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.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three V-Reds Recognized At CIS Awards Gala

SASKATOON (CIS) – Liam Heelis, a third-year forward from Acadia University, was named the CIS player of the year in men’s hockey, Wednesday night.

The Georgetown, Ont., native became the second Axemen player in three seasons and the fourth in program history to claim the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy. He follows in the footsteps of forwards Andrew Clark (2012), Kevin Baker (2006) and Duane Dennis (1994).

Other winners announced during the SaskTel All-Canadian Presentation at TCU Place in Saskatoon were McGill rearguard Ryan McKiernan, who was named CIS defenceman of the year; Calgary netminder Jacob DeSerres, selected as the country’s best goaltender; Queen’s goalie Kevin Bailie, who received the Clare Drake Award as rookie of the year; UNB forward Chris Culligan, who claimed the R.W. Pugh Award as the nation’s most sportsmanlike player; Queen’s head coach Brett Gibson, who captured the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award; and Alberta defenceman Ben Lindemulder, who merited the Dr. Randy Gregg Award recognizing his excellence in hockey, academics and community involvement.

The PotashCorp University Cup presented by Co-op gets under way on Thursday at the Credit Union Centre and culminates Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Local Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern) with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet.

Sportsnet also has live coverage of the last two contests of the preliminary round, Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., on Sportsnet 360. All seven games from the six-team tournament will also be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

SENATOR JOSEPH A. SULLIVAN TROPHY (player of the year): Liam Heelis, Acadia

Heelis is the third straight AUS player – and sixth in the past seven years - to win the Sullivan Trophy. Saint Mary’s forward Lucas Bloodoff was the recipient last season.

The six-foot-one, 195-pound sniper exploded in his third university season as he won the AUS scoring title with 42 points, including a CIS-leading 24 goals, in only 26 league games, a significant improvement from his 10-12-22 mark as a sophomore a year ago. A terrific special teams player, he tied for the CIS lead with four short-handed markers and was second in the Atlantic conference with seven power play goals. He also potted three game-winners and ranked second in the Maritimes with 117 shots.

Thanks in large part to his stellar play, the Axemen took second place in the ultra-competitive AUS conference with a 21-4-3 record and were ranked in the top five nationally for most of the season.
A former OHL player with Owen Sound and Peterborough, Heelis has now accumulated 86 career points in 81 regular season games with the Axemen. Last December, the arts major played an integral part as a team of AUS standouts claimed gold for Canada at the FISU Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy.

“We are extremely proud of Liam’s accomplishments, not only on the ice this year, but as a leader in the community at Acadia,” said Axemen head coach Darren Burns. “His determination, leadership and commitment as a person showed every day in practice and in games, enabling him to be a very dominant player for our team this year. I would be hard pressed to say that I have witnessed a player improve as much as Liam has in the AUS. His outstanding season was no doubt instrumental in our team’s success.”

The other finalists for the Sullivan Trophy were forwards Zach Harnden of Western and Derek Hulak of Saskatchewan.

DEFENCEMAN OF THE YEAR: Ryan McKiernan, McGill

McKiernan, who hails from White Plains, NY, brings the defenceman-of-the-year trophy back to McGill for the third time in the five-year existence of the award. Former Redmen standout Marc-André Dorion was the inaugural recipient in 2010 and merited the honour again in 2012.

McKiernan, a 24-year-old finance senior, led the Redmen in points, was 14th in the national scoring race and led all CIS rearguards with 34 points - including 13 goals - six points better than the next closest defender. The six-foot, 193-pound alternate captain tallied four power-play goals, one shorthanded effort and a game-winner while collecting only 11 minor penalties. He either scored or assisted on 26.7 per cent of his team’s goals in league play.

A three-time Academic All-Canadian who is also fluent in French, McKiernan was also a key cog on a squad that had the fourth-best defensive record in the OUA league and 10th best in the nation with a 2.52 goals-against average.

“Ryan is a charismatic, mature and confident young man who is an outstanding student,” said Kelly Nobes, head coach of the Redmen. “Despite being from another country, he has adopted the bilingual culture of Quebec with open arms, has learned French and communicates well with his teammates. On the ice, he has played a major role along our blue line since joining the Redmen and has been a major contributor to our success. A key component on our power-play and penalty-killing units, Ryan also excels in even-strength situations. He is a physically strong defenceman, skates well, possesses a great shot and plays with a controlled mean streak.”

