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.

Women’s basketball

No. 8 Badgers top Varsity Blues, while Thunderbirds’ Huband sets CW record

There were a couple of notable accomplishments in U SPORTS women’s basketball this week, with the No. 8 Brock Badgers posting a 84-69 victory over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in their half of the fifth-annual Paint The Meridian Red event (a special community doubleheader at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines) and with UBC Thunderbirds’ head coach Deb Huband recording a Canada West-record 338th regular-season victory thanks to UBC’s 100-57 win over the Trinity Western Spartans.

First, the Badgers’ performance Saturday saw them recover after trailing by double digits in the first quarter. They bounced back to lead 17-14 after the first quarter, 38-25 at the half, and 65-46 after the third quarter, and then held on for a 84-69 win. Jessica Morris led the way for Brock with 20 points, while Melissa Tatti added 18 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and four steals, Kristin Gallant had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Sam Keltos had 10 points and six rebounds. And head coach Mike Rao was quite happy with how his team performed in front of the Meridian Centre crowd:

“The experience of playing in this venue, in front of our crowd, there's nothing else like it. It's a great event for the University and the program. It's a great day for Brock basketball and Brock University.”

That win was a nice rebound for the Badgers after a 66-63 loss to the York Lions Wednesday, their first road loss of this campaign. They’re now 10-2 on the season, tied with the No. 5 Ryerson Rams for first in the OUA Central division. Meanwhile, in Canada West, UBC head coach Huband led her program to that aforementioned 100-57 home win over Trinity Western Saturday night and broke former Victoria Vikes coach Kathy Shields’ mark of 337 regular-season conference wins in the process. Huband, currently in her 25th season as UBC’s head coach, said afterwards it was particularly special for her to reach this milestone given Shields’ importance to her coaching career:

"It's a tremendous honour. To be following in Kathy Shields' footsteps, she was a mentor of mine and somebody I have tremendous respect for. I think it reflects a tremendous journey, it's been a very long and exciting journey with lots of amazing people."

"It's hard to believe, really. I think the commitment, the loyalty of my coaching staff and players, everybody has contributed. I get to accumulate the wins but it's really on the backs of so many people's contributions."

For UBC, Jessica Hanson led the way in that game with 24 points, while Keylyn Filewich recorded 23 points and 14 rebounds. And the Thunderbirds put Huband in position to set this record Saturday thanks to a 95-58 home win over the Spartans the previous night.

Elsewhere in U SPORTS women’s basketball,the No. 1 Saskatchewan Huskies, the No. 2 Calgary Dinos, the UNB Reds and the UNBC Timberwolves all hosted Shoot for the Cure cancer fundraising nights this weekend. Saskatchewan and Calgary each won their games (the Huskies had two Shoot for the Cure games), while the Reds won both their games and the Timberwolves lost their Shoot for the Cure game against the UFV Cascades.

Men’s basketball

Badgers post first Paint The Meridian Red win, while UBC’s Hanson breaks record

Brock has been hosting Paint The Meridian Red events over the past five seasons, but the men’s basketball Badgers posted their first win in one Saturday night. They beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 75-65 behind 26 points and five rebounds from Godsman Kwakwah. Daniel Caldwell (a career-high 18 points) and Daniel Cayer (12 points, 14 rebounds) were also crucial for Brock.

Meanwhile in Canada West, UBC Thunderbirds’ head coach Kevin Hanson also broke a conference record this week. On Thursday, Hanson recorded his 314th regular season win when the Thunderbirds beat the Trinity Western Spartans 109-102 at home, breaking the Canada West record held by former Alberta Golden Bears coach Don Horwood. Grant Audu, Jadon Cohee and Grant Shephard each put up 22 points for UBC in the win. And Hanson (in his 20th season as UBC’s men’s basketball head coach) had some good comments afterwards:

"It's very special. There are a lot of great memories in this gym and a lot of great games. Vern Knopp being 20 years with us...the people that have been here for the whole journey are him, my wife and my daughter so it was very special they were all here tonight."

"This is a hard gig. Winning basketball games is a tough thing, anything can happen. It's been a great ride so far and I want it to continue for many more years. I love every second I'm on this floor coaching."

