Sunday, March 01, 2009

CIS Corner: Canal War, Round III

Notes on our athletes/teams of interest from The 613 .... the women's basketball Gee-Gees face Simon Fraser in the first round of the CIS Final 8.

  • Gee-Gees 96, Toronto 81: The JJs (Rogers 22's Kris Ruiter's splendid sobriquet for Josh Gibson-Bascombe and Josh Wright, who had 28 and 26 points, along with combining for 11 assists) give Ottawa more than a puncher's chance vs. Carleton in Wednesday's OUA East final.

    Carleton defends so well and keeps its focus over the entire run of a 40-minute game better than pretty much any other team in Canada. That could be a tipping point between them and the Gee-Gees on Wednesday, but nevertheless, Ottawa was lights-out over the middle two quarters, outscoring an overmatched U of T team 61-27.

    Here's the liveblog, for those who like to eat the bones.

    Nemanja Baletic gave the Gee-Gees a bailout with some good work inside early in the game.
  • Ravens 105, York 57: According to one of our commenters, Ravens forward Aaron Doornekamp showed no ill effects from the foot injury which kept him out of Carleton's game vs. Ottawa last weekend; he had 16 points, while Mike Kenny had a team-high 21 (seven 3-pointers) and Mike Moser Trophy shortlister Stu Turnbull had 18.

    York point guard Tut Ruach, who had 16 points, deserved much better than going out on a nearly 50-point loss. He'll long be remembered for leading the Lions past Ottawa and Carleton in the '06 playoffs, and orchestrating a first-half surge which had the Ravens on the wrong end of a 61-22 halftime score in January 2007
  • Windsor 68, Gee-Gees 51: The Ottawa women, who will be the No. 8 seed at the Final 8, made it respectable in the OUA final, with Émilie Morasse scoring 18 points. Windsor is just too good and had staked too much on winning the OUA (for their sake, hopefully not too much) to possibly lose.

    More than one Lancer, during the on-court interviews, said winning was the least they can do, to help alleviate some of the economic stress in southwestern Ontario. Sports doesn't repair such losses, but it can be salve in tough times, as Windsor forward Alisa Wulff (17 points) noted, "Our team are blue-collar workers, that's what Windsor does and that's what Windsor people do."

    The Lancers have become a rallying point for people in the hard-hit sun parlour, just as the OHL's Windsor Spitfires have this winter. It's hard to imagine that happening with many CIS basketball teams, female or male, in Canada. How can their coach, Chantal Vallee, not be national coach of the year?
  • Napanee native Matteke Hutzler was Simon Fraser's top scorer in both of their wins at the Canada West women's final four, scoring 22 vs. Alberta and 15 (to share the lead) in their gold-medal game victory over Regina.

    That can be considered an instance of the Sager bump, since she was referenced in an Ottawa Sun feature last week on Alberta centre Anneka Bakker, who's from Ottawa. Alberta ended up winning the bronze medal.

  • Carleton, which went down 5-4 to Trois-Rivieres in double overtime in the decider of their second-round playoff series after a 50-save effort by Alex Archibald, keeps making headway. Making the playoffs in Year 1 was an accomplishment. Coming within a goal of being in the conference final was another step forward. Former major junior players such as Andrew Self, Ryan Berard (two goals on Sunday) and Chris Boudeau-Mifflen have been able to adapt to the university league, which one would figure has to look good to a prospective player.

    The Ravens made an inspired comeback, coming from three goals down on the road to force OT (Rookie Derek Wells scored the tying goal in the third period; as previously noted, he seemed to come up with big goals in both series).

  • Ottawa has home ice for next week's semi-final series vs. Carleton, which is for a spot in the CIS women's championship. The Gee-Gees TCB'd with a 6-1 rout on Saturday; goals eight seconds apart in the second period by Jodi Reinholcz and Ashley Burrill decided the game.

    Meantime, Manitoba and Guelph, ranked Nos. 4 and 5 in Canada, have to win their conferences to go to nationals (over Alberta and Laurier, good luck). Whoever goes between Carleton and Ottawa has nothing to apologize for; they didn't make the rule.

    The Quebec league's quality is obscured by McGill being so damn good. Ottawa and Carleton each played Guelph at a tournament in Montreal in January. Both games went to a shootout, so while one game never says it all, they're probably somewhat on par with the Gryphons.

    It's not clear what is the solution. Hockey probably wouldn't go for a Final 8 format due the cost of travelling to play only one meaningful game; expanding the tournament is probably a non-starter since it already involves a five-day trip.

1 comment:

David McClelland, Fulcrum Sports Editor said...

I'd like to see women's hockey go to a format similar to men's hockey, myself, with the QSSF's teams merged into a large OUA conference. I think it'd make for a more interesting league, and be a bit of a wider showcase for the talented teams.