UPEI’s Reginaldo Traccitto and Alberta’s Jordan Rowley were also in the running for the award.

GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR: Jacob DeSerres, Calgary

DeSerres follows in the footsteps of former teammate Dustin Butler and becomes the fifth-straight Canada West puck stopper to win the CIS goaltender of the year award since it was first presented in 2010.

DeSerres, a third-year arts student, played 17 conference games for the Dinos, allowing just 35 goals for a 2.15 goals-against average. He finished the year with a sparkling 13-2-2 record, a .914 save percentage and a trio of shutouts. The Calgary native’s 13 wins were the second-highest by a goaltender in the Canada West regular season, while his goals-against average and save percentage both ranked third.

The six-foot-two, 190-pound goalie, who backstopped Saint John to the 2011 Memorial Cup title, was the Canada West-WHL Graduate of the Month for November 2013 when he went 5-0-1 with a 0.67 goals-against average and three shutouts.

“Jake is very deserving of this award,” said Calgary head coach Mark Howell. “He has been consistent from start to finish this year, has played tremendous hockey and helped us win games. He has been a leader and one of the best goaltenders in the league, and it’s fitting that he receives this recognition.”

The other nominees for top-goalie honours were Evan Mosher of Acadia and Kevin Bailie of Queen’s.

CLARE DRAKE AWARD (rookie of the year): Kevin Bailie, Queen’s

Bailie, a six-foot-three arts & science student from Belleville, Ont., was vital to the Gaels resurgence this season. He is the first Queen’s player to receive the Clare Drake Award since its inception in 1986.

After spending five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and one year with the Summerside Western Capitals in the Maritime Junior Hockey League, where he was named top goaltender at the RBC Cup, Bailie found his way to Queen’s ready to take over the starter’s role after the graduation of all-Canadian netminder Riley Whitlock.

The rookie was dominant from the start and posted a goals against average of 1.98 and a save percentage of .934 in 20 league games, which were good for third and second, respectively, among CIS goalies. He also collected a pair of shutouts among his 11 wins.

Bailie lifted his team to a 17-6-5 regular season and a fourth-place finish in the tight OUA East division race. Thanks in large part to his efforts, the Gaels improved by seven wins over last year and allowed an OUA-low 57 goals, 10 fewer than any other team. The team also broke into the CIS Top 10 for the first time in 30 years and tied the program record for wins in a season.

“Kevin is a true professional in every essence of the word. His preparation and focus are as high as any player I have ever coached,” said Queen’s coach Brett Gibson. “It was extremely comforting going into every game knowing he was back there for us and that just motivated every other player on the ice in each game to play their best.”

Forwards Philippe Maillet of UNB and Christopher Collins of Calgary were also nominated for the Clare Drake Award.

R.W. PUGH AWARD (most sportsmanlike player): Chris Culligan, UNB

A two-time winner of the AUS most sportsmanlike player and recipient of the Don Wells Trophy, Culligan is the first UNB Varsity Red to win the distinction at the CIS level.

A second-year team captain, the Howie Centre, N.S., native tied for 10th in the country with 17 goals and ranked 11th with 40 points in his fifth and final campaign with the V-Reds, while receiving only 16 penalty minutes in 28 games. His +21 rating was also the second best in the Atlantic conference
UNB’s third all-time leading scorer with 171 career points in 133 regular season contest, the two-time University Cup champion captained Canada to gold at the Winter Universiade last December in Italy, where a team of AUS all-stars wore the Maple Leaf. Culligan joined the V-Reds in 2009-10 after a five-year QMJHL career with Cape Breton.

“Chris has been a terrific leader and sportsman during his five years at UNB,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “He is the ultimate competitor and plays the game the right way on a consistent basis. He helped lead our team to a seventh straight first-place finish in the AUS and had a career-best season in helping achieve this feat.”

Forwards Steven Reese of Western and Sean Ringrose of Alberta were also up for the Pugh Award.

FATHER GEORGE KEHOE MEMORIAL AWARD (coach of the year): Brett Gibson, Queen’s

A two-time OUA East coach of the year, Gibson from Gananoque, Ont., is the first Queen’s bench boss to receive the Kehoe Award.

