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.
Axemen take down Reds
The UNB Reds have won the David Johnston University Cup as U SPORTS men’s hockey champions in three of the past five seasons, including last year, but the start of their 2019-20 regular season saw some bumps. The Reds saw some preseason success, beating the York Lions 9-2 on the road last weekend, and they got their AUS regular-season campaign off on the right foot Friday with a 9-3 road win against the Saint Mary’s Huskies (including five third-period goals), but they fell 6-4 to the Acadia Axemen on the road Saturday.
In Saturday’s game, the first period was scoreless, but UNB’s Tristan Pomerleau added the first goal of the game in the second when he fired his own rebound home. Acadia captain Liam Maskaant responded soon afterwards, though, and Jack Flaman added a second goal 19 seconds later to give the Axemen the lead. Mason McCarthy increased Acadia’s lead to 3-1 just over a minute later, but Mark Rassell and Alexandre Goulet responded for the Reds to make the score 3-3 heading into the third.
In the third period, UNB started things off with a goal from Tyler Boland in the fifth minute, but Garrett McFadden responded for the Axemen two minutes later to tie the game, and McCarty then put Acadia into the lead. Jordy Stallard then added the sixth Axemen goal, his fourth point on the night after three assists (which led to him being named the Subway Player of the Game), and the game finished 6-4 in favour of Acadia. Next weekend, the Axemen head on the road to face the Dalhousie Tigers, while the Reds have road exhibition games against the NCAA’s Boston College Eagles and Maine Black Bears.
Canada West regular-season hockey also started this weekend, and some notable results there came from the Alberta Golden Bears (who have won two of the last five national championships, and finished as national runners-up to UNB last season). The Golden Bears opened with a pair of road wins over the UBC Thunderbirds, but Friday’s game was a close-fought 4-3 overtime victory, while Saturday’s was a 5-0 blowout. Next weekend, the Golden Bears will head to Minnesota for exhibition games against the NCAA’s Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and St. Cloud State Huskies, while the Thunderbirds will have a bye.
No. 9 Huskies hand No. 4 Dinos their first regular-season loss since 2017
The U SPORTS football scene saw a couple of Top 10 clashes this weekend, with the No. 9 Saskatchewan Huskies hosting the No. 4 Calgary Dinos in Canada West play and the No. 6 Guelph Gryphons hosting the No. 8 Ottawa Gee-Gees in OUA play. The OUA game saw the higher-ranked team triumph, with the Gryphons winning 33-6 (in their homecoming game, no less), but the Canada West game saw an upset in terms of the rankings, with the Huskies prevailing 29-15 in a rematch (and a different result) of last year’s Hardy Cup conference championship. This also was Calgary’s first regular-season loss in years:
Friday’s game saw some struggles for Dinos’ fifth-year quarterback Adam Sinagra, who completed 18 of 27 passes (66.7 per cent) for 287 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions before exiting in the third quarter. That followed a second-quarter hit that kept Sinagra out for a series; he’d return briefly after that, but eventually exited in favour of backup Josiah Joseph, who completed 10 of 15 passes (also 66.7 percent) for 105 yards. Meanwhile, running back Adam Marchant shone for the Huskies, rushing for 178 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries (7.7 yards per carry), while Logan Bitz had a team-high 11 tackles and Nixen Voll recorded two picks. Saskatchewan quarterback Mason Nyhus also completed 15 of 31 passes (48.4 per cent) for 232 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Elsewhere in the Top 10, the No. 1 Western Mustangs beat the Waterloo Warriors 58-25 on the road Saturday in OUA play. In RSEQ play, the No. 2 Montreal Carabins narrowly edged the Concordia Stingers 20-17 at home Friday, while the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or had a bye. The No. 5 McMaster Marauders also had a bye in OUA play, while the No. 7 Acadia Axemen beat the Bishop’s Gaiters 24-12 on the road Saturday in AUS play. And in Canada West play, the No. 10 Alberta Golden Bears pulled off a 40-20 road win Saturday against the UBC Thunderbirds thanks to 23 straight fourth-quarter points.
