Saskatchewan Hosts Winnipeg, and Calgary in Victoria for Key Series’
The Winnipeg Wesmen are hoping to carry the 7-0 momentum they have built this past month as they travel West to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Ws, in the minds of many CIS coaches are be facing their biggest test to date, and Coach Mike Raimbault and his charges hope to repeat their sweep of the U of S from last year.
The 1-1 Dinos are in Victoria to face the 1-1 Vikes, as two other squads with ‘big plans’ match-up on Ken and Kathy Shields Court at the Blue and Gold hued CARSA Centre. It’s a test of the #4 ranked Dinos’ and the un-ranked Vikes’ ability to pull tgether after key line-up changes for both teams. The match-ups in our ‘key clashes’ …
Winnipeg at Saskatchewan – Despite their 7-0 record this Fall, the Wesmen get no mention in the CIS Top 10 poll. Last January they got a pair of home wins over these Huskies in Winnipeg, but this road series may prove a bit more rugged. The Ws have skill and depth at guard, with Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay, Jamar Farley, and import transfer, Sean Tarver. It remains to be seen if Billy Yaworsky and Ryan Oirbans have enough help up front to hold off a bigger U of S squad. The Huskies feature Shane Osayande, Trevor Severinski, and Matt Forbes , 6-5 Jaylan Morgan adding another weapon. The U of S guards have to hold their own, then the ‘Dogs may howl. Our Call – A split is in order, especially if Winnipeg’s full court defense can be effective.
Calgary at Victoria – Two traditionally competitive teams, both in search of a sweep this weekend. The Dinos and the Vikes had 1 impressive win last week, and 1 ‘not-so-much’! Thomas Cooper is a deadly offensive threat for UC, and he has Lars Schleuter, a long range bomber, alongside. The guards are explosively quick. David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, and newcomers Max Eisle and Mambi Diawara can be suffocating at the defensive end. Victoria are leaning heavily on 5th year forward, Grant Sitton, for scoring, and he now has Wayne Tucker Jr. (tsf Olds College) and Jake Newman (tsf Lafayette U) for assistance. There is new depth at the guard spot where Scott Kellum, JJ Hamel-Carey, and Hassan Abdullahi may prove an effective combo. Our Call – The best guess might be a split, having seen just that result for the past 2 seasons in League play.
The Original ‘Mad Viking’ …
The Calgary Dinos, when they play on The Island this week, should be thankful that they will not be ‘greeted’ by the original ‘Mad Viking’ mascot. Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard prowled the court perimeter for Coach Ken Shields and his championship UVic teams of the ’80s. This was not a rubber axe, and ‘Hubb’ was not a subtle fan! Opposition players of the day couldn’t help but look over their shoulders to keep an eye on his menacing presence.
Coach Shields remembers ‘only a couple of occasions ‘ when ‘Hubb’ actually did any notable damage with his weapon! One of the great characters in Canada West history.
And, the remainder of the Canada West slate for week 2 –
Thurs – Lethbridge at Mt. Royal – This is the Cougars’ home opener, and they face a Pronghorns team that has 2 wins from last week. U of L has some building confidence in 2 import lynch-pins, guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and wing man, Elliott Sentance. The ‘Horns seem to have all their ‘antelopes’ match-fit, and they may have the local talent to compliment the skills of Bordeaux and Sentance. Zac Overwater and Mike Pierzchala, an LCI and Winston Churchill HS grad, can be impact players in their own right. MRU were up and down in the pre-season, and there may be some depth concerns, especially on the forward line. The addition of the multi-talented Josh Ross (tsf Vancouver Island U.) will help, and he should combine nicely with 2nd year all-star forward, Brett Layton. Guards Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang will have to be sharp if the Cougars are to come out on top. Our Call – Lethbridge could sweep, we feel. MRU will be fighting for a split.
Friday / Saturday – UBC-O at Brandon – This is a true mystery. Okanagan travels to Brandon so rarely ( well, actually just once … an 8 point loss in 2014). The ‘Cats need these wins on home court. The Heat have some chemistry building with Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard, but they also need their big men, Ryan Morck and David Manshrek to battle the BU front line. Those ‘Big ‘Cats’ are led by the strong efforts of Earl Thompson Jr., and the improving John Paul, a 6-11 ‘handful’. Import guard Tyvon Cooper seems to be the scoring guard Brandon needs, as he averaged 17 ppg last week at Alberta. Our Call – Who feels comfortable down the stretch? This is a toss-up on paper, but an edge to the home team.
