Sunday, March 22, 2009

Teams Determined for CIS Nationals - Skate With the V-Reds Today

With Alberta's 7-0 pounding of the Saskatchewan Huskies last night, the teams are set for CIS National Championships this week in Thunder Bay Ontario.

As always, determining the makeup of the two pools is in advance of the official tournament announcement is a source of entertainment for CIS hockey fans, so we'll take a stab at it. The CIS directives on this matter offer some flexibility, but we know that teams #2 and #3 must be in one pool together, and that when possible teams from the same conference are not to be placed in the same pool. Finally, the final rankings are determined by the conference playoffs and the last CIS Top 10 rankings from during the regular season.

We know that with their CW Championship, the Alberta Golden Bears are #1, SMU is #2 and Western will get #3. Lakehead "should" go in as the #6th seed as tournament host. UNB and McGill round off #4 and #5.

By that logic, Pool A will consist of:
#1 - Alberta
#4 - UNB
#6 - Lakehead

and Pool B will look like:
#2 SMU
#3 Western
#5 McGill

This look would be consistent with the 06-07 situation where 3 AUS teams went, Moncton was #1, Saskatchewan#2, UQTR #3, Laurier #4, UNB #5 and StFX #6. Back then the pools were #1, #4, #6, and #2,#3, #5 as well. Truth is nobody's completely sure outside the tournmant officials yet.

Also, just a reminder today at 4PM to 5PM you can bring the family to skate with the V-Reds to send them off to Thunder Bay. Let's show our Varsity Reds that their fans support them win, lose, or draw.


GoRedsGo said...

Just a thought... do you think that Western and McGill will be paired together in the same pool where they just played each other in the final of the Queens's Cup? This would seem kind of odd to me.

As well... would Lakehead really want to be paired with both UNB and Alberta in the same pool? Unless their only goal is to maximize ticket sales, then I can't imagine them wanting to play both of these 2 teams.

Either way, UNB should be playing Alberta on Saturday for the right to go to the final game on Sunday. Myself, I would rather UNB be pooled with McGill because then they would at least be assured the afternoon games... would be hard to play Alberta at 7:00 or 7:30 on Saturday night and then have to play in the finals at 2:00 the following day. They'd also avoid the home-team crowd that way as well.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong but I'm not sure it's up to Lakehead to decide whether they are pooled with Alberta and UNB or not. They can pick night or afternoon, but not which teams are in their pool or UNB would never have picked to be in the pools with Alberta and UQTR back in 03 and 04.. I don't see how McGill could get relegated to 6th, that would seem to me to be completely unfair to them but I guess it's possible.

UNB's fortunes will depend on the health of Cuddihy and Tremblay. If they're anything less than 100% UNB is going in as a completely different team than what they were all year. Not impossible to overcome, but I'm not sure any team can lose a 40 and 50 point guy from the roster and be anywhere near as effective. Really, having those extra top forwards is all the separates UNB from the other contenders anyway. If they're not playing healthy the team is seriously downgraded. Let's hope they're able to go full out or they might have to switch up their approach at a very bad time of year. That said - it's an opportunity for the 2nd and 3rd line guys to step up and make a name for themselves and anything can happen in best-of-one series.

Anonymous said...

Wow...look out for Alberta...7-0?!? I didn't expect Sask to beat them but that's a bit ridiculous...they are definitely rolling now and have to be considered the odds on favorite to win.

As for the pools...I do expect to see McGill and Lakehead being flip flopped....I think they will want to avoid the Western/McGill pairing after the Queens Cup in much the same way UNB/SMU will almost certainly be separated. If I am not mistaken they have gone with pools consisting of 1/4/5 and 2/3/6 before. If it is Alberta/McGill/UNB then it will probably be Alberta/McGill on Thursday afternoon (the highest seed almost always plays the lowest seed on the opening day...unless the host is involved as they usually plan their schedule to maximize attendence, ie/ play on Friday/Saturday nights), the loser of that game vs. UNB on Friday, and the winner vs. UNB on Saturday afternoon. If that's the case UNB is going to be in tough as they will have to win 3 games in 3 days to win the Cup. Also, I don't understand why everyone assumes it will automatically be UNB/Alberta playing on Saturday afternoon in the 'de facto' semi you guys not remember what McGill did to Moncton last year?? Don't take them lightly...especially considering they have been one of the hottest teams in the nation the latter half of the season.

Anonymous said...

I'd almost rather play McGill than Lakehead on their home ice. Both will be tough but at least you neutralize one advantage.

Hard to say how the pools will look. If you look up the playing regulations, it says explicitly that in a situation where 3 from one conference go to Nationals, the #3 team from that conference gets paired with #1, and the the two Queen's Cup finalists play in the other side, but the CIS amends a lot of things on the fly if they feel it is justified.

An Alberta - SMU final would be pretty interesting and I for one would cheer for SMU. But Western is a team that is built to shut down high scoring teams so who knows how it'll turn out?

Should be fun to see.

Anonymous said...

Gotta win three regardless of who is in their pool! If their PP and PK don't improve, it'll be "try again next year". Secondary scoring has to reappear and the goalies need to start making that "one big save".

Afternoon draw would be a blessing. I'd be curious to know how many winners in last decade have played Fri night, Sat night and Sunday and won?

I remember against X, UNB was on their knees by the 3rd period after spending themselves the night before.

Anonymous said...

Alberta won with the night draw on home ice, and UQTR won in 2003 at UNB...other than that I believe they are all Noon pool champs.

Anonymous said...

In 2003 UQTR started Thursday night though they played 3 in 4 nights, not 3 in 3...

As for the reference to the UNB/X final from 2004...a very similar thing happened to Moncton two years ago...they beat X Friday night (like UNB beat Ottawa on Friday in 2004)...went to OT on Saturday night (as UNB did against Alberta in 2004)...and then went to OT again in the Championship against UNB (as UNB did against X)...both teams eventually ran out of gas in the latter part of the finals before losing...

The only downside to the afternoon draw, in my opinion, is that the Thursday afternoon game can be a tough one to play...although it would be ideal to play Thursday afternoon/Saturday afternnon/Sunday night like UNB did last year that Thursday afternoon game can be difficult as the crowd is usually non-existent and there is not much excitement in the building yet for the players to feed off of...look at how UNB struggled against Sask in the Thursday afternoon game in 2007 and how it took them about half the game to get going against Brock last year...

Anonymous said...

I would suspect the pools will be 1,4 and 5.....that would put Alberta in with McGill and UNB.....that's the most traditional alignment...smu, western and lakehead in the other out for western...they're greasy and playing in home province.....

Anonymous said...

Thursday afternoon has been a tough draw for the #1 teams over the past years. Alberta always complains because they generally have the worse travel time of all teams. I still prefer the afternoon because of the better recovery time on Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

I'm picking SMU out of Pool 'B' - they'll play solid, no risky play, and capitalize on their PP like they have all year. I wouldn't be surprised if they go 66% on the PP. I have to lean towards AB out of Pool 'A', UNB is my team, but they have a healthy team and a solid goalie. The winner Thursday night will advance. If an upset is what we need, then Thu. is the best day for it. Note: UNB has won the last two Pool games against AB ('98 Pool Game #2 and '04 Pool Game #2). We've never won a medal game over AB.