Elsewhere in U SPORTS men’s basketball, a notable upset came in OUA play Friday night when the No. 9 Laurentian Voyageurs beat the No. 4 Ottawa Gee-Gees 78-65 at home behind 35 points, five rebounds and four assists from Kadre Gray.

Women’s hockey

Pandas’ Howie Draper becomes first coach in U SPORTS era to win 600th game

The coaching records continued this weekend in women’s hockey, where Howie Draper (coach of the No. 8 Alberta Pandas) posted his 600th career win Friday night with the Pandas’ 3-1 victory over the Mount Royal Cougars. Kennedy Ganser, Madison Willan and Cayle Dillon all scored for Alberta in that one, with Halle Oswald making 10 saves in the win. Anna Purschke scored the Cougars’ lone goal.

Draper has been the Pandas’ head coach since their program’s inception in 1997, so this also served as Alberta’s 600th women’s hockey victory. He’s led them to 13 Canada West championships and eight U SPORTS national championship titles, and has also coached with Hockey Canada, most recently as the head coach of the Canadian Under-18 national team; he won a world championship with that team in 2018 and a silver medal with them at the 2019 world championships. He becomes the first women’s hockey coach to hit 600 wins in the U SPORTS era, and the fourth University of Alberta coach to reach the 600-win plateau, following Laurie Eisler (women’s volleyball; she hit 800 career wins earlier this season), Terry Danyluk (men’s volleyball; he posted a 762-226 career record before moving into a general manager role for that program this season) and Clare Drake (men’s hockey; he posted a 697-296-37 record with the Golden Bears by his 1989 retirement).

Also in women’s hockey, the No. 7 McGill Martlets beat the No. 4 Montreal Carabins 3-2 on the road in double overtime Friday. Montreal rebounded with a 4-3 road win against the No. 1 Concordia Stingers Sunday.

Men’s hockey

No. 7 McGill tops Concordia in OT in sold-out Winter Carnival Game, while No. 9 Rams edge No. 3 Varsity Blues

There were several notable U SPORTS men’s hockey results this weekend, including No. 7 McGill taking down the Concordia Stingers 3-2 in overtime at home at their sold-out Winter Carnival Game Friday and the No. 9 Ryerson Rams getting by the No. 3 University of Toronto Varsity Blues 4-3 in overtime on the road in their Subway Series game Thursday. McGill’s win, which came in front of a crowd of 1,029, was boosted by two goals (including the game-winner) from Guillaume Gauthier and 56 saves (tied for a career-high) from Louis-Philip Guindon. Ryerson’s victory was boosted by two breakaway goals (including the overtime winner) from defenceman Zach Shankar.

Men’s volleyball

No. 9 Golden Bears take down No. 2 Bobcats

The No. 9 Alberta Golden Bears posted two impressive road victories this weekend against the No. 2 Brandon Bobcats, winning 25-18, 25-20, 26-28, 20-25, 15-11 Friday and recording a 25-19, 25-21, 26-28, 25-22 victory Saturday. Jackson Kennedy and Jordan Canham each posted 17 kills for the Golden Bears Friday (which marked the Bobcats’ first regular-season loss at home since November 2017), while Canham and George Hoburn each had 13 kills for Alberta Saturday. Canada West all-star Seth Friesen and conference rookie of the year Robin Baghdady both missed both games for Brandon with injury, but Jens Watt (seven kills, eight digs) and Max Brook (six kills) each were key contributors for the Bobcats Friday, while Bryston Keck had five blocks for Brandon Saturday.

Women’s volleyball

No. 5 Cougars edge No. 1 Spartans

The No. 1 Trinity Western Spartans beat the No. 5 Mount Royal Cougars in straight sets (25-20, 25-17, 26-24) at home Friday, but fell in four sets (25-16, 14-25, 26-24, 25-17) in Saturday’s rematch. On Friday, Hilary Howe had 12 kills, five service aces and five digs for Trinity Western, while Dora Komlodi had three aces and 17 assists; Nyadholi Thokbuom responded with eight kills and three aces for Mount Royal. On Saturday, Thokbuom had a game-high nine kills for the Cougars and Chantel Park added five kills and four aces; Howe had seven kills and five digs for the Spartans.

