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.
Undefeated Acadia Axewomen to host AUS rugby finals
For the first time in modern team history, the Acadia Axewomen rugby team posted an undefeated regular season with a decisive 39-26 victory over the defending AUS champion StFX X-Women last Friday.
With a perfect season on the line, the Axewomen delivered a resounding victory over StFX in front of a spirited crowd of over 1,000 to end the season 6-0. Taryn McLachlan scored the opening try at the five-minute mark and would punch in her second try of the night at the 69th minute. Sarah Grant, who made a pair of conversions for Acadia received the AUS Player of the Game honour.
"The intensity of the girls going in… we were ready to go. It was an incredible feeling. I really can't explain it. These girls are absolutely unbelievable and incredible to look up to. I am living the dream. This is an incredible boost of confidence. It is unreal," said first-year inside centre Sarah Grant.
The Axewomen will prepare to host the winner of UPEI versus StFX for the AUS championship in Wolfville on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 1:00 pm ADT.
Laval dominates podium in AUS-RSEQ Interlock
Held in Hanwell, NB, the AUS-RSEQ brought together Canada’s top university cross-country athletes. The Laval Rouge et Or men’s team put on a dominant performance on Saturday with eight competitors finishing in the top-10 while claiming the three fastest times of the day.
Thomas Fafard, a native of Repentigny, Quebec, was the quickest, finishing the 8km race in 24:38. Jean-Simon Desgagnės, a former U SPORTS Top-8 Academic All-Canadian finished second place with a record of 24:42, while Jonathan Tedeschi rounded out the podium with a 24:44 time.
The Laval women’s cross-country team also excelled on Saturday, with Jessy Lacourse leading the way for the Rouge et Or. Lacourse, a fourth-year early childhood education student, posted a leading time of 28:06.
StFX’s Siona Chisholm was second fastest at 28:16, while Laval’s Catherine Beauchemin earned the third spot with a time of 28:53.
Hockey resumes in Canada West
After a long wait, hockey is finally back in the Canada West.
The UBC Thunderbirds, who were ranked No. 9 in the nation prior to the pandemic, started the season strong with back-to-back victories over the Trinity Western Spartans this past weekend at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
On Friday, defenceman Jonathan Smart scored the game-winner and tallied an assist in the Thunderbirds' 5-1 victory over the Spartans.
In the second game of a back-to-back, UBC netminder Rylan Toth stood tall, making 17 saves on route to a 4-0 win and his first career Canada West Shutout.
Toth received ample goal support in Saturday’s contest, including a perfectly-placed wrist shot by Jarret Tyszka in the first period to put UBC up by two.
Overtime magic to kick off the regular season
Canada West's reigning women's champions, Alberta Pandas opened the 2021-22 season with a double-overtime victory over the Mount Royal Cougars.
First-year Panda Natalie Kieser scored 22 seconds into the second OT frame to lift the Pandas to their first victory of the season. Goaltender Halle Oswald stonewalled the Cougars’ offence, making 29 saves — 16 of which came in the third period and overtime.
2020 U SPORTS and Canada West Rookie of the Year, Madison Willan, also chipped in with a goal for the Pandas, while Mount Royal’s Courtney Kollman scored the lone goal for Cougars.
In the second game of the double-header, the Cougars came out on top with a 3-2 shootout victory. MRU’s Tatum Amy and Aliya Jomha each registered a goal, while Tianna Ko assisted on both markers to lead the team to victory. Danica Namaka and Grace Tam scored for Alberta, but their efforts ultimately came up short in the highly competitive matchup.
Ridgebacks draw No. 2 Carleton Ravens
After a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Carleton on Friday, Ontario Tech Ridgebacks men’s soccer team bounced back to earn a point in a 0-0 draw on Sunday.
The Ridgebacks were strong until the final whistle, outshooting the Ravens 13-6, but both goalkeepers stood strong between the woodwork. Matthew Mattila made two key saves for Ontario Tech, while Carleton’s Kyle Potter turned aside three shots.
Dalhousie Tigers open AUS season with strong performance at Jack Scholz Meet
The AUS swimming season got off to a brilliant start at the 12th annual Jack Scholz Meet held by Acadia.
The Dalhousie Tigers captured the men’s and women’s team titles, sweeping the meet with wins in the team standings and combined standings. The men’s Tigers reclaimed the 2021 title after losing to the Axemen in 2019.
While the Acadia team had the most individual victories with 15, while Dalhousie’s squad (eight race wins) racked up 1242 combined points at the meet including 575 points by the women’s team and 667 by the men’s team.
Memorial’s Kate Williams had a meet-high four race wins including the 100m and 200m backstroke as well as the 100m and 200m freestyle. On the men's side, Acadia's Gordon Shortt won in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, also claiming a victory in the 200m breaststroke, while teammate Dean Sangster won the 50m and 200m backstroke as well as the 100m freestyle.
Social media posts of the week
Ten female officials will work games in the American Hockey League this season. Katie Guay was the first woman to referee an AHL contest last Saturday when she dropped the puck between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Scranton Penguins.
Elizabeth Mantha made history becoming the first female Quebec native to referee an American Hockey League game. Mantha played for the Universitié de Montréal Carabins and represented Canada at the 2015 Winter Universiade.
The CEBL will send the Edmonton Stingers to represent Canada in the third season of the BCL Americas in December, an international competition that features 12 FIBA pro teams representing seven countries across the Americas.
The Stingers lineup will include notable U SPORTS alumni, including guards Alex Carson (Dalhousie), Jahmal Jones (Ryerson) and DeAndre Pierre (York), and forwards Jordan Baker (Alberta), Sascha Kappos (Dalhousie), Zac Overwater (Lethbridge), Adika Peter-McNeilly (Ryerson) and Kemel Archer (Laurier).