Welcome to Weekend Watch, your weekly preview of all the best U SPORTS action that can’t be missed across Canada West, the OUA, RSEQ and AUS.
Guelph @ Brock
Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT
The Brock Badgers are set to host the Guelph Gryphons in an OUA preseason showdown at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines on Friday night.
Known as Steel Blade Classic, this battle between division rivals is one of the most highly anticipated events to hit the ice each year, with more than 5,000 fans packing the home of the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.
Brock is looking to build upon a strong season a year ago, finishing second place in the OUA West division with a school record of 19-5-4, before falling to the Western Mustangs in the conference semifinals. Meanwhile, the Gryphons went 13-11-4 in 2018-19 en route to an OUA silver medal and an appearance at University Cup national championship in Lethbridge.
Last year, the Badgers took home the Steel Blade after dispatching the Gryphons 3-1 and hold an all-time mark of 6-3-0 in the series.
Women’s Field Hockey
UBC @ Calgary
Saturday/Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
The Canada West women’s field hockey season opens this weekend with a two-game series between the UBC Thunderbirds and Calgary Dinos.
The Thunderbirds finished last season tied for first place in CW with a 4-3-1 record, but lost the tiebreaker to eventual conference champion Victoria, who went on to capture their first U SPORTS title since 2008. UBC will be looking for redemption this season, after having their run of seven consecutive national championships snapped.
The RSEQ and Canada West cross country seasons begin this weekend as runners get set to hit the course.
In Quebec, the Laval women’s team begin defence of their conference and national titles on Friday at the McGill Open on Mount Royal.
The Rouge et Or will look to All-Canadians Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie and Catherine Beauchemin, who claimed the individual silver and bronze medals at last year’s national championship. Anne-Marie Comeau and Jessy Lacourse are the other returning First Team All-Canadians for Laval. The team is led by Félix-Antoine Lapointe, who took U SPORTS Coach of the Year honours last season.
Out west, Regina hosts the Cougar Trot at Wascana Park to open the CW campaign.
Last season, Calgary captured their very first national title, thanks in large part to Russell Pennock, who earned First-Team All-Canadian honours with a bronze medal finish and was named the Canada West Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
The Dinos are also slated to host the CW Cross Country Championships this season – the first standalone conference championship since the 1990s.
No. 6 Guelph @ No. 8 Western
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
The No. 6 Guelph Gryphons (3-0-1) visit London, Ont., to take on the No. 8 Western Mustangs (4-0-0) in a Top 10 matchup this Sunday. Both OUA teams will be looking to improve on their unbeaten records.
Fourth-year forward Victoria Hinchcliffe currently leads the Gryphons in scoring, with two goals in four games. Goalkeeper Megan Girardi has stood tall for the Mustangs, not allowing a goal in the first four matches.
No. 8 Sherbrooke @ No. 2 Laval
Saturday 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
The No.8 Sherbrooke Vert & Or visit TELUS-UL Stadium in an RSEQ showdown Saturday against the No.2 ranked Laval Rouge et Or.
Laval is coming off a 28-17 victory vs. No.5 ranked Ottawa, exacting revenge after a losing to the Gee-Gees in the RSEQ final last season. Flanker Nele Pien leads Laval with three tries on the season.
Sherbrooke’s Marie-Pier Fanteaux has led the Vert & Or’s offence with four tries and six conversions for a total of 35 points in two games played. Fanteaux was the RSEQ Female Athlete of the Week for her outstanding performance against Carleton last weekend.
No.3 Queens @ No. 4 Guelph
Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT
The No.3 Queen’s Gaels are set to take on their OUA rivals, the No.4-ranked Guelph Gryphons Saturday at Alumni Field in Guelph.
Led by standout freshman fly-half Taylor Black, the Gaels will look to continue their offensive dominance. Queen’s has outscored their opponents 235-0 in just the first two games of the season.
The Gryphons beat McMaster in the OUA season opener 49-12 and will look to stay unbeaten with their second test of the season.