Three stars of the week: Taraschuk, Kapinga lead squads to CW banners

Lauren Taraschuk (left) and David Kapinga (right) are the CW first stars.
Lauren Taraschuk (left) and David Kapinga (right) are the CW first stars.

Canada West Communications


  • Manitoba’s Lauren Taraschuk (HKY) and Calgart’s David Kapinga (BB) are the Canada West first stars of the week for the period ending March 4
  • Taraschuk backstopped Manitoba to the CW WHKY title, while Kapinga led Calgary to a win in the CW MBB Championship Game
  • Calgary’s Beth Vinnell (VB) and UBC’s Kiera Van Ryk (VB) are the other women’s stars, while Trinity Western’s Eric Loeppky (VB) and Alberta’s Trevor Cox (HKY) are the other men’s stars 

EDMONTON – Newly minted Canada West champions Lauren Taraschuk and David Kapinga are the conference’s first stars this week, after guiding their respective teams back to the top of Canada West. 

On the ice, Taraschuk backstopped the Manitoba Bisons to their third CW women’s hockey title in program history, as the rookie stopped 43 of the 45 shots she faced to lift Manitoba to a two-game sweep of the Saskatchewan Huskies in the CW WHKY Final. 

Meanwhile on the court, David Kapinga delivered for the Dinos, as he scored a game-high 32 points to help Calgary score the 84-77 upset win over Alberta in the CW MBB Championship Game. 

Along with Taraschuk and Kapinga, Calgary’s Beth Vinnell (VB) and UBC’s Kiera Van Ryk (VB) are the other women’s stars, while Trinity Western’s Eric Loeppky (VB) and Alberta’s Trevor Cox (HKY) are the other men’s stars.

Be sure to watch both conference volleyball championship games this weekend by tuning into Canada West TV.

Calgary hosts UBC Friday night (6 p.m. MST) in the women’s title game, while TWU hosts Alberta for the men’s championship Saturday night (8 p.m. PST).


Women’s first star – Lauren Taraschuk

Manitoba Bisons hockey



Winnipeg, Man.

University 1

Game log: Friday, March 2 – 25-save shutout in 1-0 OTW vs. Saskatchewan in CWF / Saturday, March 3 – 18 saves in 5-2 W vs. Saskatchewan in CWF.

The Bison women’s hockey team won the 2017-18 Canada West WHKY championship over the weekend with a two-game sweep of the Saskatchewan Huskies in the CW Final.

The Bisons continued their winning ways in the playoffs, as goalie Lauren Taraschuk backtopped the Herd to a pair of wins. She made 43 combined saves with a shutout in overtime Game 1, as she extended her playoff scoreless streak to 259:30 before eventually giving up a goal in Game 2. 

The rookie started the CW WHKY Final with a 25-save shutout in Manitoba’s 1-0 overtime win in Game 1. The next night, the Winnipeg native did not give up a goal until late in the second period, making 18 saves to preserve a 5-2 Game 2 victory and clinch the championship on home ice. 

The 6-0 goalie leads the conference in playoff stats with a 0.50 GAA, and .969 SV%.

The win was Manitoba’s third CW WHKY banner in the program’s 21-year history. The Bisons now prepare to play at the 2018 U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championships held by Western University from March 15-18.


Men’s first star – David Kapinga

Calgary Dinos basketball


Calgary, Alta.


Game log: Saturday, March 3 – 32 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals in 84-77 W at Alberta in CW Championship. 

The University of Calgary Dinos men’s basketball team earned a conference title for the seventh time in their history thanks to a fourth-year product David Kapinga. 

The Calgary native had a career night during the Canada West championship game in Edmonton, earning his second banner in three years with the Dinos, with an 84-77 win over the conference’s best team during the regular season, the Alberta Golden Bears. 

The veteran guard collected 32 points in the game while shooting .565 from the field. Kapinga was also clutch from beyond the arch, nailing four of his eight three-point attempts. He also had nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals. 

Kapinga, a Canada West third team all-star, will take part in his third consecutive U SPORTS Final 8, leading the No. 2 seeded Dinos into a matchup against the Brock Badges on Thursday, March 8 in Halifax, N.S.


Women’s second star – Beth Vinnell

Calgary Dinos volleyball



Cochrane, Alta.


Game log: Friday, March 2 – 12 kills, one dig, four blocks, and .611 hitting percentage in 3-2 W vs. Alberta in CW SF / Saturday, March 3 – 14 kills, two assists, two service aces, three digs, eight blocks, and .407 hitting percentage in 3-1 W vs. Alberta in CW SF. 

