OTTAWA – For the first time in program history, the University of Guelph Gryphons are the team to beat heading into the CIS women's hockey championship.
CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wice/index
The seeding was announced Sunday for the national tournament hosted for the second straight year by the University of Calgary. The eight-team competition kicks off on Thursday at the Markin MacPhail Centre and culminates next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time (2:30 p.m. Eastern) with the gold-medal final, live onSportsnet 360 and TVA Sports 2. Saturday's semifinals are also televised live on Sportsnet ONE (2 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Mountain) and all 11 games from the tournament will be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
Joining the OUA conference champion Gryphons in their quest for the Golden Path Trophy are the No. 2 Montreal Carabins (RSEQ champs), No. 3 Saint Mary's Huskies (AUS champs), No. 4 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champs), No. 5 McGill Martlets (RSEQ finalists), No. 6 and defending national championWestern Mustangs (OUA finalists), No. 7 Calgary Dinos (hosts) and No. 8 St. Thomas Tommies (AUS finalists).
The quarter-final matchups, split over the first two days of competition, include St. Thomas vs. Guelph (11 a.m.) and McGill vs. UBC (3 p.m.) on Thursday, followed by Western vs. Saint Mary's (3 p.m.) and Calgary vs. Montreal (7 p.m.) on Friday.
The Gryphons, who have been sitting atop the national rankings since mi-November, secured the No. 1 spot thanks to a 5-1 domination of reigning CIS champ Western in Saturday's OUA final. A year ago, Guelph placed fifth in its first appearance at the CIS tournament since 1998.
McGill is the most decorated program at this week's tourney with four Golden Path Trophy triumphs. Montreal, Western and Calgary have claimed one CIS title apiece.
NOTES: All Wednesday practices at the Markin MacPhail Centre (A Arena) are open to the media, starting at 7 a.m. MT... A complete championship preview will follow on Tuesday... The Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet is set for Wednesday evening at the Markin MacPhail Centre.
1. Guelph Gryphons (OUA champions: 21-2-1 regular season / 5-1 playoffs)
2. Montreal Carabins (RSEQ champions: 15-3-2 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)
3. Saint Mary's Huskies (AUS champions: 17-6-1 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)
4. UBC Thunderbirds (CWUAA champions: 16-9-3 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)
5. McGill Martlets (RSEQ finalists: 13-5-2 regular season / 2-2 playoffs)
6. Western Mustangs (OUA finalists: 15-8-1 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)
7. Calgary Dinos (Hosts: 12-12-4 regular season / 0-2 playoffs)
8. St. Thomas Tommies (AUS finalists: 16-7-1 regular season / 5-2 playoffs)
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times MOUNTAIN TIME)
Wednesday, March 16
7:00-17:45 60-minute practices OPEN TO MEDIA (Markin MacPhail Centre - A Arena)
18:00 Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet (Markin MacPhail Centre – Winsport Ballroom)
Thursday, March 17
11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 8 St. Thomas vs. No. 1 Guelph (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 5 McGill vs. No. 4 UBC (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Friday, March 18
11:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 6 Western vs. No. 3 Saint Mary's (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 7 Calgary vs. No. 2 Montreal (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 19
10:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
14:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
17:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
Sunday, March 20
8:45 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv) (at Joan Snyder Arena)
9:00 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
12:30 Final (Sportsnet 360 & TVA Sports 2 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
* Webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.