The first full weekend of calendar 2011 regular season games kicks off with every team scheduled with the exception of Regina and McGill. Although there are several games that already have playoff implications, especially in the very tight Canada West, here is one take on the top games to be played this weekend.
#8 Concordia (11-2, 4-1) at Laval (10-5, 4-1) The Stingers and Rouge et Or are tied at the top of the Q and Concordia edged Laval on the final weekend of the first half in Montreal. Laval expects to have back in the lineup their MVP to date this season, 6'4" Jerome Turcotte, who missed the entire Shoveller tournament with an ankle injury. Rouge et Or dropped 2 of 3 games in Halifax including an OT loss to Acadia in which they squandered a 24 point lead. Stingers are led by their MVP candidate 6'2" Kyle Desmarais but in the end will go as far as their three other veterans, 6'3" Evens Laroche, 6'2" Decee Krah and 6'5" James Clark, take them. Game is available on Rouge et Or TV beginning at 8 PM.
#3 Trinity Western (13-2, 12-2) at Victoria (8-7, 7-5) (Friday and Saturday) The Vikes have consistently shown that they can play with the top teams in the country, winning at #5 Saskatchewan, at Alberta and playing #1 Carleton and #4 Windsor tight. A strong showing at home this weekend against the powerful Spartans should not only solidify a playoff spot but begin to put the Vikes in potential position to host a first round playoff game. Unfortunately, Vikes have tripped at home a couple of times (vs. Calgary and vs. Manitoba). Spartans have been flawless except for a pair of convincing home losses to UBC in October and a convincing sweep this weekend should quell some of the whispers that continue to question how real this team is. Both games available on Vikes TV Friday at 8 PM PT/11 PM ET Saturday at 7 PM PT/10 PM ET
#7 Cape Breton (8-5, 7-0) at Dalhousie (10-4, 4-1) (Saturday night and Sunday afternoon) Capers tore through the first half of AUS play undefeated and are the team to beat in Atlantic Canada right now with their blend of athletic guards who pressure the ball and the passing lanes plus at least two very good big men. When right, the Tigers defend very well in the half court but have shown that consistency in stopping transition is not always there and Capers love to run. 6'1" Simon Farine will be tested likely from baseline to baseline and Tigers are showing growing confidence in 6'3" Juleous Grant making decisions offensively. Dal needs more consistent production from 6'9" Joe Schow, who shot only 12 for 36 (33%) during the recent Shoveller. Both games can be viewed on SSN Canada.
#10 Toronto (12-4, 6-2) at #1 Carleton (15-0, 8-0) Both teams have tough games on Friday night prior to this one (Ottawa and Ryerson) and the Blues have historically played Carleton very tough. Ravens continue to play to their strengths which this season has been the slick offensive skills of freshman Phil Scrubb, the penetration abilities of Willy Manigat and the stellar defending of Cole Hobin. Toronto has overachieved in many observers view however this is simply a very strong team with two solid post players in Andrew Wasik and Drazen Glizic, a big, multi-talented scoring wing in Alex Hill and a fifth-year point guard Anthony DeGiorgio plus several others who can shoot the ball. SSN Canada.
#6 StFX (14-3, 3-2) at Acadia (9-7, 3-3) X must bounce back quickly for an afternoon game on the road in Wolfville after playing UPEI on Saturday night at home in Antigonish. Both teams are capable of scoring in the triple digits with explosive weapons. 6'8" Owen Klassen may be the most difficult check in the AUS with his blend of perimeter shooting, ball handling and post moves. X has arguably the most depth in the nation this side of UBC and Carleton and will likely have to draw on it given the scheduling circumstance. Game can be seen on SSN Canada.
Friday Night's Complete Schedule
#8 Concordia at Laval 8:00 PM EST
Bishop's at UQAM 8:00 PM EST
RMC at York 8:00 PM EST
#10 Toronto at Ottawa 8:00 PM EST
Queen's at Laurentian 8:00 PM EST
Ryerson at #1 Carleton 8:00 PM EST
Lakehead at Guelph 8:00 PM EST
#2 UBC at Manitoba 8:00 PM CST
#5 Saskatchewan at Brandon 8:00 PM CST
UFV at Calgary 8:00 PM MST
Alberta at Lethbridge 8:00 PM MST
#3 Trinity Western at Victoria 8:00 PM PST
Winnipeg at Thompson Rivers 8:00 PM PST