Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the week.
No. 8 Gryphons claim Frosty Mug, Thunderbirds win Winter Classic, and Paladins face Army in 82nd West Point vs. RMC game
The U SPORTS men’s hockey world saw plenty of notable action this week, with three special games particularly standing out. In Ontario, the No. 8 Guelph Gryphons took on the Laurier Golden Hawks in the ninth-annual Frosty Mug game Thursday, winning the clash of the top two OUA West teams 5-0 before a sold-out crowd of 4,715 at Guelph’s Sleeman Centre. The Gryphons jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals from Scott Simmonds, Marc Stevens and Manny Gialedakis, then added further goals from Seth Swenson and Josh McFadden in the second and third periods respectively. And head coach Shawn Camp was thrilled afterwards:
"The Frosty Mug's always a special event for the guys, a chance to show our brand of hockey to folks in the community and here downtown," Camp said with a hoarse voice. "They were excited to go and we got off to a great start. With that kind of start, it put us in good shape for the rest of the games."
"There's such a camaraderie and excitement in the crowd. It's something special about the University of Guelph. Our students and our fans are so passionate and it's so fun to see them having fun together. It was just a wonderful event."
The weekend didn’t end as well for Guelph, though, as the Gryphons lost 3-1 to the Brock Badgers Friday. Meanwhile, the UBC Thunderbirds faced the Lethbridge Pronghorns in the fourth annual Winter Classic, and set a team record with an attendance of 5,500 fans Friday. That game was 1-1 heading into the third period, but Tyler Sandhu put UBC ahead 55 seconds into that final period by firing the puck wide of the net and having it bounce off the end boards, off goalie Garret Hughson and in. Lethbridge didn’t give up though, and Thunderbirds’ goalie Matt Hewitt made a great save with 45 seconds left to keep UBC ahead and preserve the 2-1 win.
UBC then followed up that with a 4-3 double overtime win over Lethbridge Saturday to sweep the weekend series, thanks to a game-winning goal from Nick Buonassisi. Another notable game this weekend saw the Royal Military College Paladins face the Army Black Knights in the 82nd annual West Point versus RMC Game. That game was played Friday at Kingston’s K-Rock Centre, with the Black Knights emerging with a 5-0 win:
This is also a good chance to recommend Nick Faris’ excellent recent National Post feature on the history of RMC and Queen’s hockey and their crosstown battles over the years.
Pandas best No. 2 Dinos
There was a big upset in women’s volleyball this Friday, with the unranked University of Alberta Pandas taking down their provincial rivals, the No. 2 Calgary Dinos. After the home-team Pandas claimed the two opening sets, the Dinos battled back hard, but Alberta emerged with a 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 16-25, 15-10 win. Kory White had a game-high 21 kills for the Pandas, while Erin Corbett added 11 kills and four service aces and Shauntelle Hogg and rookie outside hitter Julia Zonneveld each contributed 10 kills.
The Dinos struck back Saturday, though, recovering after falling behind 2-0 to beat Alberta 15-25, 9-25, 25-22, 25-14, 15-9. Kate Pexman had 24 kills for Calgary, while setter Leah Shevkenek contributed 40 assists and 21 digs. Elsewhere in women’s volleyball, the No. 3 UBC Okanagan Heat swept the Brandon Bobcats in three and four sets, while the No. 4 Montreal Carabins pulled off a five-set win over the UQAM Citadins and another five-set win over the No. 10 Laval Rouge et Or. The No. 6 McMaster Marauders came up with a three-set win over the Waterloo Warriors, and the No. 7 Ryerson Rams earned a three-set win over the York Lions and a four-set win over the Nipissing Lakers.