In his ninth season behind the bench, Gibson guided the Gaels to a fourth-place finish in the tough OUA East division with a 17-6-5 mark. Remarkably, the team’s first regulation loss came 18 games into the schedule, in the 2014 calendar year. Thanks to a 12-0-5 start, Queen’s got back into the national Top 10 rankings for the first time since the 1982-83 campaign, reaching as high as No.7.

Gibson’s squad allowed an OUA-low 57 goals in league play, only three more than nationally top-ranked Alberta, and posted 17 wins to tie the program record for a single season. The team was also tops in the country in save percentage (.934) and fewest shorthanded situations (91), while it allowed the third fewest power-play goals in CIS on the year.

“Successful teams are led by great coaches and our men’s hockey program has benefited tremendously from Brett’s vision, energy and expertise,” said Leslie Dal Cin, Queen’s director of athletics and recreation. “We had a fantastic season in 2013-14, which is a testament to Brett’s leadership and ability to combine the talents of his outstanding group of student-athletes, assistant coaches and support staff to pursue a common goal. We can also point to many “wins” off the ice as well through Brett’s efforts to support his athletes in their academic success and through initiatives that build community leadership and alumni engagement.”

Acadia’s Darren Burns and Calgary’s Mark Howell were also in the running for coach-of-the-year honours.

DR. RANDY GREGG AWARD (hockey, academics & community service): Ben Lindemulder, Alberta

The Dr. Randy Gregg Award is going to a member of his alma mater, the University of Alberta Golden Bears, for the eighth time in program history.

Lindemulder is in his fifth and final season of CIS eligibility, his fourth with the Bears after he spent one campaign playing for Northern Michigan University in the NCAA. The Edmonton product is widely regarded as one of the best skaters in CIS hockey and may have a North American pro hockey career waiting for him after his university days are over, as he impressed during the Edmonton Oilers rookie camp last summer.

In 27 league games this season, the senior defenceman tied his career high with 13 points, including nine assists, while also finishing with a career best +19 rating. He is in his second season as an assistant captain and has been a key factor in Alberta leading CIS in fewest goals against (54) and finishing second in penalty killing efficiency (90.4%).

A three-time CIS Academic All-Canadian, Lindemulder is a graduate student currently working on obtaining his Masters degree, after earning a Bachelor’s degree with distinction in 2012. He is also heavily involved in the community, where he has taught balance classes for senior citizens at the Bow River Senior Citizens Lodge and weight training classes for junior high students at Edmonton Christmas School during the 2013-14 school year. He has also volunteered his time to help run the Golden Bears hockey alumni annual peewee tournament, and served an instructor for the Edmonton Oilers during their 2013 summer hockey school.

“Ben is a very dedicated student-athlete,” said Bears bench boss Ian Herbers. “Not only is he an assistant captain on our team and a leader on the ice in all situations, but he leads by example off the ice by excelling academically and in helping those in the community. He represents the finest qualities of the Golden Bears hockey program.”

Brock’s Matt Abercrombie and StFX’s Murdock MacLellan were also nominated for the Dr. Gregg Award.

ALL-CANADIAN TEAMS
First Team Pos. - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown  - Faculty
G Jacob DeSerres  Calgary  3 Calgary, Alta.  Arts
D Ryan McKiernan McGill  4 White Plains, NY Finance
D Jordan Rowley  Alberta  3 Edmonton, Alta. Business
F Liam Heelis  Acadia  3 Georgetown, Ont. Arts
F Derek Hulak  Saskatchewan 4 Saskatoon, Sask. Business
F Zach Harnden  Western 3 Thunder Bay, Ont. Business

Second Team
G Evan Mosher  Acadia  3 Conception Bay South, Nfld. Arts
D Reginaldo Traccitto UPEI  4 Oakville, Ont.  Arts
D Kenneth Peroff  Guelph  4 Astorville, Ont.  Geography
F Chris Culligan  UNB  5 Howie Centre, N.S. Rec. in Sports Science
F Jamie Wise  Ryerson 2 Stouffville, Ont.  Arts
F Sean Ringrose  Alberta  5 Edmonton, Alta. PE & Recreation

