Saturday, March 29, 2014

University Cup Format To Change

Earlier this week the CIS officially announced a number of changes to four winter championships, including men's hockey. Beginning next season the University Cup will be an eight team, single elimination tournament spread out over four days. The bronze medal game will also be re-introduced for the first time since being played at both the 2003 and 2004 tournaments in Fredericton. With two more berths in play the breakdown for the next two years will be as follows - OUA (3), AUS (2), CW (2), and the host team. Since the tournament will be held in Halifax the next two years (hosted by St. FX next year and Saint Mary's the year after) the AUS will have 3 teams represented each year. The format will be re-evaluated after two years.

- Along with this change, the CIS also announced the creation of a "Super Championship Weeekend" in which the men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's hockey championships, will all take place between March 12th-15th. This will allow Sportsnet and Radio-Canada to broadcast over 20 hours of university action over two days - semi-final Saturday and Championship Sunday.

- Obviously, this announcement has garnered plenty of opinion. Chris Cochrane of the Halifax Chronicle Herald says the format changes are a step in the right direction, but the real priority for the CIS needs to be to effectively promote the events. Glenn MacDonald, also of the Chronicle Herald, talks to a couple AUS coaches who have a mixed opinion on the change to a single elimination tournament. Meanwhile, Neate Sager of Yahoo Sports says the case for the unique format of the University Cup remains strong while also discussing the pros and cons of the changes.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Golden Bears Claim National Championship

The Alberta Golden Bears capped a magical 2013-2014 season with a 3-1 victory over their rival Saskatchewan Huskies to win the University Cup this afternoon before a crowd of 6289 in Saskatoon. This marks the Golden Bears 14th National Championship in school history - a CIS record - but their first since 2008, practically an eternity by their standards.

Alberta was clearly the best and deepest team in the country this year, compiling a 25-2-1 regular season record before going 4-0 in the Canada West playoffs. They were ranked #1 coming into the tournament and defeated both Carleton and McGill in round robin play on their way to today's final.

Congratulations to the Alberta Golden Bears, 2013-2014 CIS University Cup Champions! 

University Cup Final To Be An All-Canada West Affair

It was a tale of two very different games at the 2014 University Cup in Saskatoon today. In the afternoon semi-final the Alberta Golden Bears needed double overtime to finally dispatch the McGill Redmen 3-2, despite holding a 55-20 advantage in shots on goal. Johnny Lazo was the hero for the Bears as he tipped a hard Kruise Reddick pass from the boards into the top of the net while parked in front. In the evening semi-final it was all Huskies as Saskatchewan scored early and often in a 9-0 rout of the Windsor Lancers.

So the University Cup final will pit Canada West rivals Alberta and Saskatchewan in what will surely be a close and exciting game in front of a large, boisterous crowd at Credit Union Centre. The two teams have met five times previously this season with Alberta emerging victorious on each occasion, however every game was close.

The Golden Bears will be looking for their CIS-record 14th University Cup, while the Huskies are attempting to claim their 2nd. The only other National Championship game played between the two took place in 2005 when Alberta defeated Saskatchewan 4-3 in overtime in Edmonton.

The game can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet East/West/Pacific or online at www.CIS-SIC.tv (on a pay per view basis). Puck drop is scheduled for 4:30PM AST.

 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ravens, Axemen Eliminated

The field for the 2014 University Cup has been narrowed to four teams as both the Carleton Ravens and Acadia Axemen lost their 2nd straight game yesterday to be eliminated from contention.

The #6 ranked Ravens, who fell to Alberta on Thursday, needed a victory to keep their hopes alive but were upended 3-2 by the #4 ranked McGill Redmen. In the evening game the host and #5 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies scored with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game to defeat the #2 Acadia Axemen by an identical 3-2 score, much to the delight of the 8104 in attendance.

This sets up two "true" semi-finals on Saturday as all four teams are 1-0 so far, so we do not have to worry about any goal differential or tiebreaker scenarios. The Alberta Golden Bears face-off against the McGill Redman at 5PM AST while the Windsor Lancers and Saskatchewan Huskies battle at 10PM AST, with the two winners meeting in Sunday's final. Both game today can be viewed on Rogers Sportsnet 360 or online at www.CIS-SIC.tv (pay per view).

 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Golden Bears, Lancers Post Opening Day Victories

The Alberta Golden Bears and Windsor Lancers both won their opening game at the 2014 University Cup in Saskatoon on Thursday. The Golden Bears controlled the majority of play against the Carleton Ravens, holding a 41-17 advantage in shots, but had to hold on for a 3-2 victory. Meanwhile, the OUA Champion Windsor Lancers broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of early goals in the 3rd period in a 4-2 win over the AUS Champion Acadia Axemen.

As a result of these outcomes, Friday's match-ups will see the Ravens face OUA East rival McGill at 4PM AST and Acadia facing off against the hometown Saskatchewan Huskies at 10PM AST. Both games can be viewed live online at www.CIS-SIC.tv.