[CIS Playoff Schedule/Results]
[CIS Hockey Site]
[[U]CIS-SIC.tv: Watch On-line[/U]] [SportsNet U - Stories on Every Game] ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS 3
SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES 1 Links:
:. [LS Summary]
:. [CIS Boxscore] : [CIS Recap/Photos]
:. [SportsNet U Game Story] : [CW Game Story]
The Monkeys have won yet another title. Woop-de-do. They dominated their opponents yet could not score. A year ago, that formula resulted in an opening game loss to a mediocre Waterloo team. This year, they barely escaped the so-so Cartoon U and McGilligutties. And then came Sask.
So how would it go in Saskatown? A rink full of people who drove their tractors to the rink and haven't had a bath or shower in months, possibly years.
Well, the Banjo-Mutts did show that they were the second best team in the tournament. They were outshot (36-21) but not dominated the way Cartoon U and the McGilligutties were. In fact, it looked like they might pull an upset. They were trailing 1-0 and were awarded a 5-minute powerplay. But instead of scoring, they gave up a short-handed goal. And that was your TSN turning point, even though the game was on SportsNet.
What does the tournament tell us about the CIS in general? Well, it confirms that the OHT36 rankings were basically correct. Although Acadia fell flat on their faces, that reflects solely upon them. The AUS were not allowed to send another rep. If they had, I have every reason to believe that the SMUskies would have done better. And how many ADs would want to play UNB for a $100,000 winner-take-all challenge?
Does this mean the CW suddenly got better? No. But it does show that Calgary was well within their rights to claim elite status, that Manitoba could have been good enough to win the OUA, and that MRU, UBC, and maybe even Regina could be one of those Brock/Waterloo/Windsor teams that go on a playoff roll and claim an OUA 2nd or 3rd berth.
And what about the OUA? The OUA West is competitive but the best (and worst) teams are in the OUA East. The OUA East's elite teams do seem to put together challenging pre-season schedules. But it seems to me that they could benefit by having more tough games throughout the season. When I saw the 3 OUA teams play, I was not thinking "here's an A level team". To me they were all B level. And it is hard to become an A level team by playing B level opposition.
During the SportsNet coverage of the Waterloo-Sask game the commentator said Waterloo had just 9 CHL Major Junior grads, whereas Sask had 20. Now, I have seen first-hand how the Bisons have cultivated Junior A players over the course of a couple of seasons to be top class players who have become captains (e.g. Workman and Wild), all-stars (e.g. Wood), and major award-winners (e.g. Christie). However, a steady flow of Major Junior talent is required if you want to produce a top level team. Even the 4th place Bisons had 18 players who came from either Major Junior, pro, or other universities.
When we look ahead to 2014-15, we hear that the CIS is considering making the hockey nationals an 8-team event, just like volleyball and basketball. I like that. Now we have to ask how teams will qualify. The current six teams are allocated like this:
1 - host
2 - AUS winner
3 - CW winner
4 - OUA winner
5 - OUA runner-up (theoretically getting the RSEQ berth)
6 - wild card to rotate between AUS, CW, and OUA
This year Sask was the host and the conference qualifiers were Acadia, Alberta, Windsor, and McGill. Carleton got the OUA's rotating wild-card berth. Bedrock U and the SMUskies would have qualified had it been their turn. In fact the SMUskies qualified last year on this basis.
I would bet that the CIS will simply stop the wild-card rotation and give one such spot to each conference. That would mean 3 spots to the OUA and 2 each to the AUS and CW, with only the host berth rotating. Given this year's results, both Bedrock U and the SMUskies would have qualified.
I would like to see the conferences capped at 3 berths in the nationals. This would mean that when an OUA team hosts the tournament there would be a playoff between the semi-final losers in the AUS and CW. But I doubt that will happen.
Anyhow, happy off-season everybody!