All-Rookie Team
G Kevin Bailie  Queen’s 1 Belleville, Ont.  Arts & Science
D Jordan Murray  UNB  1 Riverview, N.B. Kinesiology
D Drydn Dow  Calgary  1 Calgary, Alta.  Arts
F Philippe Maillet  UNB  1 Terrebonne, Que. UGND
F Christopher Collins Calgary  1 Calgary, Alta.  Arts
F Domenic Alberga Ryerson 1 Maple, Ont.  Public Admin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

News And Notes: University Cup, Culligan, V-Reds

The 2014 University Cup kicks off tomorrow afternoon when the #1 ranked Alberta Golden Bears take on the OUA's bronze medal-winning Carleton Ravens. The AUS champion Acadia Axemen see their first action tomorrow evening when they battle the OUA Champion Windsor Lancers. All games will be web-cast on CIS TV, with the final three games also being televised on Sportsnet360. Here are some stories of interest as we await puck drop.

- The CIS has posted their annual in-depth University Cup preview. It includes everything you need to know about the six participating teams.

- The always-excellent Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix will have all of the angles covered as he reports daily on all of the goings-on from the tournament. You can follow him on Twitter, or check out his archive here.

- The CIS has produced a video profiling V-Reds captain Chris Culligan. Definitely worth checking out.

- In an article discussing the Windsor Lancers 4th consecutive CIS women's basketball championship (which they won last week against Saint Mary's), Chris Cochrane of the Halifax Chronicle Herald discusses how this kind of domination isn't new in the CIS. He mentions how Carleton (men's basketball), Laval (football), and UNB (men's hockey) have also enjoyed a prolonged period of success in recent years. 

MacNeil Signs With Bakersfield Of ECHL

The Bakersfield Condors, the ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, have signed Varsity Reds forward Nick MacNeil to a Standard Player Contract (SPC), the team announced on Monday.

MacNeil played his first game with the Condors last night and made an immediate impact as he scored his first pro goal at the 19:24 mark of the 2nd period in an eventual 3-2 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Wranglers. Interestingly, he scored against former UNB teammate Travis Fullerton.

Although it was expected that this would be MacNeil's final season at UNB his loss is certainly a big one for the Varsity Reds, both literally and figuratively. The 6'4", 215 pound native of Creignish, Nova Scotia enjoyed his best season in 2013-2104 as he amassed 29 points (10 goals, 19 assist) in 28 regular season games before adding another 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 4 playoff games.

Overall, during his 4 years as a V-Red MacNeil scored 87 points (40 goals, 47 assists) in 104 regular season game, 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 29 playoff games, was named to teh AUS all-rookie team for the 2010-2011 season, won two University Cup titles (2011 and 2013), and was a member of the FISU team that captured a gold medal at the Winter Universiade this past December.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Culligan Signs ATO With Texas Stars

University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds captain Chris Culligan has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, the club announced this past Tuesday.

Culligan, who finished his UNB career as the school's 2nd all-time leading scorer (conference + playoffs + Nationals) with 63 goals and 150 assists, played his first game for Texas on Tuesday night, wearing #37 and playing on a line with former V-Red Kevin Henderson. The Stars would lose the game 3-1, dropping their record to 36-17-3-5 on the season, as Culligan registered 1 shot on goal, hit a post, and was a -1 on the night.


The Road To The University Cup: Field Set As OUA Wraps Up

The OUA finished up their league playoffs yesterday with the OUA Championship game and OUA Bronze medal game. As a result we now know the six teams that will be participating in the University Cup, which begins this Thursday.

ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT (1 berth at University Cup: AUS Champion - Acadia Axemen)

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
Byes: #1 UNB, #2 Acadia
#3 Moncton defeated #6 St. FX (2 games to 0)
#5 Saint Mary's defeated #4 UPEI (2 games to 1)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-5)
#5 Saint Mary's defeated #1 UNB (3 games to 1)
#2 Acadia defeated #3 Moncton (3 games to 1)

FINALS (best-of-5)
#2 Acadia defeated #5 Saint Mary's (3 games to 1)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS (3 berths at University Cup: OUA East Champion - McGill Redmen + OUA West Champion - Windsor Lancers + 3rd place team - Carleton Ravens)

