#1 Ottawa (25-4, 15-2) (LW #2)… With a pair of easy wins against Laurier and Waterloo and games remaining at Nipissing and at Laurentian, Gee-Gees are likely to enter the playoffs as either the #2 or #1 seed in the OUA, depending upon how the RPI shakes out. Presently, using “what if” analysis available on Martin Timmerman’s wonderful cishoops.ca site (my analysis only), Ottawa would get #1 seed and be in a position to host OUA Final Four if Guelph is able to overtake Lakehead for third place in the OUA Central.
#2 Ryerson (19-3, 15-2) (LW #1)… Rams had their 11 game winning streak broken in a shocker at Guelph on Wednesday evening, falling behind by 20, before coming back to take the lead and then faltering at the end. 6’7″ J.V. Mukama, arguably the most complete player Rams have had since Christmas, did not travel with the team to Guelph or on Saturday when Rams rebounded to thrash Lakehead. Interim Coach Patrick Tatham, in what should be regarded as an honorable ploy with the long-term growth of his student/athlete at the forefront, has decided to allow Mukama to play only home games until Tatham is comfortable that Mukama’s focus on academics is in order. Ryerson finishes this coming weekend at Queen’s and at York and needs a pair of victories to retain hopes of a top seed in the RPI-based OUA seeding. As mentioned above, in most scenarios we could ascertain, Rams need Lakehead to finish ahead of Guelph for third place in the OUA Central to obtain OUA #1 seed.
#3 Carleton (19-4, 14-3) (LW #3)… Ravens hammered both opponents from Kitchener/Waterloo this weekend and are firmly entrenched in third spot in OUA seeding. Against Waterloo which was a 40 point game at halftime, all 12 Ravens got into meaningful action. After this weekend’s games at Laurentian and Nipissing, Carleton will prepare to host a quarter-final playoff game a week from this coming Saturday. At this point, if all higher seeds win, Ravens would host #6 seed.
#4 Calgary (24-6, 17-3) (LW #4)… Dinos came back on the road to win at Alberta on Saturday and now own the nation’s longest league winning streak at 13 in a row and counting. Post Matt Letkanen had a strong offensive effort with a pair of throw-downs against the Golden Bears. Dinos and Bears could meet again if Alberta knocks off MacEwan in next weekend’s one of two Canada West “play-in” series in a Battle of Edmonton.
#5 UBC (19-5, 16-4) (LW #5)… Thunderbirds sweep over Winnipeg at home this past weekend clinched 2nd spot in the Pioneer and sets UBC up with a quarter-final home series against Lethbridge Pronghorns, 4th in the Pioneer. Horns have a First Team CW candidate in 6’6″ Brandon Brine but lost 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux, their crafty U.S. guard to an ankle injury this weekend – he will have 2 weeks to recover. UBC retains the automatic host bid for the Nationals but has sites set on another Canada West playoff crown.
#6 Manitoba (19-10, 15-5) (LW #6) Bisons were idle and also get next weekend off before hosting Explorer #2 Fraser Valley in a Best-of-3 in Winnipeg – the first such home playoff series for the program in many (?) years. A two-week lay-off may not be the best tonic for a red-hot team that has won 7 consecutive and 16 of their past 19. Still Manitoba is arguably deepest team of athletic talent in the conference although this is likely to be tested against Cascades, who have a short rotation but plenty of playoff-hardened veterans led by conference all-star candidate Kevon Parchment.
#7 Brock (19-5, 12-5) (LW#8)… Badgers re-gained some lost confidence on Saturday, handily defeating visiting Nipissing after struggling to defeat 6-16 Laurentian in OT on Friday in a game that Voyageurs had the ball on the final possession of regulation gunning for the win. Still, despite struggles over the past month, Badgers remain in a strong position to gain #4 seed in the OUA which guarantees a first-round bye and home quarter-final playoff game. This Wednesday’s showdown with McMaster at the Meridian Center, likely to attract a crowd of over 4,000, will very likely decide that #4 seed. A win would also clinch the OUA Central division regular season crown after the Badgers missed the playoffs last season. Brock then travels to Guelph on Saturday to close out their regular season.
#8 McMaster (16-6, 12-5) (LW #9)… After a pair of easy wins against Nipissing and Laurentian, Marauders hold their own destiny for #4 seed in the OUA; analysis seems to show that under most circumstances, a win at Brock on Wednesday would guarantee Marauders that prized #4 seed. This would also likely vault McMaster into a wild card discussion and make Friday’s game at Guelph important to maintain that wild card possibility. Mac is out to avenge an earlier home loss to Brock before Christmas in a game that sophomore 6’7″ forward Connor Gilmore was injured early.
#9 Dalhousie (19-7, 13-6) (LW #7) It may be a bit harsh to drop Tigers two spots from last week’s rankings however the lacklustre loss at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday showed that Dal, given their comparative lack of consistent offense – has to defend and rebound for 40 minutes to be thought of as a team that can win a game or two (or more) at the Nationals. Tigers did bounce back wonderfully last night, locking up a first round bye at the AUS tournament, with a comeback effort against UPEI as their bench, led by 3 freshmen, shot the Panthers out of their zone, as Tigers finished the game with a collective 10 for 16 shooting effort from downtown over the last 25 minutes of the game to win going away.
#10 McGill (18-5, 10-4) (LW #10) An unlikely comeback win at Laval, in which Redmen rallied from 23 down late in the third, may have masked some major scoring issues for McGill, especially when 6’1″ Jenning Leung is out of the lineup. But 6’5″ fifth-year point forward Vincent Dufort and 6’8 sophomore Noah Daoust, one of the more underrated scoring bigs in the country, rallied the Redmen to clinch their 4th consecutive RSEQ regular season crown. McGill is home to Bishop’s next Saturday with the Gaiters needing a victory to keep their faint playoff hopes alive and then Redmen complete their regular season at home vs.UQAM. McGill hosts the conference tournament RSEQ Final Four at Love Competition Hall on March 11th and 12th for the first time.
Thompson Rivers (17-4, 16-4) (LW: #7) WolfPack get a first round bye in the Canada West playoffs before hosting either Winnipeg or Regina in a quarter-final Best-of-3 at Kamloops.