Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the week.
Golden Hawks beat Gryphons 3-2 in first-ever Frosty Mug shootout
A key U SPORTS event game this week saw the Guelph Gryphons host the Laurier Golden Hawks in the 10th annual Frosty Mug game, which took place Thursday at Guelph’s Sleeman Centre (home of the OHL’s Guelph Storm). For the second year in a row, the Frosty Mug drew a record crowd, topping last year’s record of 4,715 with a sold-out attendance of 4,850 this year.
That crowd marked the third-largest attendance in OUA men’s hockey regular-season history, behind only a 2007 McGill-Concordia game and a 2005 Lakehead-Western game. The third- through sixth-largest attendance numbers on that list are all from different years of the Frosty Mug. And the crowd got into it, too, including with a loud sing-along of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” between periods.
But while last year’s game saw Guelph beat Laurier 5-0, this year saw the Golden Hawks get revenge with a 3-2 shootout win. Laurier got on the board late in the first period with a Jake Henderson goal, and then Jeremy Pullara put the Golden Hawks up 2-0 just over four minutes into the second. But the Gryphons battled back 10 minutes later, with Nick Boyer scoring just after a power play expired, and Mark Raycroft then set up Michael Stevens for the tying goal with just over three minutes to go in the game:
That meant the game went to overtime for the first time in Frosty Mug history. No one was able to score in the extra period, so the sides went to a shootout, where Anthony Sorrentino scored the only goal. Tyler Fassl made the key final save on Ryan Valentini to give Laurier the win:
Afterwards, though, fifth-year Guelph captain Scott Simmonds said the experience was great despite the loss, and the crowd helped push his team to rally back:
"It was so enjoyable. The crowd is always there for us, always have our back. We made it tight tonight. Obviously, we wanted that extra point but we came up a bit short in the shootout. We're really pleased with the turnout and our students and fellow classmates coming out to support us. This team is resilient, we're never going to give up. We've proven that throughout the course of the season when things have been hard. We're not going to stay down and we'll continue to fight for everything."
The Gryphons finished the weekend with a 5-4 win over the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, boosted by a hat trick from first-year defenceman Justin Lemcke. Meanwhile, another big U SPORTS hockey event game takes place Tuesday, with the Mount Royal Cougars hosting the Calgary Dinos (in both men’s and women’s games) at the Scotiabank Saddledome (home of the NHL’s Calgary Flames). Over 10,000 tickets have already been sold for that one.
Track and Field
Gryphons sweep McGill Team Challenge, featuring more than 1,200 entries, 659
Speaking of Guelph, the 24th McGill Team Challenge, the largest indoor track and field meet in Canada, was held this weekend in Montreal, and the Gryphons (the reigning U SPORTS national champions on both the men’s and women’s sides) emerged victorious on both the men’s and women’s sides for the third-straight year, setting four meet records along the way. The meet saw over 1,200 entries in total, including 659 individual athletes and 56 participating teams and clubs, 20 of which were U SPORTS universities (nine from RSEQ, five from the OUA, five from the AUS, and one from Canada West).
On the women’s side, Guelph’s Shyvonne Roxborough led all athletes with 22.5 points, racking up gold medals in the 60-metre dash, the long jump and the 4X200-metre relay (alongside Morgan Byng, Zoe Sherar and Nicole Smith, producing a meet record time of 1:38.32). Byng and Smith also were part of Guelph’s squad that won the 4X400-metre relay (alongside Olivia Romaniw and Zoe Sherar), and Byng also won the 300-metre sprint, while Romaniw won the 600-metre (setting a meet record with a time of 1:29.96) and 1,000-metre races. Emma Nero also won the 60-metre hurdles (in a meet-record time of 8.53 seconds). Overall, the Gryphons posted 197 points; the Sherbrooke Vert et Or were second with 93 and the Laval Rouge et Or were third with 87.