OUA EAST 

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Carleton defeated #8 Nipissing (2 games to 0)
#2 UQTR defeated #7 UOIT (2 games to 0)
#3 McGill defeated #6 Concordia (2 games to 0)
#5 Queen's defeated #4 Ottawa (2 games to 0)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Carleton defeated #5 Queen's (2 games to 1)
#3 McGill defeated #2 UQTR (2 games to 0)

FINALS (best-of-3)
#3 McGill defeated #1 Carleton (2 games to 1)

OUA WEST 

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Western defeated #8 Guelph (2 games to 1)
#2 Lakehead defeated #7 York (2 games to 0)
#3 Ryerson defeated #6 Brock (2 games to 1)
#4 Windsor defeated #5 Toronto (2 games to 0)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-3)
#4 Windsor defeated #1 Western (2 games to 1)
#2 Lakehead defeated #3 Ryerson (2 games to 0)

FINALS (best-of-3)
#4 Windsor defeated #2 Lakehead (2 games to 0)

QUEEN'S CUP (OUA CHAMPIONSHIP)
#4 Windsor defeated #3 McGill

OUA BRONZE MEDAL GAME
#1 Carleton defeated #2 Lakehead 

CANADA WEST (2 berths at University Cup: Canada West Champion - Alberta Golden Bears + Host - Saskatchewan Huskies)

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
Byes: #1 Alberta, #2 Calgary
#6 British Columbia defeated #3 Saskatchewan (2 games to 1)
#4 Manitoba defeated #4 Mount Royal (2 games to 1)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Alberta defeated #6 British Columbia (2 games to 0)
#2 Calgary defeated #4 Manitoba (2 games to 1)

FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Alberta defeated #2 Calgary (2 games to 0)

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Road To The University Cup: 5 Out Of 6 Berths Determined

The AUS and Canada West playoffs have now wrapped up and only one berth is left to be determined for the University Cup, which gets underway next Thursday.

ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY SPORT (1 berth at University Cup: AUS Champion - Acadia Axemen)

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
Byes: #1 UNB, #2 Acadia
#3 Moncton defeated #6 St. FX (2 games to 0)
#5 Saint Mary's defeated #4 UPEI (2 games to 1)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-5)
#5 Saint Mary's defeated #1 UNB (3 games to 1)
#2 Acadia defeated #3 Moncton (3 games to 1)

FINALS (best-of-5)
#2 Acadia defeated #5 Saint Mary's (3 games to 1)

ONTARIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS (3 berths at University Cup: OUA East Champion - McGill Redmen + OUA West Champion - Windsor Lancers + 3rd place team - TBA)

OUA EAST 

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Carleton defeated #8 Nipissing (2 games to 0)
#2 UQTR defeated #7 UOIT (2 games to 0)
#3 McGill defeated #6 Concordia (2 games to 0)
#5 Queen's defeated #4 Ottawa (2 games to 0)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Carleton defeated #5 Queen's (2 games to 1)
#3 McGill defeated #2 UQTR (2 games to 0)

FINALS (best-of-3)
#3 McGill defeated #1 Carleton (2 games to 1)

OUA WEST 

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Western defeated #8 Guelph (2 games to 1)
#2 Lakehead defeated #7 York (2 games to 0)
#3 Ryerson defeated #6 Brock (2 games to 1)
#4 Windsor defeated #5 Toronto (2 games to 0)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-3)
#4 Windsor defeated #1 Western (2 games to 1)
#2 Lakehead defeated #3 Ryerson (2 games to 0)

FINALS (best-of-3)
#4 Windsor defeated #2 Lakehead (2 games to 0)

QUEEN'S CUP (OUA CHAMPIONSHIP)
#3 McGill at #4 Windsor (Saturday, March 15th)

OUA BRONZE MEDAL GAME
#2 Lakehead at #1 Carleton (Saturday, March 15th)

CANADA WEST (2 berths at University Cup: Canada West Champion - Alberta Golden Bears + Host - Saskatchewan Huskies)

QUARTER-FINALS (best-of-3)
Byes: #1 Alberta, #2 Calgary
#6 British Columbia defeated #3 Saskatchewan (2 games to 1)
#4 Manitoba defeated #4 Mount Royal (2 games to 1)

SEMI-FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Alberta defeated #6 British Columbia (2 games to 0)
#2 Calgary defeated #4 Manitoba (2 games to 1)

FINALS (best-of-3)
#1 Alberta defeated #2 Calgary (2 games to 0)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AUS Awards, All-Stars Announced: Maillet, Culligan, Murray Honoured

(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2013-14 AUS men's hockey major award winners and all-stars as selected by the conference's eight head coaches following regular season play.