Third-year middle Beth Vinnell was a key contributor during last weekend’s Canada West semifinal at the Jack Simpson Gym, helping lead the University of Calgary Dinos to a sweep of the Alberta Pandas. 

The series victory saw the Dinos earn the right to host the Canada West championship on Friday, March 9 against the UBC Thunderbirds. 

On Friday night, the Dinos found themselves in one of their toughest matches of the season. Calgary rallied after dropping the first and third sets by winning the second and fourth to force a fifth. Vinnell’s power helped the Dinos seal the deciding set, as she finished Game 1 with 12 kills and four blocks in the 3-2 win. 

The next night, the Dinos closed out the series, thanks to another big performance by Vinnell, who had 14 kills and eight blocks. The Cochrane, AB native ended Game 2 with back-to-back service aces, accounting for seven of the Dinos' final eight points. 

Regardless of this weekend’s championship game, both the Dinos and Thunderbirds will advance to the U SPORTS women's volleyball championship in Quebec City, March 16-18.


Men’s second star – Eric Loeppky

Trinity Western Spartans volleyball

Outside hitter


Steinbach, Man.

General Studies

Game log: Thursday, March 1 – 19 kills, .593 hitting percentage, one dig, and one block in 3-0 W vs. Winnipeg in CW SF / Friday, March 2 – eight kills, seven blocks, three aces, two digs, and .312 hitting percentage in 3-0 W vs. Winnipeg CW SF.

Eric Loeppky was once again the focal point of the Spartans attack, as the second-year outside, who was named a Canada West First Team All-Star, averaged 4.5 kills per set, while hitting .488 in Trinity Western’s sweep of Winnipeg in the Canada West semifinals. 

In Game 1, he had 19 kills in TWU’s three-set win over the Wesmen, while hitting a ridiculous .593 for the night. In Game 2, Loeppky was particularly impressive with his blocking and serving, as he collected seven blocks and earned three aces to go with eight kills in a second straight three-set win. Through four playoff games, Loeppky leads Canada West with 62 kills, averaging 4.43 per set, while hitting .393. His 0.57 aces per set in the postseason has him third in the conference. 

The two-time defending Canada West champion Spartans, who have won 18 straight playoff matches, dating back to 2015-16, will host Alberta in the Canada West Championship Saturday (8 p.m. PT) at the Langley Events Centre. The contest will mark the seventh straight year TWU has played for the conference crown.


Women’s third star – Kiera Van Ryk

UBC Thunderbirds volleyball

Left side


Surrey, B.C.


Game log: Friday, March 2 – 16 kills, 10 digs, and 16 points in a 3-1 W vs. UBC Okanagan / Saturday, March 3 – eight kills, two service aces, 10 digs, three blocks, and 11.5 points in a 3-0 W vs. UBC Okanagan. 

Canada West all-rookie and first team all-star Kiera Van Ryk had another outstanding weekend helping power the UBC Thunderbirds to the conference championship game with a semifinal sweep over the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat on the weekend. 

Van Ryk led all players in game one Friday with 16 kills and 16 points while adding 10 digs.

The rookie from Surrey had another 10 digs in Saturday’s straight sets win along with eight kills, two aces, three blocks, and 11.5 points.

Named the Canada West rookie of the year, Van Ryk is the first Thunderbird to earn the honour while also becoming the first player to be named to both the conference’s all-rookie and first team all-star squads.

Van Ryk is fourth in conference kills per set in the post-season with 3.57 after finishing the regular season a very impressive third overall.

Having already earned a berth to the U SPORTS national championship, the defending champion Thunderbirds are in Calgary on Friday to face the Dinos as UBC looks for their first Canada West banner in four years.


Men’s third star – Trevor Cox

Alberta Golden Bears hockey


Surrey, B.C.


Game log: Friday, March 2 – two goals in 5-2 W vs. Saskatchewan in CWF / Saturday, March 3 – assist in 5-1 W vs. Saskatchewan in CWF.

Trevor Cox posted a trio of points over the weekend for the Alberta Golden Bears in their Canada West Men’s Hockey Final sweep of the Saskatchewan Huskies.

Cox came out flying in Game 1 of the series, as the former Vancouver Giant scored a pair of goals, including a penalty shot marker, in Alberta’s 5-2 win in front of nearly 3,000 at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton. 

In Game 2 of the series, Cox assisted on Alberta’s third goal of the night, as the host Bears cruised to a 5-1 win and their second consecutive Canada West title. 

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan now head to Fredericton March 15-18 for the U SPORTS University Cup, hosted by the University of New Brunswick.