Panthers top No. 1 Axewomen
There was a big upset in women’s basketball this weekend, with the UPEI Panthers beating the No. 1 Acadia Axewomen 88-68 Saturday. The Panthers only led by five points at the half, but managed to pull away substantially after the break. Kiera Rigby had a game-high 25 points for UPEI and added five rebounds and four assists, while Reese Baxendale added 19 points and Jenna Mae Ellsworth had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Panthers shot 42.1 per cent from three-point range and held the Axewomen to 15.6 per cent from deep, well below their season mark of over 31 per cent.
Cibasu and Korte compete in Shrine Game, U SPORTS players compete for Canada U-19 team against U.S. U-19 team
The famed U.S. East-West Shrine Game saw its 93rd iteration this weekend, and there was once again a U SPORTS connection. Canadian university football players have taken part in this renowned U.S. college all-star game annually since 1985, with Montreal Carabins’ receiver Régis Cibasu and Alberta Golden Bears’ offensive lineman Mark Korte representing U SPORTS this year. Cibasu won the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy in 2014 as the Vanier Cup MVP in 2014 after helping the Carabins edge the McMaster Marauders 20-19, while Korte followed in the footsteps of his father Brent (who played in this game in 1989) and became part of the first father-son combination ever in the Shrine Game. Cibasu and Korte were ranked eighth and 12th respectively on the December CFL Scouting Bureau list. The West came out on top in this year’s Shrine Game, winning 14-10.
Elsewhere, 20 U SPORTS players were part of the U-19 Canadian team that took on the U-19 American team at the International Bowl Saturday, but they fell 47-7. The U-18 Canadian team, featuring several future U SPORTS players, beat the U-18 U.S. team 44-26 Friday, though. Carleton Ravens’ head coach Steve Sumurah, the head coach of both the U-18 and U-19 Canadian teams, was upbeat after the U-18 team’s win Friday:
Sumurah said getting the chance to represent Canada was special.
“For me, to be able to have this on my chest (maple leaf), it’s a very proud moment for me,” he said. “I have coached in a lot of football in the last 20 years, but there’s something to be said about winning, wearing your Canadian colours proudly.”
No. 7 Voyageurs give No. 1 Ravens a test, No. 2 Badgers and No. 3 Golden Bears earn wins
This weekend’s most thrilling men’s basketball clash may have come from the No. 1 Carleton Ravens and No. 7 Laurentian Voyageurs on Friday. In front of a home crowd at the Ravens’ Nest, Carleton was able to come away with a 71-67 win. A lot of the game was relatively smooth sailing for the Ravens, who led 21-9 after the first quarter and were up 58-39 heading into the fourth quarter. But Laurentian made it awfully close, finishing the third quarter with a 10-3 run and then notching 28 fourth-quarter points to Carleton’s 13. In the end, though, the Ravens came out on top, with Munis Tutu notching 10 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and four steals and Yasiin Joseph and Mitch Jackson adding 14 points each. Nelson Yengue led Laurentian with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Voyageurs ended the weekend with a 79-71 win over the No. 9 Ottawa Gee-Gees Saturday, while the Ravens came up with an impressive 94-66 win over the Nipissing Lakers. Elsewhere, the No. 2 Brock Badgers came up with a 99-88 road win over the Guelph Gryphons Friday and a 83-54 win over the Windsor Lancers Saturday. The No. 3 Alberta Golden Bears beat the Mount Royal Cougars 67-55 Friday and 73-64 Saturday. The No. 4 Calgary Dinos beat the UBC Okanagan Heat 101-56 Friday and 79-66 Saturday. And the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds beat the MacEwan Griffins 96-72 Friday and 93-66 Saturday.
No. 9 Carabins beat No. 6 Stingers, Warriors and Rams top No. 10 Badgers
There were a couple of notable upsets in women’s hockey this weekend, with the No. 9 Montreal Carabins beating the No. 6 Concordia Stingers and the Waterloo Warriors and Ryerson Rams edging the No. 10 Brock Badgers. Montreal beat Concordia 3-2 in a shootout Friday thanks to in-game goals from Stephanie Lalancette and Sophie Gagnon and shootout goals from Annie Germaine,, Jessica Cormier and Laurier Mercier. The Carabins also edged the Ottawa Gee-Gees 3-2 Sunday, led by goals by Germaine, Cormier and Alexandra Labelle. Elsewhere, Waterloo beat Brock 6-2 Saturday and the Rams knocked the Badgers off 4-3 on Sunday.