On the men’s side, Guelph’s Josh Hamilton, Graeme Thompson, Davis Edward and Philip Osei won the 4X400-metre relay and set a meet record with a time of 3:16.30. Hamilton, Osei and Thompson also teamed up with Kudakwashe Murasiranwa to win the 4X200-metre relay, and Osei won the 300-metre sprint, while Mostafa Elkurdy won the 1500-metre race and Matthew MacNeill won the long jump. Guelph finished with 157 points, while the Laval Rouge et Or were second with 89 and the Dalhousie Tigers were third with 73. Full results for both the men’s and women’s sides can be found at Trackie here.
No. 9 Stingers take down No. 3 Martlets after ceremony honouring Peter Smith’s 500th career win
Another big event took place at McGill Friday, with the No. 3 Martlets hosting the No. 9 Concordia Stingers. McGill head coach Peter Smith honoured pre-game for becoming just the third Canadian university women’s hockey coach to reach 500 career wins. But once the puck dropped, it was the underdog Stingers who came out on top, taking down the Martlets 4-1.
The only previous coaches to reach 500 wins in Canadian university women’s hockey are former Concordia coach Les Lawton, who reached that mark in 2003, and current Alberta Pandas coach Howie Draper, who hit that milestone in 2016. So this was a pretty remarkable moment for Smith (who’s won four national championships with the Martlets, and also led Canada’s women’s hockey team to gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics while on a one-year sabbatical from McGill), even if he downplayed it later. He said it was appropriate that his wife Vango was invited onto the ice with him given all the support she’s provided him over the years.
"For me, it's about the players and the game and I never know how to take these ceremonies, it was nice and I am very appreciative. I was really pleased to see they invited Vango on the ice. She has been a big part of those 500 wins and countless losses."
In the game, Sophie Gagnon scored for Concordia just over two minutes in, while Kellyane Lecours responded for McGill in the second. Claudia Fortin scored the game-winner early in the third period, while Marie-Pascale Bernier and Stephanie Lalancette (the latter on an empty net) added insurance goals. Katherine Purchase made 32 saves for Concordia. This snapped the Martlets’ three-game winning streak over the Stingers and dropped them to 11-4-0 on the season, while Concordia improved to 7-4-3. The Stingers then finished off their weekend in style with a 5-2 home win over Carleton Sunday.
Men’s and women’s basketball
Lions draw great crowd for third annual school day games
Several U SPORTS teams have been hosting school day games for a while now, giving local students a chance to check out university games during school hours. The UBC Thunderbirds hosted a women’s basketball school day game this week, while the Laurier Golden Hawks and York Lions both hosted women’s and men’s doubleheaders. The York games (against the Laurentian Voyageurs Friday) were particularly notable for the impressive atmosphere:
On the women’s side, York won 89-67, led by 15 points and 11 rebounds from Megan MacLeod with and 14 points and eight rebounds from Cyanna King. The win helped the Lions move past the Voyageurs into fifth place in the OUA East. On the men’s side, Laurentian edged York 79-77 thanks to a ferocious comeback that saw them outscore the Lions 32-17 in the fourth quarter, capped off by a buzzer-beater from Sam Ivey.
That game-winner from Ivey came on a smart play, with the shot clock improperly not resetting after a Kadre Grey shot hit the front rim with three seconds left and the horn sounding; the other players stopped, but Ivey grabbed the rebound and laid it in, and the officials eventually decided the basket would count. So that was a tough way for the York men to lose. But the Lions would bounce back with a 77-57 home win over the Nipissing Lakers Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak in the process. And that game featured a spectacular reverse dunk from York’s Prince Kamunga:
The York women also picked up a 78-69 win over the Lakers Saturday in a Shoot for the Cure game, one of several held across U SPORTS this weekend. The Brock Badgers, Lakehead Thunderwolves, Memorial Sea-Hawks and UNB Reds were the other schools hosting Shoot for the Cure games this week.
