Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the weekend.
Ravens best Gee-Gees in double overtime, Dinos, Mustangs and Rams get top-10 wins
It was a packed week of football action, with three games between teams ranked in the Top 10. However, the highlight of the weekend may have come from unranked teams, with the 1-3 Carleton Ravens edging the 4-1 Ottawa Gee-Gees 33-30 in double overtime in the 49th edition of the annual Panda Game. The crosstown rivals played in front of a sold-out crowd of 24,420 at TD Place, a modern-day (since Carleton resumed football in 2013) record, and the fans got to see plenty of twists and turns.
The Ravens led 13-0 at one point in the second quarter, but Ottawa came storming back. The Gee-Gees reduced the deficit to 16-7 at the half and led 21-16 heading into the final quarter. Carleton managed to cut Ottawa’s lead to four on a rouge from fifth-year kicker Michael Domagala, and then took the lead with just over two minutes left when third-year receiver Phil Iloki made a great one-handed grab on a throw from second-year quarterback Michael Arruda, then raced down the field for a 75-yard touchdown. And Ravens’ fourth-year defensive back Jay Dearborn forced a fumble from Gee-Gees’ freshman quarterback Alex Lavric on a third-and-inches gamble on the ensuing drive, with fourth-year defensive back Justin Howell recovering to give Carleton the ball with just 51 seconds left and seemingly provide a win.
However, the Ravens couldn’t get a first down, and a muffed snap on their punt attempt gave Ottawa possession at the Carleton 44 with 20 seconds left thanks to a tackle from second-year defensive back Alex Douglas. Lavric threw incomplete on first down, but then completed a pass to fifth-year receiver Tyler McLaren for seven yards to set up a field goal attempt from fifth-year kicker Lewis Ward. Ward hit from 45 yards out with no time on the clock to send the game to overtime and make those tweets about the Ravens’ win appear thoroughly too soon.
The teams didn’t advance too far in the first overtime, settling for a 32-yard field goal from Domagala and a 40-yarder from Ward. Ottawa got the ball first in double overtime, and made it to the Carleton 3 (thanks to two Ravens’ holding penalties) before getting knocked back to the 13 on a hold of their own. Lavric then hit McLaren for 12 to set up second-and-goal from the one, but fourth-year running back Bryce Viera was stopped, and the Gee-Gees settled for a field goal. That would bite them when Arruda raced in himself from six yards out for the game-winning score on Carleton’s next possession, leading to Ravens’ fans storming the field:
That marked Carleton’s fourth-straight Panda Game victory (a school record; Ottawa holds the series record with seven straight wins from 1957 to 1963), and gave the Ravens a much-needed win in the wake of close losses to Waterloo and Laurier. There was plenty of interesting action elsewhere in U SPORTS football this weekend as well, with the No.2 Calgary Dinos besting the No.6 UBC Thunderbirds 31-17 Friday, the No.9 Regina Rams edging the Saskatchewan Huskies in a 50-40 shootout that day, the No.4 Western Mustangs beating the No.5 Laurier Golden Hawks 29-13 in a battle of previously undefeated teams Saturday, the Guelph Gryphons upsetting the Waterloo Warriors 53-49 after outscoring them 27-10 in the fourth quarter, the Saint Mary’s Huskies pulling off a final-minute comeback to beat the St. Francis Xavier X-Men 22-21, and Queen’s Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan getting his 150th career victory as a U SPORTS head coach with a 54-10 win over Windsor. But the Panda Game certainly lived up to its billing, delivering everything you could ask for and more and providing a great showcase for the university game.
No. 3 Gryphons edge No. 7 Marauders in OUA championship rematch
Friday saw a great Top 10 women’s rugby showdown, with No. 3 Guelph facing No. 7 McMaster in Hamilton, Ont., in a rematch of the 2016 OUA championship game 336 days earlier. Guelph lost to McMaster at home in the 2015 championship game, but beat the top-ranked Marauders 24-7 in Hamilton last year to claim their first conference title since 2012. In Friday’s rematch, the Gryphons again came out on top, winning 35-19 to finish the OUA regular season 4-0 and earn a bye into the semifinals. Guelph led 14-7 at the half, but pulled away after the break. Third-year centre Zana Everett recorded two tries for the Gryphons, while third-year fly half Julia Schell made all five of her convert attempts and added a try. Elsewhere in women’s rugby, the No.1 StFX X-Women beat the UPEI Panthers 93-0 Sunday, while the No.2 Laval Rouge et Or posted a 40-22 win over the Montreal Carabins Saturday.
Hufsmith wins Sled Dog Open
Second-year Saskatchewan Huskies’ runner Courtney Hufsmith is off to a stellar start in her first two races this year. Hufsmith won the six-kilometre Cougar Trot in Regina Sept. 16 with a time of 21:40.55, then claimed first at the Huskies’ own Sled Dog Open Saturday with a time of 30.54 over the eight-kilometre course. Saskatchewan finished fourth overall on the women’s side, though, while the Calgary Dinos took first on both the men’s and women’s sides. Third-year Calgary runner Russell Pennock won the men’s eight-kilometre race with a time of 26.04. Here’s a recap of the Sled Dog Open from the Huskies’ athletic department:
Elsewhere in U SPORTS cross country, Laurier Golden Hawks fourth-year runner Joe Sheridan and second-year runner Dan Hilbers finished first and third respectively on the men’s side at the Don Mills Open, hosted by the Waterloo Warriors, but the McMaster Marauders won the team event (bolstered by a fourth-place finish from second-year runner Dylan Alick). McMaster also won the women’s event, with fourth-year athletes Rachel Faulds and Erin Mawhinney placing first and second respectively. The host Warriors finished second in both the men’s and women’s events.