No. 4 Golden Bears best No. 6 Dinos, No. 5 Rouge et Or take down No. 8 Carabins
We saw a couple of top-10 clashes in men’s volleyball this weekend, with the No. 4 Alberta Golden Bears beating the No. 6 Calgary Dinos in straight sets both Friday and Saturday and the No. 5 Laval Rouge et Or downing the No. 8 Montreal Carabins in five sets Saturday. Taryq San led Alberta with 17 kills and three service aces Friday, while Alex McMullin added 10 kills and six digs. On Saturday, San had 16 kills and McMullin had 11. For Laval against Montreal Saturday, Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos had 22 kills and Chhavanith Ponn had 13 kills.
Blues shine at Grand Prix, Tigers dominate at home
A couple of swim meets held this weekend saw the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Dalhousie Tigers both do well at home. For Toronto, Kylie Masse and Hannah Genich led the way on the women’s side, with Masse winning the 100 (59.38) and 200-metre (2:09.94) backstroke events and Genich claiming gold in both the 100 (1:00.24) and 200-metre butterfly (2:13.39). Eli Wall topped the men’s side, winning the 100 (1:03.84) and 200-metre breaststroke (2:19.35). Some other strong results there came from the Ottawa Gee-Gees, with Davide Cascarin winning the 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle, while Montana Champagne claimed the 400m men’s individual medley title.
At the Dalhousie Invitational, the Tigers won 10 of 18 events. Isabel Sarty shone for the women with individual wins in the 500m butterfly and 100m backstroke events and an anchor leg in the 400m medley, while for the men, Tyler Immel-Herron won both the 200m and 1500m freestyle events. Dalhousie finished first on both the women’s side (177 points; Memorial was second with 73) and men’s side (111 points; Acadia was second with 74.5).
Badgers top Guelph Open
The Guelph Gryphons hosted athletes from 26 teams and clubs in the Guelph Open this weekend, and the Brock Badgers came out on top with 95 points. Following them were Guelph, Concordia and Alberta. Some Brock athletes who earned wins were Ligrit Sadiku (men’s 57 kg), Hannah Taylor (women’s 59 kg) and Jevon Balfour (men’s 79 kg).
Track and field
Gryphons and Blues shine in Fred Foot Classic
A notable track meet this weekend saw the University of Toronto Varsity Blues host the Fred Foot Classic. The top-ranked Guelph Gryphons did well there, with a few notable results including Nicole Smith and Tianna Sinnatamby placing first and second in the women’s 300m dash (with times of 40.63 and 40.86 seconds respectively) and Emma Nero and Hailey Hitchings topping the women’s 60m hurdles (in 8.62 and 8.74 seconds respectively).
Some strong results for the home Varsity Blues included Ezana Debalkew, who placed first in the men’s shot put (13.15m) and weight throw (16.97m), and Lindsay Brandys, who placed first in the women's 60m dash (7.69 seconds). Other track meets this week included the Don Wright Meet at Western, the Ottawa Winter Invitational and the Golden Bear Open at Alberta.
Marauders and Warriors top Brock Invitational
The McMaster Marauders (on the men’s side) and Waterloo Warriors (on the women’s side) came out on top in the big Brock Invitational bonspiel this weekend. Here’s more on that from Brock curling coach Murray Etherington:
Social media post of the week
Brian Swane notes Elle Hendershot’s rebounding
Brian Swane, the Basketball Alberta communications director who also writes for Canada West’s site, had a nice tweet this weekend on some remarkable numbers from the Alberta Pandas’ Elle Hendershot:
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.