No. 2 Rouge et Or shut out No. 4 Gee-Gees
There were a couple of Top 10 clashes in U SPORTS women’s rugby this weekend, and the RSEQ battle between the No. 2 Laval Rouge et Or and the No. 4 Ottawa Gee-Gees Saturday saw a particularly notable result, with the host Rouge et Or posting a 32-0 shutout. Audrey Champagne, Fabiola Forteza, Véronique Gagné and Anaïs Gilbert recorded tries for the Rouge et Or, while Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu added three conversions and two penalty kicks.
Elsewhere in the women’s rugby Top 10, the No. 3 StFX X-Women beat the No. 5 Acadia Axewomen 38-14 on the road Friday in AUS play. In OUA play, the No. 1 Queen’s Gaels had a bye, while the No. 6 Guelph Gryphons took down the Brock Badgers 53-5 on the road Saturday and the No. 9 McMaster Marauders shut out the Western Mustangs 96-0 on the road Sunday. And in Canada West, Sunday games saw the No. 8 Calgary Dinos beat the Alberta Pandas 18-12 on the road, while the No. 10 Lethbridge Pronghorns fell 49-15 on the road to the UBC Thunderbirds.
Varsity Blues men and women pick up wins in tri-meet
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues took first place on both the men’s and women’s sides in a OUA tri-meet with the Guelph Gryphons and host Waterloo Warriors this weekend. On the men’s side, the Varsity Blues defeated the Warriors 228-180 and the Gryphons 238-170; on the women’s side, Toronto beat Waterloo 177-160 and Guelph 190-132.
One standout performer for the Varsity Blues on the women’s side was Aleksa Gold, who set a pool record in the 100m backstroke in 58.1 seconds. Rachel Rodé (50m backstroke), Sarah Polley in the (50m butterfly), Georgia Kidd (100m butterfly), Kate Rendall (200m individual medley), Ainsley McMurray (100m freestyle) and Claire Howard (200m freestyle) also picked up wins for Toronto. On the men’s side, Cam Kidd won a pair of golds, while Tyler Wall (100m backstroke), Nick Bulban (100m breaststroke), Everett Smith (200 m individual medley) and Connor Walker (200m freestyle) also earned wins for the Varsity Blues.
No. 4 Carabins take down No. 5 Rouge et Or 3-0 on road
U SPORTS women’s soccer continued this weekend, and a notable showdown came in RSEQ play. On the road Friday night, the No.4 Montreal Carabins came out with a 3-0 win against the No. 5 Laval Rouge et Or, fueled by two goals from Mégane Sauvé and another from Charlotte Boisclair. The Carabins then followed that up with a 2-0 road win against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or Sunday.
Social media posts of the week
The second annual Rowan’s Law day was held Wednesday to honour Rowan Stringer, the Ottawa Gee-Gees rugby commit who passed away in 2013 at 17 after multiple concussions and whose story was key to the implementation of Ontario’s Rowan’s Law about concussion safety and return to play. The OUA put out a tweet about Rowan’s Law Day featuring several current athletes across sports to raise awareness of the importance of concussion protocols.
And ahead of the Saskatchewan Huskies’ Sled Dog Open cross country meet this weekend, four other competing schools joined the Huskies in wearing orange singlets as part of a Huskies’ partnership with Saskatchewan Aboriginal Track and Field around Orange Shirt Day, an annual event to support residential school survivors:
In international competition, the track and field world championships are ongoing in Doha, Qatar, and 2016 Canadian Olympian and UBC alum Evan Dunfee won bronze in the 50-kilometre race walk:
Also in athletics, the UNB Reds were announced as the hosts of the 2021 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, the first AUS school to host that event:
U SPORTS also revealed new championship logos for the 2019-20 season:
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