The Wolf Pack face the #1 seeded Dinos starting Thursday in Calgary, a team they lost to in the Canada West Final last March.  Coach Scott Clark, speaking from the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon, allowed, “This schedule is beyond our control, so we just deal with it. We are very proud of our young team, who responded very well to a tough atmosphere in Brandon, and fought off a very athletic Bobcats team.  Now we’ll go back and rest, do laundry, and look at some film.  We hope the guys will be just as fired up to face the Dinos, and we know it will be a challenge.”

The Manitoba Bisons were busy making last minute plane reservations as well, as the Herd head out to Vancouver to meet the UBC Thunderbirds.  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp tells us, “It’s hard to arrange the flights .  You don’t know if you have 2 or 3 games … we may have to wait until Monday to get back home.  It’s expensive!  Meanwhile UM is prepping to play what Schepp calls ” … the best team in our League right now.”

Lethbridge are chartering a bus to return to Edmonton, where they just finished League play against the same Alberta Golden Bears 2 weeks ago.  Well, not exactly the same Bears; we’re pretty sure the starters for both teams will be more prominent in this 1/4 Final than in their last regular season encounter.

The Winnipeg Wesmen will also board a highway cruiser for their series in Saskatoon against the U of S Huskies.  The Ws took 3 games to subdue the UFV Cascades, but looked sharp in the Saturday 84-59 clincher, as their deep perimeter talent ran away from Fraser Valley.  Saskatchewan awaits with their vaunted pair of posts, and a deeper back-court than they’ve had in past seasons.

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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These are our choices, as we wait for the official list from the coaches voting.  Our 1st teamers are the ‘game changers’, and are most consistent at putting their stamp on the game.  Dejon Burdeaux does it all for the ‘Horns, while Thomas Cooper is a clutch scorer and rebounder for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov is the engine for TRU, with all the skills to turn pro. UBC’s Conor Morgan won the scoring title, and is having an amazing season.  Shane Osayande is a double-double almost every time he suits up for the Huskies.

Our 2nd team features U-Sports’ top 3 point shooter in Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay, and the all-round value delivered by UBC vet, Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Canada West’s top defensive disruptor and leading 3 pt % shooter is Calgary’s David Kapinga, while Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah fills a stat sheet with points / rebounds / assists. Josh Ross arrived as a transfer to MRU after an All-Canadian College career, and he gave the Cougars scoring, passing, and great rebounding.

Our 3rd team has the incredible ‘cross-over king’ Thadius Galvez of the Griffins, along with the Wesmen’s dynamic scoring guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Grant Sitton stood tall for the Vikes during one of their tougher seasons, and Brandon Tull finished his career at Regina as a record setter for that school.  Austin Waddoups is one of 3 Bears who could be on our list, but his energy, creativity, and timely scoring have launched Alberta to greater heights.

There are certainly others worthy of recognition, but we have 15.  You may wish to mention more of your favourites.  Feel free to share them with us.                                 (All-rookies Wednesday)

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Julian Spear Chief – Morris, playing  for the Pronghorns. photo – UL Sports

Overtime –

  • Former Lethbridge Pronghorns star,  Julien Spear Chief – Morris was recently elected as the President of Harvard University’s Law School Legal Aid Bureau.  This  article from Harvard  explains the significance of this election.       Thanks to Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp for passing this on to us.
  • The Victoria  Vikes made it to the CIS Nationals in 2012-13,  2013-14 and 2014-15, and were in the semi-finals in March of ’14 and ’15.  But 2 straight years with a 9-11 League record, missing play-offs last year, then bowing out in round 1 this campaign has Vikes supporters ‘concerned’.   14 year Head Coach, Craig Beaucamp, who has a 70% winning average in Canada West play, and is a 5 – time CW Coach of the Year is determined to get UVic back on top.  ““There are no quick fixes,” said Beaucamp. “It is going to take time. You can’t panic. You can’t just blow it up . Our current group has to get better.  We have a good core and I like it, but we need help. We are small up front. To be honest, we need to add to the mix.”    More on the Vikes’ plans this Times – Colonist  article by Cleve Dheensaw 

 