Third-year Acadia forward Liam Heelis of Georgetown, Ont. was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player.

Other AUS major award winners announced today were UNB's Philippe Maillet of Terrabone, Que., who was named rookie of the year; UNB's Chris Culligan of Howie Centre, N.S., who was selected as the most sportsmanlike player; StFX's Murdock MacLellan of Mabou, N.S. who earned the Godfrey award for student-athlete community service; and Acadia head coach Darren Burns, who was named the AUS coach of the year for the third time in his career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER (Kelly Trophy): Liam Heelis, Acadia

The Atlantic University Sport men's hockey most valuable player is Liam Heelis of the Acadia Axemen.

Heelis, a third-year forward from Georgetown, Ont., led the CIS in goals this season with 24. He led the AUS conference in scoring with 42 points in 26 games played. Also named a first team all-star today, he had an AUS-leading four short-handed goals and was second in power-play goals with seven. He also boasted the second most shots with 117.

He becomes the fifth Acadia player to claim the Kelly Trophy since 1979-80 and the second league MVP from the Axemen program in the past three seasons.

In three seasons of university hockey, Heelis, a former player with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack and Peterborough Petes, has now accumulated 86 career points in 81 regular season games played.
Heelis played an integral part in the Axemen's journey to the 2014 Subway AUS men's hockey championship finals. In Game 1 of the semifinal series versus the Moncton Aigles Bleus, he posted four points (one goal and three assists) and earned Subway First Star of the Game honours. In Game 2, Heelis scored a hat trick to jump start and complete a 6-5 comeback by the Axemen from a 4-0 deficit. Acadia ultimately took the series 3-1 to earn their place in this week's championship final series versus the Saint Mary's Huskies.

"We are extremely proud of Liam's accomplishments, not only on the ice this year, but as a leader in the community here at Acadia," said Axemen head coach Darren Burns. "His determination, leadership and commitment as a person showed every day in practice and in games, enabling him to be a very dominant player for our team this year. I would be hard pressed to say that I have witnessed a player improve as much as Liam has in the AUS. His outstanding season was no doubt instrumental in our team's success."

Heelis will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the CIS's Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy as the nation's top player.

The Atlantic conference has claimed five of the past six CIS player of the year awards, with Saint Mary's Lucas Bloodoff as the most recent recipient last season.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (A.J. MacAdam Trophy): Philippe Maillet, UNB

The Atlantic conference rookie of the year and recipient of the A.J. MacAdam Trophy for 2013-14 is UNB Varsity Reds forward Philippe Maillet.

In just his first year with the UNB program, Maillet, a native of Terrabone, Que., played in 26 games for the Varsity Reds, finishing first in team scoring and third overall in the AUS with 41 points.
He had the third most goals in the conference this season with 16 and the second most assists with 25.

"Phil was a welcome addition to our team and he made an immediate impact on our top line in helping a youthful UNB squad with twelve new members finish first in the AUS standings," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "He is a dynamic player with high-end offensive talents but is also one of the top penalty killers in the AUS and was one of our most improved players throughout the season."

Maillet, who played four seasons with the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigers before joining the Varsity Reds, becomes the ninth UNB player to be named the conference's top rookie. However, it is the first win for the Varsity Reds since 2007-08 when former UNB standout Hunter Tremblay took home the honours.

He will now look to become the third UNB player to be selected as the CIS rookie of the year later this month. Former Varsity Reds Kevin Young and Ryan Lindsay took home the national honour in 2003-04 amd 1997-98 respectively. The most recent player from the Atlantic conference to earn the award was StFX's Jason Bast in 2010-11.

COACH OF THE YEAR (Bob Boucher Trophy): Darren Burns, Acadia

In his 13th season as head coach, Darren Burns has been selected by his peers as the 2013-14 AUS coach of the year for the third time in his career.