Thompson Rivers at Manitoba – The Wolf Pack have a tough task in facing the Herd out in ‘Ft. Garry’. Manitoba has the fire-power that TRU lost to graduation. The ‘Pack still have Volodymyr Iegorov, Micheal Rouault, and Jeff Tubbs, but they are a team in the -re-building process. The Bisons are packed with talented veterans, like Keith Omoerah, AJ Basi, Justus Alleyn, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander. At their best, the Herd will Stampede all over many Canada West teams. Our Call – Two decisive Manitoba wins.
Regina at MacEwan – This is a test for two teams with playoff potential. The Cougars have the ultimate ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team so far. They win by 20 vs UVic last Saturday, after dropping a 95-77 home opener to the Vikes on Friday. Brian Ofori has looked like a leader on their forward line, and they have 5th year vets Travis Sylvester and Stephen Shields in their top 9. Guards Brandon Tull, Aaron McGowan, and Alex Igual get help from newcomer, import Johneil Johnson. MacEwan, too, have a good core of vets, with Thadius Galvez and Denzel James, their backcourt strength. Keith Gerdes and Harrison Lane head-up a ‘medium sized’ front court in need of some scoring punch. Our Call – Regina wins at least one, but MacEwan is ‘sneakily competitive’, and may surprise us.
Trinity Western at Fraser Valley – Flush with their Saturday win at UBC-O, the Spartans are set to challenge for ‘Kings of the Valley’ ! UFV have won all 6 games in the past 3 seasons, and will be a tough out for TWU. The Cascades guard corps look best in this match-up, with Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, and 6-4 transfer (College of the Desert) Anthony Gilchrist off the bench. The Green start 3 forwards … Nav Bains, Andrew Morris, and Mark Johnson, and they are part of a pretty effective defensive unit. Trinity have bigger, but less mobile forwards in Patrick Vandervelden and Matt Hayashi. There is some developing strength in import, Pogos Trunyan, along with scoring wing, Vartan Tanielian, and lead guard, Tyus Allen. Our Call – Has TWU turned a corner? We don’t have the ‘faith’ of their followers yet, but they will give UFV a good challenge this week.
Alberta at UNBC – The Bears go on the road with their 2 opening wins from last week, and the T’Wolves will hope the friendly environs of the Northern Sports Centre in Prince George will give them an edge. Alberta comes with the ‘golden duo’ of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke at forward; this a severe challenge for the ‘Wolves’ Vaggelis Loukas and Anthony Hokanson. Rhys Elliot and Marcus MacKay give UNBC a pair of able scoring guards, who will have to out-play U of A’s new arrivals Austin Waddoups and Andre Kelly. Our Call – The Golden Bears have an edge here, and will be aiming for the sweep. A top effort from the T’Wolves will be necessary for a win.
Saturday – Mt. Royal travels to Lethbridge for game 2.
UBC has the bye this week.
UBC Climbs to 2nd in Week 2
The UBC Thunderbirds, looking strong in the early-going this season, were voted #2 in this week’s coaches’ poll for the CIS. Calgary, who dropped their opener to Manitoba, were demoted to the #4 slot.
There are 6 OUA teams in the 12 mentioned in the poll , including the ‘Mighty Ravens’ of Carleton at #1. The Alberta Golden Bears appear as an ‘honourable mention.
- The Saskatchewan Huskies will be wearing special ‘camo’ game jerseys when they host Winnipeg this weekend, in tribute to those Canadians who served / serve in the military. Coach Barry Rawlyk says, “Remembrance Day is reserved in Canada for us to honour and remember those who bravely served and scarified for our great country,” said head coach Barry Rawlyk. “We also believe it is a time to express our appreciation to all of the men and women in uniform that courageously and unselfishly serve our nation.” From U of S Athletics
- TRU Coach, Scott Clark, on the new scheduling format for Canada West , “ … there are not two teams in the conference that play the same schedule,” Clark said. “To call it a schedule, I think, is a misnomer, in that I believe we just play some games and at the end they’re going to compare everybody. It’s no fault of whoever makes the schedule. It’s a 17-team conference — it’s monumental. Really, you can’t [have a schedule] with 17 teams. But my opinion was always that the conference needs to be divided.” From Kamloops This Week.
- We have the first of several home and home series which are part of that somewhat disjointed League schedule this season. Mt. Royal hosts Lethbridge on Thursday, then travel South for the return bout on Saturday, while the ‘Valley Neighbours’, Trinity Western and Fraser Valley exchange home courts on Friday/Saturday. This would seem like a great way to build on regional rivalries.