Wesmen, Horns Both Move On

 

Wesmen up the pace, and run past UFV

Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza attacks UFV’s Vijay Dhillon     photo – Kelly Morton, Wesmen Athletics

at Winnipeg  84 Fraser Valley   59 –  With a dominant 2nd half effort, the Ws took this 3rd and deciding game through defensive opportunism and offensive transition.  After a bit of a slow start, where they are down 34-30 at the half, the Wesmen lit the fire in the 3rd.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their 3rd year guard scoring 10 pts, and rookie Narcisse Ambanza 8 pts in the frame.  That 18 point Winnipeg lead became 20, then 25 as the home team finished with authority.

Fraser Valley gave the Wesmen a tough go in game 1 and 2, slowing down the UW attack, and using their own 3 point shooting to advantage.  In this deciding game, it was Winnipeg dictating the pace. “We were able to get out in transition in the 2nd half”, said Head Coach Mike Raimbault following the win. “They slowed us down at times, and Adam (Friesen, UFV Coach) did a good job with his guys .  We finished better today when we created those chances.”

On the game it was Ambanza tallying 22 points, many off the break, and Lynch -Blair   adding 19 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 steals.  The Ws get another ‘blue collar’ effort from William Sesay, who had 10 points and secured 12 rebounds.  Winnipeg out-shot a rattled UFV squad 49% to 32% from the floor, and had an exceptional ‘ball control’ game with just 7 turnovers.

Fraser Valley  had just 2 players in double figures, as Manny Dulay scored 11 and Mark Johnson 10.  The 3 point attack just wasn’t there for the visitors, with Dulay, playing his last game for the Cascades, getting lots of extra attention from Winnipeg defenders.  Box  Score      …     The Wesmen will skip over to Saskatchewan next week to meet the #2 seeded Huskies in a best of 3 quarter-final.

 

Dejon Burdeaux carries the Pronghorns to a sweep of UVic.  photo – ‘Horns Athletics

at Lethbridge 94  Victoria  85 –  For 3/4s it was Victoria with a 7 point spread, as they had at the half.   The Vikes were much more solid than on Friday, and their defense had held the ‘Horns in check.

But Lethbridge cranked it up at both ends in the final 10 minutes, pouring in 33 points to close out the series.  When called upon, Dejon Burdeaux has found a way to get Lethbridge on top, and tonight he did that in spades.  His 34 points came from tough drives to the hoop,  off steals, and at the foul line.  The 4th year guard from Oakland, CA  is constantly in the centre of the action, as 6 steals and 12 rebounds would attest. He created scores for teammates, but did much of the heavy-lifting on his own.  Zac Overwater was also key for the ‘Horns with 14 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assists.  Team rebounding  (UL 47 – UVic 29) created extra chances for the home side, and they cashed 29/39 from the line, as well as going 43% from 3 point range.

The Vikes also shot well from the stripe at 21/23, but ran out of offense when the ‘Horns clamped down in the 4th.   Grant Sitton scored 23 points in his last game for the Vikes, adding 7 rebounds.  His scoring total was matched by a strong game from Hassan Abdullahi, who hit  8/9 from the floor, including 5/5 from 3 point range. Box  Score        Lethbridge qualifies for the quarter-finals, and will meet # 3 Alberta beginning next Thursday night in Edmonton.

 

TRU’s Voldymyr Iegorov posts a big double-double to pace the ‘Pack past Brandon in game 2.

Thompson Rivers 96   at Brandon 64  –   That’s 95+ for the ‘Pack on consecutive nights, and Coach Scott  Clark’s call for defense gets results, as his Wolves force a game 3 on Sunday.  Brandon cannot mount a steady offense, and the shots would not fall for the home side.  TRU hit 48% from the floor to a mere 33% for the ‘Cats.   A real team effort from the visitors, with 11 Wolves hitting the scoresheet, and tremendous team rebounding edge of 54-39 over BU.

The Wolf Pack force a 3rd game  with great long-ball shooting at 12/22 from 3, led by the 3 apiece from Luke Morris and Derek Rhodes.  Meanwhile their all-star 5th year forward, Voldymyr Iegorov scores 20 points, grabs 15 rebounds and makes 3 steals.  Rhodes leads all scorers with 21 pts, and Joe Davis, the 2nd year forward from Kamloops continues his smart play, hitting 6/7 from the floor for 14 points/ 4 rebs.