And the Queen’s Gaels competed in the 44th annual Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania against numerous top U.S. college teams, with the top-ranked women’s team finishing fourth in the gold race (against NCAA Division I schools) behind Utah State, Villanova and Georgia and the fifth-ranked men’s team winning the bronze race (against NCAA Division II and Division III schools). Second-year Queen’s runner Branna MacDougall and fifth-year runner Claire Sumner finished fourth and sixth on the women’s side, while fourth-year Gael Eric Wynands placed third on the men’s side.
No. 7 Capers knock off No. 4 X-Men
The seventh-ranked Cape Breton Capers are having a great start to the season so far, and they improved to 6-0-1 with a 3-1 win over the fourth-ranked St. Francis Xavier X-Men Friday and a 2-1 victory over the UPEI Panthers Sunday. First-year striker Charlie Waters led the way with two goals Friday and a goal and an assist Sunday, while second-year striker Cory Bent had a goal Friday and another Sunday.
Elsewhere in men’s soccer, the unranked Saskatchewan Huskies earned a 0-0 draw with the top-ranked Alberta Golden Bears Sunday (Alberta also beat the Lethbridge Pronghorns 7-0 Friday), while the second-ranked Montreal Carabins beat the UQTR Patriots 8-1 Thursday and edged the UQAM Citadins 1-0 Sunday.
Varsity Blues top Warriors and Gryphons in season-opening biathlon
The Waterloo Warriors, Guelph Gryphons and Toronto Varsity Blues annually open their swim season with the Waterloo Biathlon, with athletes running two kilometres before competing in a full slate of swimming events. The Blues recorded impressive victories in this year’s tri-meet in against both the Waterloo Warriors and Guelph Gryphons, beating Waterloo 150-54 and Guelph 141-61 on the men’s side and topping the Warriors 156-32 and the Gryphons 158.5-29.5 on the women’s side. Fifth-year Toronto swimmer Eli Wall won both the 50-metre and 100-metre breaststroke events on the men’s side, while fourth-year teammate Kylie Masse picked up a 100-metre freestyle win and not only won the 50-metre butterfly, but set a new pool record in the process.
Vikes get pair of 1-0 wins over Dinos, Dueck scores second and third goals
After starting their season with a hard-fought tie and loss against the UBC Thunderbirds two weeks ago (in a rematch of last year’s U SPORTS championship game), the Victoria Vikes picked up their first wins over the year this weekend. They beat the Calgary Dinos 1-0 both Saturday and Sunday, with first-year forward Leina Dueck scoring both goals off penalty corners. Dueck also scored in that 1-1 tie against UBC, so she’s the only Vikes’ player to score so far this year. Despite the wins, Victoria head coach Lynne Beecroft said after Sunday’s match that her team has plenty to work on:
"Calgary really out-worked us, out-hustled us and out-passed us today," Beecroft said. "We didn't really have to make any real saves but they had some corners and really played some nice team hockey. …"In all my years as a Vikes coach I have prided myself on having a team that out-worked or out-hustled a team but today, if we lost possession we just really didn't hustle back and I wasn't happy with that. We did get the 'W' but we need to recognize that we can't play one way hockey."
We’ll see how the Vikes do in their final regular-season games, which will take place next weekend on the road against UBC.
Callender scores four, helps Gaels record back-to-back six-goal games
No.10 Queen’s filled up the net this weekend in a pair of home games, besting the Ryerson Rams 6-1 Saturday and beating the Toronto Varsity Blues 6-2 Sunday. Fifth-year midfielder Laura Callender had a particularly great weekend, scoring a hat-trick against Ryerson and adding another goal against Toronto. That gave her nine goals on the season, second in U SPORTS behind only UBC fifth-year forward Jasmin Dhanda’s 11 (who picked up a goal and two assists in Friday’s 3-0 win over the MacEwan Griffins). Third-year Queen’s forward Jenny Wolever also had a solid weekend, setting up one of Callender’s goals Saturday while scoring one of her own and adding two goals Sunday. She has six goals and six assists on the year, putting her second nationally in points with 12 (to Dhanda’s 16) and tying her for first in assists with UBC fifth-year forward Aman Shergill (who had a goal Sunday in the Thunderbirds’ 1-1 draw with the UNBC Timberwolves).
Another offensive flurry this weekend came from the Brock Badgers, who recorded 4-0 and 7-0 wins over the Algoma Thunderbirds Saturday and Sunday. First-year midfielder Ashley Harris had two goals and an assist Saturday, while fourth-year defender Bethany Kromer had two goals and two assists Sunday. In other women’s soccer action, the No.1 Laval Rouge et Or beat the UQAM Citadins 3-0 Friday and the UQTR Patriotes 6-1 Sunday, while the No.10 UOIT Ridgebacks improved to 10-0-0 with a 2-1 win over the Trent Excalibur Saturday.
Social media posts of the week
Social media posts of the week
Carlos Verde had a nice look at the Gee-Gees’ Panda Game tribute shirts to Loic Kayembe, the Ottawa defensive end who passed away in his sleep at age 24 Sunday:
And a cool photo of Ottawa coach Jamie Barresi shaking hands with every Carleton player afterwards:
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.