Saturday, March 11, 2017

Playoffs Wrap Up, University Cup Teams Set

The U Sports men's hockey conference playoffs finished up this weekend with the OUA crowning their champion as well as bronze medalist, which finalized the eight teams that will compete in next week's University Cup.

Last night in Montreal, the McGill Redmen (21-4-3) clinched their first appearance at Nationals since 2014 with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Windsor Lancers (13-13-2) in the OUA bronze medal game. The Redmen appeared at both the 2011 and 2012 tournaments in Fredericton, losing in the title game in 2011 before capturing their only National Championship in school history the following year.

In the Queen's Cup game, played tonight in Toronto, the hometown York Lions (18-6-4) won their first OUA Championship since 2004 with a 4-3 come from behind win over the Queen's Gaels (18-7-3). Interestingly, this is York's first conference championship and trip to the University Cup since 2004, when the tournament was also held in Fredericton.

So, the eight teams competing at this year's University Cup are:

University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds (AUS runner-up, host)
St. Francis Xavier X-Men (AUS Champions)
Acadia Axemen (AUS bronze medalists)
Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West Champions)
Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West runner-up)
York Lions (OUA Champions)
Queen's Gaels (OUA runner-up)
McGill Redmen (OUA bronze medalists)

The seedings and schedule are expected to be released tomorrow afternoon, however we are quite confident, based on the U Sports playing regulations, it will look like this:

1 - Alberta
2 - St. FX
3 - York
4 - Queen's
5 - UNB
6 - Saskatchewan
7 - McGill
8 - Acadia

- The three conference champions have to be ranked 1-2-3 and the order is based on their final top ten rankings (ie/ Alberta was ranked higher than St. FX, who was ranked higher than York). 

- The OUA runner-up is always seeded 4th.

- UNB and Saskatchewan were the other two conference runner-ups so they will be seeded 5th and 6th in some order. The V-Reds were consistently ranked higher than the Huskies all season so it is likely they will get slotted into the 5th spot while Saskatchewan will be 6th.

- McGill and Acadia are the two 3rd place teams and cannot be seeded higher than any of the conference runner-ups so they have to be placed 7th and 8th. The hosting committee always tries to avoid inter-conference match-ups in the opening round, which means if St. FX is 2nd then Acadia almost certainly will not be 7th. This can easily be solved by putting McGill as the 7th seed and Acadia as the 8th seed.

- This will give us Alberta/Acadia and Queen's/UNB on one side of the draw and St. FX/McGill and York/Saskatchewan on the other side.