Social media posts of the week

In men’s volleyball, Canada’s senior men’s national team (featuring numerous U SPORTS alums) is off to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics thanks to a a straight-sets win over Puerto Rico Sunday night to cap off the NORCECA Men’s Tokyo Qualification Tournament in Vancouver. Team captain Gord Perrin (a Thompson Rivers WolfPack alum) delivered the decisive kill:

Meanwhile, the Canadian senior women’s team (also featuring plenty of U SPORTS alums) placed third at the NORCECA Women's Volleyball Qualification Tournament Tokyo 2020 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, posting a four-set victory over Mexico in the bronze-medal match. That wasn’t enough to qualify for this year’s Olympics; there was only one berth available in this tournament, and it went to the tournament champions, the hosts. But this was still a win for the women’s team to build on:

In men’s hockey, Rogers Hometown Hockey this week saw Ron MacLean and Tara Sloane interview York Lions’ men’s hockey forward Kaleb Dahlgren, a survivor of the Humboldt Broncos’ April 2018 bus crash. Dahlgren spoke to them about his time at York (a connection he found in part thanks to former Lions’ player Mark Cross, a Humboldt assistant killed in that crash who’s now honoured by York with an annual memorial game and a scholarship fund), his history with diabetes, and his work with the annual Dahlgren’s Diabetes game at York to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association:

Also in men’s hockey, former Alberta Golden Bears’ Luke Philp and Zach Sawchenko faced off in AHL action Saturday, with Philp playing forward for the Stockton Heat (the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate) and Sawchenko in net for the San Jose Barracudas (the San Jose Sharks affiliate). Stockton won that game 2-0 without Philp appearing on that particular scoresheet, but he has been on a good run lately:

In women’s hockey, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported Sunday night that the NHL is going to feature a  3-on-3 scrimmage between top American and Canadian women's hockey players at their All-Star Weekend in St. Louis later this month. The women selected to play there will be national team players who are part of the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association, which includes a lot of U SPORTS alums. The PWHPA continued its Dream Gap Tour this weekend in Toronto, and that weekend included a game Sunday at the Ryerson Rams’ Mattamy Athletic Centre (the former Maple Leaf Gardens), with Team Daoust (led by McGill Martlets’ alum Mélodie Daoust) posting an 8-0 win over Team Spooner:

In curling, the OK Tire & BKT Tires Continental Cup of Curling presented by Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing was held in London, Ontario this week, featuring Team Canada against Team Europe. Some of the many alums of U SPORTS schools taking part on the Canadian side included all six skips: Kevin Koe (University of Calgary), Brendan Bottcher (University of Alberta), John Epping (Trent University), Chelsea Carey (University of Manitoba), Rachel Homan (University of Ottawa and University of Alberta), and Tracy Fleury (Laurentian University, where she currently works as the manager of accounting and reporting). And while Europe won the trophy, there were some cool moments throughout the event, including an exhibition game between the Western Mustangs’ men’s team and the CCAA Fanshawe Falcons:

Western football coach Greg Marshall also took part in a celebrity game:

In track and field, there were several big events this weekend, including the Sanderson Classic at Saskatchewan, the Can Am Classic at Windsor, the Jump Start Open at Moncton, the Wolverine Open at the University of Michigan (the Guelph Gryphons and Western Mustangs took part) and the Sherbrooke Invitational at Sherbrooke. The Sanderson Classic saw Pandas’ pole vaulter Rachel Hyink set a school record:

In wrestling, one key event this weekend was the Brock Invitational, with the Lakehead Thunderwolves posting an impressive showing there. Marco Palermo (65kg) and Madison Clayton (63 kg) each placed first in their respective weight classes, and eight other Thunderwolves’ wrestlers finished in the top six in their classes:

And in men’s basketball, Saskatchewan Huskies’ head coach Barry Rawlyk added an additional title this week: general manager of the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Saskatchewan Rattlers.

profile_1.png (74 KB)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