Brandon got 13 points/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts from Earl Thompson Jr. , and are now challenged to get their offense back on track, and halt the TRU scoring going the other way.  Box  Score          …      Game 3 goes at 3 pm Central on Sunday.

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In the East –  Saturday 

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 75  Acadia 63   Both Dalhousie and UNB have clinched the top 2 seeds  in the AUS tournament at Halifax. There are still games left next week in the AUS regular season.

Quebec – McGill 89  Bishops 71  … the Redmen have clinched 1st in the RSEQ, but there are league games remaining to be played next week.

Ontario – at #1 Carleton 100 Toronto 36,  #5 Ryerson 94 at #3 Ottawa 88 , #4 Brock 91  Windsor 69, Western  95  McMaster 89,  at Guelph 76 Waterloo 74,  at Algoma 88  Nipissing 87, W. Laurier 78  at Lakehead  75

These are the final OUA League games.  The top 4 seeds (by RPI ratings)  , with a bye until the quarter-finals are 1 Carleton  2 Ottawa  3 Ryerson  4 Brock   The 1st round of play-offs are as follows –  #9 McMaster at #8 Windsor ,    #12 Lakehead at #5 Toronto,  #11 Queen’s at #6 Nipissing #10 Laurier at #7 Laurentian … games are Weds, Feb 22.

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Overtime –

  • In Canada West Women’s play-offs –   UBC 76  UNBC  55 – a sweep for the T’Birds. Fraser Valley 61  Calgary 59 – the series goes to a 3rd game at 5 pm Pacific Sunday.   Victoria 68  MacEwan 60–  UVic wins the series 2-0,  Trinity Western 67  Brandon 60 – TWU wins the series 2-1.

 

 

Play-off Probabilities – 1 Game Left

 

With a win by the favoured Golden Bears 

Will Dejon Burdeaux and the ‘Horns upset the Bears?                   photo- UL Athletics

We present 2 possibilities for play-off seeding, with just the 1 game remaining in regular season play.  The first, shown below, has the Bears winning tonight’s home game / Senior Night vs Lethbridge. You see the results, as calculated using the Rating Percentage Index to order the 12 playoff teams.  (Mt. Royal was tied in Won -Loss with Thompson Rivers, but lose in a tie-breaker.  TRU won a game over Manitoba, while MRU had 2 close losses). The Cougars and Wolf-Pack did not meet in the regular season.

 

The RPI re-shuffles the standings based on the relative strength of schedules.  Teams play very different slates of games, and this is a ‘common’ way of recognizing the inequity of various schedules. (As confusing and frustrating as it might be for some teams and fans).

  • UBC is 19-1, but their schedule was among the ‘softest’ when the stats are in. So the T-Birds drop to the 4 seed
  • Alberta’s schedule is among the toughest, and they get a boost, with a 15-5 record, up to the #1 seed.
  • You’ll also note the 11-9 Fraser Valley Cascades, are 10th seed, while the 8-12 TRU Wolf-Pack are 9, and Brandon, at 9-11 finish way up in 7th.   (RPI folks !)

But, what if, for some reason, Lethbridge wins vs Alberta tonight ?

Then, we have some changes, and not only at the top.  We still have the same 12 play-off teams, but with some re-shuffling with RPI tweaks for every team.

  • Calgary jumps over Alberta to the #1 seed, and the Bears drop to #3, with Saskatchewan bumping up to #4.
  • Winnipeg moves into the #7 position, and Brandon to #8.

All this means that we get some different play-off match-ups in some cases.  It also means that the Dinos have the inside -track to hosting the Final 4, assuming they can win a quarter-final series.   Here’s the new play-off grid, if the ‘Horns knock off the Bears in tonight’s final League contest. (*** Note –  Lethbridge will be the #6 seed, regardless of tonights result).

There’s all sorts of intrigue with these possible match-ups, and the site for the Final 4 can, of course, be crucial to the outcome.