Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the week across Canada West, the OUA, RSEQ and the AUS.
Gee-Gees take down Ravens 32-10 to win second straight Panda Game
In OUA football action, the 51st edition of the Panda Game between the Ottawa Gee-Gees and the crosstown Carleton Ravens saw the Gee-Gees post a 32-10 victory and retain the Pedro the Panda Trophy for a second straight year. A record (and sellout) crowd of 24,600 showed up at Ottawa’s TD Place for the game, and there were plenty of big names present. That included a pair of Ottawa alumni who handled the pre-game coin toss: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and Ottawa Redblacks’ kicker Lewis Ward.
As for the game itself, the Gee-Gees opened the scoring on a rouge, but the Ravens responded with a first-quarter field goal and then a second-quarter touchdown pass from Tanner DeJong to Quinton Soares, taking a 10-1 lead. Ottawa struck back after that, though; a safety put them back within seven, and then Carleton running back Nathan Carter fumbled in the end zone and the Gee-Gees’ Tramayne Stephen recovered for a game-tying touchdown.
After that, Réshaan Davis forced a fumble from DeJong and Francis Perron recovered and took the ball 22 yards for a touchdown that put Ottawa into the lead. Gee-Gees’ running backs Jordan Burgher and Donald Shaw then added further touchdowns, leading to Ottawa’s eventual 32-10 win. The Gee-Gees gained only 211 offensive yards on the day compared to the Ravens’ 405, but their defence came up big time after time, and their offence capitalized when it counted.
This win improved Ottawa’s all-time record in the Panda Game to 34-17, and also marked their third win since the game returned in 2013. The Gee-Gees are now 4-2 on the year, and will host the 1-6 Windsor Lancers next week. The 2-4 Ravens will host the 5-1 McMaster Marauders.
Elsewhere in OUA football, the No. 1 Western Mustangs beat the No. 10 Waterloo Warriors 45-42 at home Saturday on a field goal from Marc Liegghio with no time remaining, extending their OUA regular-season winning streak to 29 games. Their last OUA regular-season loss came Sept. 4, 2016 against Carleton. Also in OUA action, the No. 4 McMaster Marauders beat the Toronto Varsity Blues 16-8 on the road, while the No. 5 Guelph Gryphons had a bye.
In RSEQ play, the No. 2 Montreal Carabins posted a 21-3 home win over McGill, while the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or shut out the Concordia Stingers 74-0 at home. In Canada West, the No. 7 Saskatchewan Huskies beat the Manitoba Bisons 49-21 at home, and the No. 8 Calgary Dinos picked up a 34-16 home win against the No. 9 Alberta Golden Bears. In AUS play, the No. 6 Acadia Axemen had a bye, but the Bishop’s Gaiters picked up a 17-11 road win over the StFX X-Men.
Gaels take down Martlets in game marking 100th anniversary of Canadian university women’s basketball
There was a special women’s basketball preseason game Saturday, with the McGill Martlets hosting the Queen’s Gaels in a game celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s university basketball in Canada. In the 1919-20 season, McGill bested Queen’s in a pair of games, winning 21-16 on Feb. 6, 1920 and 21-7 the next day. With the teams currently in separate conferences (RSEQ for McGill, OUA for Queen’s), it made sense to celebrate that during the preseason rather than the conference slate, and while McGill hosted the anniversary game, Queen’s won it 77-55.
The game also featured a pair of notable team ambassadors. McGill was represented by Vicky Tessier, a five-time All-Canadian from 1992-97 and a McGill Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Queen’s was represented by Lisa Minutillo, who played for the Gaels beginning in 2010 and then went on to play and coach in France.
When this game tipped off, the Gaels jumped out to a 20-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Martlets cut the deficit to 34-30 by half. However, Queen’s took over from there, outscoring McGill 21-12 and 22-13 in the final quarters. Sophie de Goede led the way for the Gaels with 20 points, while Julia Chadwick added 12 and Emily Ritcey, Michelle Istead, and Isabella Belvedere all had 11. For the Martlets, Sirah Diarra recorded a team-high nine points.
Badgers edge Lions to move on to OUA semifinals
The OUA playoffs began this week in women’s rugby, and the Brock Badgers came out with a hard-fought 19-15 home win over the York Lions in the quarterfinals. That marked York’s first loss of the season. It also marked the second straight season where the Badgers knocked out the Lions in the quarterfinals.
Brock was down to 14 players with 10 minutes left in the first half and trailed 5-0 at the half, but came up big in the second half. Niamh Haughey, Loramhel Mateo and Miia Sorra recorded second-half tries for the Badgers, while Daniella Michaud added two converts. For York, Faith Williams and Michela Stratton each recorded a try.
Things don’t get any easier for Brock after this, though, as they’ll head to Kingston to face the No. 1 Queen’s Gaels in the OUA semifinals next week. The other OUA quarterfinal this week saw the No. 10 McMaster Marauders post a 71-0 home win over the Trent Excalibur; McMaster will face the No. 4 Guelph Gryphons next week.
