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Monday Morning Quarterback: Mike Babcock returns to McGill roots

Andrew Bucholtz

Leafs head coach and McGill grad Mike Babcock performs ceremonial faceoff between Concordia captain Philippe Hudon (L) and McGill captain Nathan Chiarlitti (Josh Blatt, McGill Athletics)

Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the weekend.

Football

No. 10 Gryphons beat No. 5 Golden Hawks, No. 8 Rams win a shootout 

There were some great games in U SPORTS football this weekend, with the No. 10 Guelph Gryphons’ 24-14 win over the No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Saturday a particular highlight. Fifth-year running back Johnny Augustine was one of the top Gryphons in this one, rushing 31 times for 176 yards, while third-year quarterback Theo Landers rushed 14 times for 86 yards (and also completed 13 of 20 passes for 111 yards). On defence, fourth-year linebacker Luke Korol led the way with 13 tackles and an interception, while fourth-year defensive back Nick Parisotto had 11 tackles and an interception.

Elsewhere Saturday, the No. 8 Regina Rams won a wild 58-55 road victory over the Alberta Golden Bears. Fourth-year quarterback Noah Picton completed 35 of 46 passes for 387 yards and five touchdowns with one interception and rushed four times for 22 yards and a touchdown, while fourth-year running back Atlee Simon rushed 25 times for 206 yards and a touchdown. 

Other Top 10 teams in action were the No. 2 Calgary Dinos (a 36-27 win over the Manitoba Bisons), the No. 6 McMaster Marauders (a 29-13 win over the Windsor Lancers), the No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds (a 29-25 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies) and the No. 9 Saint Mary’s Huskies (a 55-11 win over the Bishop’s Gaiters). Outside the Top 10, the Ottawa Gee-Gees came up with a 40-30 win over the Waterloo Warriors, aided by this double flea-flicker:

Women's Rugby

Gaels and Gryphons advance to OUA Final, Pronghorns beat Pandas in Ric Suggitt Memorial Game 

After a 2-2 OUA regular season (albeit in the top-tier Shiels Division), the No. 8 Queen’s Gaels are on a postseason run. They downed the Trent Excalibur 109-0 last week in the provincial quarterfinals, and bested the No. 7 McMaster Marauders (last year’s OUA silver medalists) 20-15 on the road Friday to advance to the OUA final and secure a berth in the national championships. Led by two tries from third-year fullback (and 2016 All-Canadian) Nadia Popov, Queen’s got some revenge for their 21-15 regular-season loss to McMaster. The Gaels placed fourth at last year’s provincial championships; this year, they’ll be at least second, and they’ll get to go to nationals as well.

 

That provincial final will be against the reigning OUA champion Guelph Gryphons, currently ranked second nationally. Guelph shut out the York Lions 55-0 Saturday, aided by three tries from third-year wing Emmanuela Jada and two further ones from third-year flanker Taylor Durham. That was an impressive win over an improving York team, which made it to the first conference semifinals in program history thanks to last week’s 34-24 win over Brock. The Gryphons will now try to defend their conference title and improve on last year’s fourth-place finish at nationals. 

Elsewhere, the No. 1 St. Francis Xavier X-Women beat the Acadia Axewomen 51-12 Sunday to wrap up their regular season, while the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or picked up a 73-0 win over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or Saturday. And the Lethbridge Pronghorns came up with an impressive 32-17 win over the Alberta Pandas Saturday in the first annual Ric Suggitt Memorial Game, named after the Pronghorns’ coach who passed away suddenly this summer and made a huge impact both on the Lethbridge program and on rugby in Alberta. Pronghorns head coach Neil Langevin, who led the program to three straight national titles from 2007-09 and six straight Canada West titles from 2006-11 and returned to coach the team in the wake of Suggitt’s passing, said ahead of the game that this was an appropriate way to recognize his friend: 

“I’ve known Ric for 26 years,” said Langevin. “His passion for the game was contagious. You know, other than when he was with his family, he was the happiest when he was on the rugby field.” 

"Sluggo has had direct and indirect influence on the Pandas and Pronghorns since the inception of both programs," said Langevin. "He has been involved in the coaching setup for both programs and served as a personal mentor for me for over 20 years." 

Suggitt’s brother Rob posted some nice tweets from the event:

 

The win gave the Pronghorns third place in Canada West. They’ll compete in the provincial semifinals Friday.

Men's Hockey

Mike Babcock drops puck for Redmen 

The No. 5 McGill Redmen got some extra star power this weekend, with former McGill player and Mike Babcock (currently the head coach of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs) visiting to drop the puck for their homecoming game against Concordia Friday (ahead of the Leafs’ game with the Montreal Canadiens Saturday). Babcock graduated from McGill’s physical education program in 1986 and captained the Redmen hockey team. (He later spent one season as a coach at the Canadian university level, winning a national title with the Lethbridge Pronghorns in 1993-94.) Babcock told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston he was “forever indebted” for his time at McGill:

Video of Babcock dropping the puck Friday can be seen here. Unfortunately for McGill, the game didn’t end so well for them; second-year Concordia goalie Marc-Antoine Turcotte made 39 saves to steal a 3-2 win.

Men's Soccer

No. 1 Carabins score 10 goals in two games to improve to 9-0-0 

The top-ranked Montreal Carabins are having an incredible season, picking up their eighth and ninth consecutive wins of the year this weekend and filling the net in the process. On Friday, they beat the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 5-0, with second-year forward Hugo Chambon notching two goals. On Sunday, they downed the Concordia Stingers 5-1, with second-year midfielder Raphaël De Chantal-Dumont recording a goal and an assist. Elsewhere in men’s soccer, there was a notable midweek result with the McMaster Marauders besting the No. 6 Guelph Gryphons 2-1 on the road Wednesday. Second-year midfielder Matthew Monteiro and third-year striker Yordan Stoyanov had the McMaster goals in that one.

Cross Country

Vikes finish third in championship test event, first in Victoria since 2007

The cross country national championships will be held in Victoria on Nov. 12, and the host University of Victoria held the Vikes Invitational as a test event this weekend in Beacon Hill Park. It marked the first university cross country event in Victoria since 2007, and drew strong crowds of supporters and alumni. On the men’s side, the No. 7 Vikes finished third overall (behind NAIA competitors UBC and Canada West rivals No. 3 Trinity Western), with second-year runner Jonny Toombs delivering the best individual Victoria finish with a sixth-place result and a time of 31:55. (UBC’s John Gay won the race with a time of 31:11.) Afterwards, Toombs spoke about what it was like to compete at home:

The women’s side was interesting, with UBC and MacEwan runners who compete in the NAIA doing only three laps of the 2-kilometre course, and the U SPORTS runners doing four laps thanks to the new 8-kilometre national standard. The No. 4Trinity Western Spartans finished first overall in the 8-km race, with fifth-year athlete Regan Yee recording the best individual result of any current university athlete with a time of 28:32. (Former Guelph star Lindsay Carson, who now competes for the Langley Mustangs club, won the race with a time of 28:28.) The No. 7 Vikes placed second as a team, led by a fifth-place finish from Alison Hooper, who spoke about it afterwards:

There was another new race out East, with the No. 4 McMaster Marauders hosting the first-ever Bayfront Open in Hamilton and claiming the team title on the men’s side and bronze on the women’s side. Fifth-year McMaster runner Jeff Tweedle won the men’s seven-kilometre race in a time of 20:45. On the women’s side (a seven-kilometre race), the University of Toronto Varsity Blues placed first and the Guelph Gryphons placed second; the Western Mustangs placed fourth, but fourth-year runner Kristina Popadich placed first overall with a time of 23:32. 