And that game also saw York honour their 1990 team:
UFV hosts Cascades Classic, Huskies win men’s and women’s banners
The UFV Cascades hosted the fifth-annual Cascades Classic this weekend, starting with a dual meet against the Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday and then the full tournament (with seven teams participating on both the men’s and women’s side) Sunday. That served as a preview for the Feb. 8-9 Canada West championships, which UFV will host for the first time. It was also paired with the Western Canada Age-Class Championship, which ran from Friday to Sunday and saw hundreds of high school wrestlers competing at UFV.
The Huskies took home the titles on both the men’s and women’s sides, with their No. 6 men’s team recording 74 points to beat out No. 3 UFV (40 points) and the Khalsa Wrestling Club (15 points). On the women’s side, the No. 3 Huskies notched 28 points to edge the NCAA’s SFU Clan (25 points), the No. 2 Calgary Dinos (20 points), and the No. 7 Cascades (16 points).
Gold medals for Saskatchewan on the men’s side came from Logan Sloan (54kg) and Hunter Lee (90kg). On the women’s side, the Huskies got golds from Alex Schell (48kg) and Berit Johnson (67-72kg). Meanwhile, the host Cascades saw Parker McBride (57kg), Ali Rahguzar (61kg) and Brad Hildenbrandt (130kg) earn gold on the men’s side, while Calista Espinosa (48kg), Amber Weibe (54kg) and Ana Godinez Gonzalez (63kg) received silver medals on the women’s side.
Social media posts of the week:
While on the subject of wrestling, former Guelph Gryphons’ wrestler Korey Jarvis (who won gold in the 125 kg class at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and was part of Canada’s 2016 Olympic squad) found some success in the Indian Pro Wrestling League recently, coming back from a first-round deficit to win his first match 7-2 over Satinder Malik:
In curling, the New Holland Canadian Junior Championships wrapped up this week in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with several U SPORTS curlers participating on both the men’s and women’s sides. The best success came from the Alberta Pandas’ U21 team, who represented their province and wound up winning gold, posting an undefeated 11-0 record and taking down B.C. 9-6 in the women’s championship match. That means they’ll represent Canada in the World Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool, Nova Scotia from Feb. 16-23.
That team is made up of skip Selena Sturmay, third Abby Marks, second Kate Goodhelpsen and lead Paige Papley. This marked the Pandas’ fourth Canadian junior title in six years, and the second for Sturmay and Goodhelpsen, who were part of Kristen Streifel’s rink in 2017. Sturmay and Papley will serve as second and alternate respectively on Streifel’s Canadian team at the Winter Universiade Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from March 2-12. (Sturmay’s brother, Golden Bears’ men’s skip Karsten Sturmay, will also be at that competition, skipping Canada’s men’s team.)
Speaking of international competition, Hockey Canada announced the 23-woman roster for the national team’s three-game Rivalry Series against the U.S. next month in Southern Ontario and Michigan. Previous U SPORTS players Ann-Sophie Bettez (McGill Martlets), Katelyn Gosling (Western Mustangs) and Brigette Lacquette (Manitoba Bisons) are on that roster. It’s particularly exciting to see Bettez (who shone in last weekend’s CWHL All-Star Game, picking up a goal and two assists) get a shot at the national level:
And speaking of Bisons’ alums, Desiree Scott started and played 63 minutes in the Canadian women’s soccer team’s 1-0 win over Norway Tuesday in Spain. She was fired up about the victory afterwards:
In U SPORTS women’s volleyball action, Regina Cougars’ fifth-year libero Taylor Ungar made some history this weekend, recording a match-high 19 digs in a three-set win over the MacEwan Griffins Saturday. That gave her 1,323 career digs, passing the old Canada West mark set by former Alberta Pandas libero Jessie Niles (who finished her career in 2016). This comes after Ungar set a school record in December. She has four regular-season matches left to add to that total.
On a sadder front, MacEwan men’s hockey player Nakehko Lamothe passed away at 23 Friday night after their team (which plays in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association) played a game in Calgary. Schools across U SPORTS offered tributes to Lamothe and sent their best wishes to the MacEwan community:
Our thoughts go out to Lamothe’s family and friends, and to all at MacEwan.