The playoffs will also get underway in RSEQ next week, with the Carleton Ravens hosting the Concordia Stingers and the Sherbrooke Vert & Or hosting the Montreal Carabins; the No. 1 Laval Rouge et Or and No. 6 Ottawa Gee-Gees have byes to the semifinals. Canada West and AUS each still have a week of regular season play left.
Patriotes best No. 1 Carabins
RSEQ men’s soccer saw a big upset Thursday, as the UQTR Patriotes beat the No. 1 Montreal Carabins 3-2 on the road. Félix Bouchard and Guillaume Comtois-Noël recorded early goals for UQTR, and the Patriotes led most of the way. Mouad Ouzane pulled one back for Montreal in the 77th minute and Paul Mortas tied the game soon afterwards, but Jean-Simon Cournoyer then netted the winner for UQTR. Keeper Félix Clapin-Girard made four saves for the Patriotes in the win.
The Carabins rebounded with a 3-2 home win over McGill Sunday. Some other notable U SPORTS men’s soccer results saw the No. 2 Cape Breton Capers beat the Mount Allison Mounties 5-0 at home in AUS play Saturday, the No. 4 York Lions beat the Waterloo Warriors 1-0 at home in OUA play Sunday, and the UBC Okanagan Heat earn a 2-2 road draw against the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds In Canada West play Sunday.
Pandas start CW title defence with big wins over Thunderbirds
The U SPORTS women’s hockey season started this week for AUS and Canada West teams, and Canada West play saw a couple of impressive wins by the defending Canada West champion Alberta Pandas (picked to repeat their conference title in a preseason coaches’ poll). The Pandas hosted the UBC Thunderbirds Friday and Saturday, winning those games 7-1 and 7-0. Alberta’s Alex Poznikoff, the reigning U SPORTS Player of the Year, scored twice and added an assist in Friday’s game and added four more points in Saturday’s game, while Autumn MacDougall and Madison Willan also had four-point games for the Pandas Saturday.
Elsewhere in Canada West, the Lethbridge Pronghorns beat the Manitoba Bisons 4-3 and 4-1 in a pair of home games Friday and Saturday, and the Calgary Dinos picked up 2-0 and 4-2 home wins Friday and Saturday against the Regina Cougars, while the Saskatchewan Huskies won 1-0 on the road against the Mount Royal Cougars Friday before losing the rematch 3-1 Sunday.
In AUS play, the Saint Mary’s Huskies (who won conference titles in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, but fell to the St. Thomas Tommies in the conference finals last year) topped the conference’s first-ever preseason coaches’ poll, and they, the X-Women and the UPEI Panthers all recorded pairs of wins this weekend. Saint Mary’s beat the Dalhousie Tigers 4-3 and took down the Moncton Aigles Bleus 5-0, while StFX beat the Mount Allison Mounties 4-0 and posted a 4-1 win over the Tigers, and UPEI edged the UNB Reds 2-0 and beat the Mounties 6-0.
Social media posts of the week
In international swimming, University of Toronto alum Kylie Masse (named the Varsity Blues’ T-Holders' female athlete of the year for four straight seasons from 2015-16 through 2018-2019, plus their rookie of the year in 2014-15 and the national Lieutenant Governor Athletic Award winner in 2015-16) became the first Canadian to ever win an event in the new International Swimming League.
Competing for the Cali Condors in the ISL’s debut event in Indianapolis, Masse posted a personal-best time of 2:01.89 to win the women’s 200m backstroke. Masse also finished second in the women’s 100m backstroke, and teammate Kelsey Wog (a Manitoba Bisons’ star) finished second in the 200m individual medley. The Condors finished second overall to the the Energy Standard team, which also featured several Canadians.
In international rugby, the Canadian women’s rugby sevens team (including plenty of athletes with U SPORTS ties) took part in the 12-team HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event in Glendale, Colorado this weekend, recording a win against Fiji, a draw against Australia, a narrow 29-26 loss to the U.S. (the eventual champions), a 40-14 win over Ireland, and a 12-7 loss to Spain in the fifth-place match. Canadian captain Ghislaine Landry, a StFX X-Women alum, scored Canada’s only try in that final match.
In international volleyball, the Canadian senior men’s indoor team (featuring a strong U SPORTS presence) started the FIVB World Cup in Nagano, Japan with wins over Egypt and Australia. McMaster Marauders’ alum Stephen Maar led all scorers in that second match with 24 points.
And in international wrestling, Concordia Stingers’ alum Linda Morais was awarded Wrestling Canada Lutte’s Quest for Gold Award for 2019, which comes with a grant of $5,000. Morais recorded Canada’s lone podium appearance at the world championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan last month, winning gold in the 59kg category.
Meanwhile, the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors held their training camp at Université Laval this week, and that came with a sold-out crowd for a scrimmage and with a donation to the school:
Andrew has been covering university sports in Canada since 2005 at outlets such as The Queen's Journal, The CIS Blog, and Yahoo Canada, where he also served as the editor of the Canadian football blog 55-Yard Line. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queen's University with a major in history, and currently works as a staff writer and editor for Awful Announcing and The Comeback.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewBucholtz