Saturday, March 24, 2012

NATIONALS GAME #5 - SASKATCHEWAN VS. MCGILL

Number 2 hosts number 3The 2012 Cavendish University Cup continues Saturday at the Aitken University Centre with an 11:30AM tilt between the host, OUA Champion and CIS #2 ranked McGill Redmen, and the Canada West Champion and CIS #3 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies. The Redmen rolled through the OUA in the regular season, posting 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. The Huskies finished in 3rd place in the competitive Canada West this season after posting a conference record of 19-6-3, finishing only two points behind conference-leading Manitoba. They were ranked in the CIS top ten in all 17 polls, reaching a high of 3rd place on 5 separate occasions.

McGill opened their tournament with a 6-3 victory over the Universite of Moncton Aigle Bleus on Thursday afternoon while Saskatchewan fell 5-1 to the same team yesterday afternoon. As a result, McGill can move on to the finals with a win or one or two goal loss. Moncton advances with a 3, 4 or 5 goal victory by the Huskies and Saskatchewan needs to win by at least 6 to have a chance.

Head-to-Head On paper this is the most evenly matched of the three Pool B games. McGill scored 6 fewer goals than Saskatchewan but gave up 8 fewer, giving them a goal differential of +40 compared to the Huskies +38. Both teams are lethal with the man advantage as McGill converted on 20.2% of their power play opportunities, which was 8th best in the country, while Saskatchewan were a CIS-best 26.2%. The Redmen were 9th in the CIS in penalty killing at 84.6% and the Huskies were not too far behind in 12th, killing off 83.8% of their penalties. Although in the playoffs McGill has been successful on 92.0% of their penalty kills while Saskatchewan has fallen to 80.0%. The team’s also ranked 1st and 2nd in the nation in save percentage, with McGill at 0.920 and Saskatchewan at 0.919. It may simply come down to what team is better at generating and limiting shots and scoring chances and that slightly favours the Redmen. They average 36.4 (2nd) shots per game and only surrender 27.5, compared to Saskatchewan, who take 32.2 (13th) shots per game and give up 30.7.

Below are the head to head stats and rankings for each team.


#2 MCGILL

#3 SASKATCHEWAN

OVERALL RECORD

22 – 4 – 2 (1st CIS)

19 – 6 – 3 (6th CIS)

HOME RECORD

12 – 1 – 1

11 – 2 – 1

AWAY RECORD

10 – 3 – 1

8 – 4 – 2

FIRST HALF

11 – 1 – 2

10 – 2 – 2

SECOND HALF

11 – 3 – 0

9 – 4 – 1

RECORD VS. CIS TEAMS

30 – 7 – 2

29 – 9 – 3

PLAYOFF RECORD

7 – 0

6 – 2

PLAYOFF RESULT

OUA Champion

CW Champions

FINAL CIS RANKING

2nd

3rd

BEST CIS RANKING

1st (3 times)

3rd (5 times)

WEEKS IN TOP TEN

18 (out of 18)

18 (out of 18)

GOALS SCORED

102 (11th)

108 (t-7th)

GOALS SCORED/GAME

3.64 (11th)

3.86 (t-7th)

GOALS AGAINST

62 (t-1st)

70 (7th)

GOALS AGAINST/GAME

2.20 (2nd)

2.46 (7th)

GOAL DIFFERENTIAL

+40 (3rd)

+38 (5th)

SHOTS/GAME

36.4 (2nd)

32.2 (13th)

PP GOALS SCORED

34 (5th)

37 (1st)

PP OPPORTUNITIES

168 (3rd)

141 (19th)

OVERALL PP %

20.2 (8th)

26.2 (1st)

PP GOALS ALLOWED

22 (t-12th)

22 (t-12th)

TIMES SHORTHANDED

143 (t-12th)

136 (9th)

OVERALL PK %

84.6 (9th)

83.8 (t-12th)

SH GOALS FOR

10 (4th)

4 (t-15th)

SAVES

709 (10th)

789 (20th)

SAVE %

92.0 (1st)

91.9 (t-2nd)

PENALTY MINUTES/GAME

20.5 (17th)

15.6 (4th)



Who to Watch for on McGill The veteran Redmen 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 on McGill’s top line. 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, registering 13 wins, 4 shutouts, a 2.04 GAA, and a 0.921 save percentage.

Who to Watch for on Saskatchewan – After failing to qualify for the University Cup the last three seasons the Huskies do not have anyone on their team with national championship experience. The Huskies have been led this season by the top three scorers in the Canada West. First team CIS all-star Derek Hulak (44 points, 2nd in CIS) and first team Canada West all-star Kyle Bortis (17 goals, 39 points, 7th in CIS), and second team all-star and CIS most sportsmanlike award winner Kyle Ross (16 goals, 33 points, 19th in CIS) accounted for over 40% of Saskatchewan’s goals this season, with Bortis and Bailey scoring almost half of the team’s power play goals. The three also led the conference in playoff scoring with Ross netting 10 points, Bortis 9, and Hulak 8. Andrew Bailey was the only other member of the team to break the 20 point barrier, putting up 23, although Chris Durand managed 17 points in only 23 games. Matthew Spafford equaled his regular season total of 5 points (in 19 games) in only 8 playoff games. On defence the Huskies are led in scoring by second team all-star Matthew Delahey (17 points). Rookie Chad Suer had 8 points and was second on the team at +18. Brett Ward posted 6 points in the postseason after only having 7 all season. The Huskies have split their goaltending duties almost right down the middle this season. Ryan Holfeld (10-4, 2.11, 0.930) and David Reekie (9-5, 2.68, 0.911) each played well in 14 games this season. In the playoffs Holfeld started 5 games to Reekie’s 4 but posted much better numbers – 4-1, 1.54, 0.938 for Holfeld and 2-1, 3.75, 0.883 for Reekie.
GAME DAY SNAPSHOT

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)
Saskatchewan – Regular Season/Playoffs

  • (19-6-3/41 points, 3rd Canada West, 3rd CIS)/(6-2 playoffs, Canada West Champion)
  • #19-F- Derek Hulak (11-33-44 in 28 games)/(1-7-8 in 8 games)
  • #8-F- Kyle Bortis (17-22-39 in 28 games)/(5-4-9 in 8 games)
  • #14-F- Kyle Ross (16-17-33 in 28 games)/(3-7-10 in 8 games)
  • #21-F- Andrew Bailey (8-15-23 in 28 games)/(1-2-3 in 8 games)
  • #11-F- Chris Durand (9-8-17 in 23 games)/(1-5-6 in 8 games)
  • #31-G- Ryan Holfeld (10-4-0, 2.11, 0.930 in 14 games)/(4-1, 1.54, 0.938 in 5 games)
Special Teams – Regular Season/Playoffs

McGill PP– 34 for 168 (20.2%)/7 for 41 (17.1%)
Saskatchewan PP – 37 for 141 (26.2%)/9 for 48 (18.8%)
McGill PK is – 121 for 143 (84.6%)/23 for 25 (92.0%)
Saskatchewan PK – 114 for 136 (83.8%)/36 for 45 (80.0%)