Burns guided the CIS No. 2-ranked Axemen to a 21-4-3 regular season record this year and a second-place finish in the Atlantic conference standings with 45 points. His 21 regular season wins were the most in his career and the highest total by an Acadia coach since 1996-97 when Mark Hanneman led the Axemen to a 21-6-1 finish.

Burns, a captain in his senior year as a player with the Axemen, is the third-longest serving coach in the AUS. Since taking over the Acadia hockey program in 2001-02, he has led the Axemen to an AUS crown (2005-06), claimed a CIS coach of the year award (2004-05) and served as an assistant coach of the AUS team that represented Canada and won gold at the 2007 Winter World University Games in Turin, Italy.

This is Burns' third AUS coach of the year award. His overall coaching record (regular season, AUS and CIS post-season play) now stands at 206-189-12. He picked up his 200th career victory this past January in a win over StFX.

"My life's been in hockey and the job Darren's done this year is as good as it gets," said Acadia athletic director Kevin Dickie. "He has always had a unique ability to blend and maximize the potential of skilled and role players, to build a successful team. This season was special in that regard. Burnsy loves Acadia and coaching the Axemen, and in turn our campus and community are fortunate to have him."

Burns, Hanneman, Tom Coolen and Don Wells are the only Acadia head coaches to be named AUS coach of the year. Burns and Coolen are the only Acadia head coaches to win the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as the CIS coach of the year. Burns took home the CIS award in 2004-05 while Coolen was named the nation's top coach in 1992-93 and 1994-95.

MOST SPORTSMANLIKE PLAYER (Don Wells Trophy): Chris Culligan, UNB

UNB forward Chris Culligan has been chosen as the Atlantic University Sport most sportsmanlike player and recipient of the Don Wells Trophy for the second consecutive season.

Culligan, a fifth-year forward from Howie Centre, N.S., finished second in the AUS in goals this season with 17 and fourth overall in points with 40. His +21 plus/minus rating was the second best in the Atlantic conference.

In five season with the Varsity Reds, he has racked up 171 career points in 133 regular season games.
Culligan, the team captain, often receives a significant amount of attention from opposing teams as one of the league's top players, yet he remains disciplined, picking up just eight minor penalties this season.

"Chris has been the ultimate leader and sportsman during his five years at UNB," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "He is the ultimate competitor and plays the game the right way on a consistent basis. He helped lead our team to a seventh straight first-place finish and had a career best season in helping achieve this feat."

Culligan is the third Varsity Reds player to receive this award. Dax MacLean (1997-98) and Peter MacKellar (1999-00) are the previous UNB players to have been recognized. A UNB player has yet to take home the R. W. Pugh Award as the CIS's most sportsmanlike player.

STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (The Godfrey Award): Murdock MacLellan, StFX

StFX's Murdock MacLellan is the 2013-14 Atlantic conference recipient of the Godfrey Award and is nominated for the prestigious Dr. Randy Gregg award. The Godfrey Award, named after Dr. Bill Godfrey, is given annually to the player who best represents the spirit of intercollegiate hockey by his leadership both on and off the ice and by his conduct throughout the season.

MacLellan, a fifth-year science student from Mabou, N.S., is a member of the StFX Leadership Academy's Leadership 360 program and is the X-Men hockey representative for the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (SALT).

He is involved with the 'Best Buddies' program, volunteering with individuals with special needs through the Canadian Association for Community Living. He also participates in the CACL Classic, an annual hockey game fundraiser for the organization.

MacLellan is a volunteer coach with the weekly Antigonish Minor Hockey novice advanced program. He is active with the StFX athletics X-Out Bullying program and he represented StFX student-athletes at the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (known informally as 'White Ribbon Day').

The 2012-13 X-Men hockey team captain was also the 2013 winner of the StFX athletics Male Community X-Cellence award, given each year to a male and female student-athlete in recognition of extensive community involvement, volunteer experience and extra-curricular contributions.

"Murdock exemplifies everything this award is about," said X-Men head coach Brad Peddle. "He is the leader of our team and is a tremendous person. He has consistently defied odds and exceeded expectations to get where he is today. His work ethic sets the bar for every one of his teammates and consistently holds players to it."

MacLellan appeared in 26 games for the X-Men this season and contributed seven points, including a short-handed goal.

