Thursday, March 22, 2012

NATIONALS GAME #1 - McGILL VS. MONCTON

Number 5 hosts number 2 – The 2012 edition of the Cavendish University Cup kicks off at the Aitken University Centre today at 2PM when the AUS runner-up and CIS #5 ranked Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus host the OUA Champion and CIS #2 ranked McGill Redmen. CIS coach of the year Serge Bourgeois guided the Aigles Bleus to a conference record of 18-9-1 and a 3rd place finish, only one season removed from missing the playoffs. They were ranked in the CIS top ten for the final 15 polls of the season, climbing as high as 3rd at the end of November. The Redmen rolled through the OUA regular season, compiling a 22-4-2 record that not only placed them atop the OUA East division for the second consecutive year but also gave them the best record in the CIS for the second straight season as well. They were in the CIS rankings for all 17 weeks this season, including two weeks in the top spot and 16 weeks in the top three.

Playoffs – Moncton earned their way to the University Cup after defeating the St. FX X-Men 2 games to 1 in the AUS quarter-finals and the Saint Mary’s Huskies 3 game to 1 in the semi-finals. They secured their berth when UNB also made the conference finals. The Varsity Reds made quick work of the Aigles Bleus in the finals, however, as they won the series in 3 straight games. The ten playoff games Moncton played were the most in the country.

McGill ran the table in the OUA playoffs, going a perfect 7-0. They swept best-of-3 series’ against Queen’s, Ottawa, and UQTR. In the 101st Queen’s Cup the Redmen defeated Western 4-1 to claim their 3rd consecutive OUA Championship, and 4th in 5 years. It was their 17th overall which places them only behind Toronto for most all-time.

University Cup – Moncton is making their first trip to the University Cup since they hosted the event in 2008. They defeated Alberta 2-1 in OT to open the tournament before losing to McGill 3-0, denying the Aigles Bleus a chance at a second straight National Championship game on home ice. Moncton has an all-time record of 19-11-1 in their previous 14 trips to the University Cup. They have won CIS Gold on 4 occasions (1981, 1982, 1990, and 1995) and CIS Silver twice, most recently in 2007.

McGill, meanwhile, has become a regular at the event in recent years. They return to the University Cup for the 5th straight year and 6th time in 7 years, the only appearances in school history. They are 5-6 all-time at the University Cup with their best result being a CIS Silver medal at last year’s event. The Redmen beat St. FX 2-1 and Alberta 6-3 in the round robin before falling 4-0 to UNB in the finals.

Here is a snapshot of the two team’s records at Nationals (NOT including this year):

Team

GP

W

L

GF

GA

PCT

Appear.

Gold

Silver

First App.

Last App.

Moncton

31

19

11

127

120

0.613

14

4

2

75-76

07-08

McGill

10

4

6

28

38

0.400

5

0

1

05-06

10-11

Last Meeting – The last meeting between these two teams was at the University Cup in 2008 and is probably one Moncton fans would soon like to forget. After upsetting Alberta in overtime in their first game of the tournament the Aigles Bleus only needed to beat a McGill team that had basically been eliminated after a lopsided loss to the Bears. Essentially playing for nothing but pride the Redmen received a 31 save shutout from goaltender Mathieu Poitras to defeat Moncton 3-0, sending Alberta to the finals based on goal differential.

McGill currently holds a 4-3 edge in the all-time series. Prior to the aforementioned game the most recent meetings between these two teams were a pair of two game series in October of 2006 in McGill (4-3 McGill and 4-0 Moncton) and in September of 2007 in Moncton (4-3 Moncton and 4-1 McGill).

Head-to-Head – Although these two teams are the lowest scoring among the six participants at this year’s tournament they still both feature potent offenses. McGill scored 39 fewer goals than last season but still finished 11th in the CIS in goals scored (102, 3.64 per game). The Aigles Bleus (101, 3.61 per game) were right behind them in 12th spot. The difference, however, may be on defense as McGill gave up the fewest goals in the country (62) and had the best save percentage (0.920) – which propelled them to the 3rd best goal differential in the country at +40 – while Moncton was in the middle of the pack with 86 goals against. McGill also boasts a dangerous power play (20.2%, 8th in the CIS) that could pose problems for a Moncton penalty killing unit that ranked 26th in the country at 80.0%. The Aigles Bleus did connect for 8 shorthanded goals this season however, which was good for 5th in the country. Below are the regular season statistics and CIS rankings for both teams.