Elsewhere, the Ottawa Gee-Gees hosted the Capital XC Challenge and placed third in both the men’s and women’s team standings in the Jim Howe Memorial Race. Laval’s Kevin Bedard won the men’s race (6 kilometres) with a time of 19:22, while McGill’s Meggie Dargis won the women’s race (also 6 km) with a time of 21:57. Here’s a look at that event:

 

And out East, the St. Francis Xavier X-Women won the team title at their own St. FX Invitational, while the No. 10 Dalhousie Tigers won the team title on the men’s side. Acadia’s Katie Robinson won the individual women’s title with a time of 22:25, while St. FX’s Angus Rawling won the men’s title with a time of 26:15.

Field Hockey

Thunderbirds close season strong, Gryphons get win over Lions: 

The UBC Thunderbirds clinched the Canada West title and a berth in the national championship last week, but continued to perform well in a couple of games against the Calgary Dinos this weekend. They beat Calgary 3-1 Saturday and 6-0 Sunday. Here’s a video from Saturday’s game:

In Ontario, the York Lions suffered their only loss of the season Wednesday against the Guelph Gryphons, falling 1-0 thanks to a goal from second-year midfielder (and reigning Guelph female athlete of the year) Kayla Magarelli. Fifth-year goalie Morgan Kelley and first-year goalie Amanda Hodgert combined for the shutout. Both York and Guelph then played the McGill Martlets Saturday, with York recording a 4-0 win (thanks to a hat trick from first-year forward Jaslan Stirling) and Guelph winning 6-0.

 

Women's soccer

Cougars tie No. 3 Thunderbirds and No. 6 Vikes 

The Mount Royal Cougars turned in a great showing in their final home game of the season Saturday, picking up a 3-3 draw with the No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds. They recovered from an early 2-0 deficit to bounce back, with two goals from second-year forward Carly Neis and another from first-year striker Julien Ramirez. Mount Royal also earned a 0-0 draw with No. 6 Victoria Friday, with second-year goalkeeper Cailyn Leeson making eight saves.

Other notable women’s soccer results Saturday included the No. 2 UOIT Ridgebacks held to a 0-0 draw by the Laurentian Voyageurs, and the Laurier Golden Hawks tying the No. 4 Western Mustangs 1-1.

Women's hockey

No. 1 Pandas earn split with No. 8 Bisons

The defending champion Alberta Pandas entered this weekend with their first No. 1 ranking in ten years, but faced a stiff challenge with two road games against the No. 8 Manitoba Bisons. Alberta won 4-3 Friday night thanks to fourth-year forward Amy Boucher’s goal with eight seconds left in regulation, but fell 4-2 to the Bisons Saturday. Fifth-year forward Alana Serhan scored twice for Manitoba, including the game-winner. And third-year forward Allison Sexton added some crucial insurance late:

Elsewhere in women’s hockey, No. 2 UBC picked up 4-1 and 1-0 wins over Calgary, while No. 5 Saint Mary’s earned a 2-1 overtime win over UPEI and a 2-0 win over Moncton.

Swimming

Tigers sweep Amby Legere Invitational 

The Dalhousie Tigers delivered a dominant performance at the Amby Legere Invitational (hosted by the UNB Varsity Reds) this weekend, besting second-place Acadia by almost 230 points on the women’s side and 80 points on the men’s side. Liam Brampton earned titles in the men's 100-metre individual medley and the men's 50-metre butterfly, while Lise Cinq-Mars won the women's 50-metre and 200-metre butterfly events and Isabelle Sarty took first in both the women's 200-metre individual medley and 400-metre freestyle. Dalhousie athletes won 14 of the meet’s 17 events. 

In Quebec, the Laval Rouge et Or hosted the first University Cup of the season, but placed third on both the men’s and women’s side. McGill picked up wins on both sides, led by second-year athlete Sam Wang’s four victories:

                   

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.