"He is our top defensive forward and can be counted on for important on-ice minutes," said Peddle of his play. "He is our most valuable penalty killer due to his understanding of the game, and is willing to block shots, eat pucks or do whatever it takes to win."

MacLellan is the seventh StFX player to take home the honour and the first since Pat Grandmaitre earned the title in 2004-05.

He now becomes the AUS nominee for the Dr. Randy Gregg Award for the most outstanding CIS student-athlete. X-Men head coach Brad Peddle is the most recent StFX winner of the national award. He took home the honours as a player in 1998-99.

UPEI's Jordan Knox was the recipient of the Dr. Randy Gregg Award last season.

FIRST AND SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced today, along with this year's all-rookie team.

First Team All-Stars:
Goaltender - Evan Mosher, Acadia (3rd year - Conception Bay South, N.L.)
Defense - Reggie Traccitto, UPEI (4th year - Oakville, Ont.)
Defense - Chris Owens, Acadia (4th year - St. John's, N.L.)
Forward - Liam Heelis, Acadia (3rd year - Georgetown, Ont.)
Forward - Chris Culligan, UNB (5th year - Howie Centre, N.S.)
Forward - Mike Cazzola, Acadia (2nd year - Guelph, Ont.)

Second Team All-Stars:
Goaltender - Wayne Savage, UPEI (4th year - St. Thomas, Ont.)
Defense - Jordan Murray, UNB (1st year - Riverview, N.B.)
Defense - Jamie Doornbosch, Saint Mary's (3rd year - Richmond Hill, Ont.)
Forward - Eric Faille, Moncton (4th year - Lachine, Que.)
Forward - Phillippe Maillet, UNB (1st year - Terrabonne, Que.)
Forward - Chris Desousa, UPEI (3rd year - Mississauga, Ont.)

All-Rookie Team:
Goaltender - Brandon Glover, Acadia (Victoria, B.C.)
Defense - Jordan Murray, UNB (Riverview, N.B.)
Defense - Geoff Schemitsch, Acadia (Thornhill, B.C.)
Forward - Phillippe Maillet, UNB (Terrabonne, Que.)
Forward - Steven Beyers, Saint Mary's (Orangeville, Ont.)
Forward - Allain Saulnier, Moncton (Cap-Pelé, N.B.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Season Ends For V-Reds

It proved to be 2010 all over again for the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds as they were eliminated 3 game to 1 by the Saint Mary's Huskies after a 1-0 loss tonight in Halifax. It was a disappointing end to a season in which UNB won their 7th consecutive AUS regular season title.

Saint Mary's got all the offense they needed with a goal just over 4 minutes into the 3rd period and at the end of the day the V-Reds could not find an answer for Huskies goaltender Anthony Peters, who stymied them again and again. He turned aside all 30 shots directed his way, posting the first playoff shutout against UNB since UPEI turned the trick in 1996. The Varsity Reds had 5 power plays in the game but were never really able to get anything going offensively all night.

- Joel Vienneau got the start in net for UNB and was solid in his AUS playoff debut, kicking out 28 out of 29 shots.

- Cam Braes left the game with a knee injury in the 2nd period and never returned.

- The V-Reds have now lost 4 straight playoff games at the Halifax Forum.

- This is the first time UNB has been defeated in a playoff series since that St. FX sweep in 2010.

- The curse of even-numbered years continues for UNB. They have won National Championships in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. They have fallen short in 2008 (lost in CIS Final against Alberta), 2010, 2012 (lost in CIS semi-final against Western), and now 2014.

- The Huskies will now face the Acadia Axemen in the best-of-5 AUS Finals. The Axemen eliminated the Moncton Aigles Bleus with a 3-2 victory tonight in game 4.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Game 1 Redux

For the 2nd time in the series the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds controlled the majority of play, were continuously foiled by a hot goaltender, and then watched as a depleted Saint Mary's Huskies squad scored a goal early into double overtime to win 2-1.

For UNB fans, this series is undoubtedly starting to feel eerily similar to the 3 game sweep at teh hand of St. FX in 2010. The Huskies now hold a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-5 semi-final series and push the V-Reds to the brink of elimination for the first time in 4 years. UNB will look to push the series to a 5th and deciding game tomorrow night when the two team's battle in game 4 back at the Halifax Forum.