#5 MONCTON

#2 MCGILL

OVERALL RECORD

18 – 9 – 1 (11TH CIS)

22 – 4 – 2 (1st CIS)

HOME RECORD

9 – 4 – 1

12 – 1 – 1

AWAY RECORD

9 – 5 – 0

10 – 3 – 1

FIRST HALF

10 – 4 – 0

11 – 1 – 2

SECOND HALF

8 – 5 – 1

11 – 3 – 0

RECORD VS. CIS TEAMS

28 – 16 – 1

30 – 7 – 2

PLAYOFF RECORD

5 – 4

7 – 0

PLAYOFF RESULT

AUS Runner-up

OUA Champion

FINAL CIS RANKING

5th

2nd

BEST CIS RANKING

3rd (1 time)

1st (3 times)

WEEKS IN TOP TEN

16 (out of 18)

18 (out of 18)

GOALS SCORED

101 (t-12th)

102 (11th)

GOALS SCORED/GAME

3.61 (t-12th)

3.64 (11th)

GOALS AGAINST

86 (t-17th)

62 (t-1st)

GOALS AGAINST/GAME

3.03 (17th)

2.20 (2nd)

GOAL DIFFERENTIAL

+14 (12th)

+40 (3rd)

SHOTS/GAME

30.1 (25th)

36.4 (2nd)

PP GOALS SCORED

23 (21st)

34 (5th)

PP OPPORTUNITIES

125 (33rd)

168 (3rd)

OVERALL PP %

18.4 (13th)

20.2 (8th)

PP GOALS ALLOWED

29 (t-24th)

22 (t-12th)

TIMES SHORTHANDED

145 (t-14th)

143 (t-12th)

OVERALL PK %

80.0 (26th)

84.6 (9th)

SH GOALS FOR

8 (t-5th)

10 (4th)

SAVES

850 (24th)

709 (10th)

SAVE %

90.8 (t-8th)

92.0 (1st)

PENALTY MINUTES/GAME

20.9 (22nd)

20.5 (17th)

Who to Watch for on Moncton – The Aigles Bleus will lean heavily on AUS first team all-star Dean Ouellet (league leading 28 assists, 34 points) and top goal scorer Eric Faille (16 goals, 32 points) for offense. They both added another 9 points in the playoffs to finish tied for 2nd in the AUS. Alex Quesnel (25 points), Francis Rochon (15 goals, 23 points), and Marc-Andre Cote (12 goals, 21 points) are all capable of contributing offensively while the return of Christian Gaudet, who produced 14 points in 10 games before being lost due to injury for the remainder of the regular season and all but the final game of the playoffs, adds another dangerous forward to their arsenal. On defence AUS all-rookie team member Samuel Groulx (10 points, +18) and Mathieu Bolduc (9 points, +18) will be looked upon to shut down the McGill attack. Perhaps the most important player for Moncton will be goaltender P-A Marion. Marion, an AUS second team all-star, was stellar between the pipes for the Aigles Bleus this season as he posted 13 victories, a 3.01 GAA, and 0.913 save percentage. He continued his strong play into the playoffs, only giving up 6 goals in his first 6 games, before struggling in the AUS finals and surrendering 13 goals in 3 games. He still finished the postseason with a 2.25 GAA and 0.938 save percentage, however.

Who to Watch for on McGill – The veteran Redmen feature 20 returning players off of last season’s CIS Silver Medal winning squad, as well as 6 players who have collected 100 points in their CIS careers. They are led by a trio of former first team All-Canadians – 4th year forwards Alexandre Picard-Hooper(2011) and Francis Verreault-Paul (2010), and defenceman Marc-Andre Dorian (2010, 2011, and 2012). Picard-Hooper, who was the CIS player of the year last season after leading the nation with 58 points, seen his production drop considerably this season as he registered 21 points in 20 games. However, he added another 8 points in 6 playoff games and remains a dangerous weapon. Verreault-Paul is the top goal scorer in the country, leading the country in goals in both 2010 and 2011 while finishing tied for second this season. He has found the back of the net 74 times in 69 games in that span. Dorion was named the CIS defenceman of the year in both 2010 and 2012. He finished the season 7th in the CIS and 1st among all rearguards with 39 points this season. He has racked up 112 points in his last three seasons. The Redmen will also rely on the likes of Evan Vossen (a team leading 11 points in the playoffs), Andrew Wright, and Maxime Langelier-Parent. In goal Hubert Morin was one of the best in the country this season, registering 13 wins, 4 shutouts, a 2.04 GAA, and a 0.921 save percentage.

Behind the Bench – Serge Bourgeois is in his 3rd season behind the bench for the Aigles Bleus. He has a career regular season record of 37-40-7 and a playoff record of 5- 4. This will be his first appearance at the University Cup as a head coach.

McGill head coach Kelly Nobes is in his second year with the Redmen. He has compiled an impressive record of 46-6-4 in the regular season and 14-1 in the playoffs in his first two years at the helm. This is his 3rd appearance as a head coach at the University Cup, guiding the Laurier Golden Hawks to the tournament in 2007 and McGill last season. The 2011 OUA East coach of the year is 3-2 all-time at the University Cup.

Follow AlongAll tournament games will be webcast at ssncanada.ca, audiocast at chsrfm.ca, and broadcast on CHSR-FM (97.9). David Kilfoil and Christopher Cameron will be hosting a live blog at www.cisblog.ca for every game as well as tweeting during the games (use the #UCup hash tag). UNBHockey on Twitter will also have updates as the game progresses. All OUA games will have live stats at http://www.leaguestat.com/oua/MEN/en/stats/schedule.php

GAME DAY SNAPSHOT

Moncton – Regular Season/Playoffs

  • (18-9-1 /37 pts, 3rd AUS, 5th CIS)/(5-5 in playoffs, AUS runner-up)
  • #19-F- Dean Ouellet (6-28-34 in 28 games)/(3-6-9 in 10 games)
  • #7-F- Eric Faille (16-16-32 in 28 games)/(6-3-9 in 10 games)
  • #21-F- Alex Quesnal (8-17-25 in 24 games)/(3-3-6 in 10 games)
  • #14-F- Francis Rochon (15-8-23 in 26 games)/(0-3-3 in 5 games)
  • #13-F- Marc-Andre Cote (12-9-21 in 27 games)/(2-5-7 in 10 games)
  • #31-G- P-A Marion (13-7-0, 3.01, 0.913 in 21 games)/(5-4, 2.25, 0.938 in 9 games)

McGill – Regular Season/Playoffs

  • (22-4-2/46 points, 1st OUA East, 2nd CIS)/(7-0 playoffs, OUA Champion)
  • #10-D- Marc-Andre Dorian (7-32-39 in 28 games)/(1-6-7 in 7 games)
  • #18-F- Francis Verreault-Paul (21-13-34 in 23 games)/(2-2-4 in 5 games)
  • #11-F- Evan Vossen (13-11-24 in 28 games)/(1-10-11 in 7 games)
  • #19-F- Andrew Wright (4-18-22 in 25 games)/(4-5-9 in 7 games)
  • #9-F- Alexandre Picard-Hooper (6-15-21 in 20 games)/(1-7-8 in 6 games)
  • #1-G- Hubert Morin (13-4-0, 2.04, 0.921 in 17 games)/(7-0, 2.35, 0.919 in 7 games)

Special Teams – Regular Season/Playoffs

Moncton PP – 23 for 125 (18.4%)/9 for 55 (16.4%)

McGill PP– 34 for 168 (20.2%)/7 for 41 (17.1%)

Moncton PK – 116 for 145 (80.0%)/52 for 65 (80.0%)

McGill PK – 121 for 143 (84.6%)/23 for 25 (92.0%)