U SPORTS Weekend Watch

Erika Sektenreich-Hodgson competes in U SPORTS Swimming Championship preliminary round. (credit Yves Longpré)
Erika Sektenreich-Hodgson competes in U SPORTS Swimming Championship preliminary round. (credit Yves Longpré)

Swimming

Feb. 24-26: 2017 U SPORTS Swimming Championships 

The 2017 U SPORTS Swimming Championships in Sherbrooke, Que., help to ring in #CHAMPSZN in anticipation of record-breaking performances. Featuring the top swimmers in Canadian university programs, the Championships boast a who’s who of swimmers from Olympians to national and conference record holders.

Among these all stars are Olympians Katerine Savard and Sandrine Mainville of the Montreal Carabins, as well as Kylie Masse of the Toronto Varsity Blues. The Carabins swimmers are looking to use this experience to push Montreal to the title, while Masse is fresh off a bronze medal in Rio and looks to repeat the Toronto women’s title.

The men’s side will see UBC try to return to their title-winning ways with the likes of Keegan Zanatta, one of Canada’s top swimmers. However, 2017 standout and OUA swimmer of the year Hochan Ryu looks to leave Sherbrooke with another banner for Toronto. A dominant Dalhousie swimming program will look to upset the previous champions and claim a national title to compliment their many consecutive conference titles.

 

Check out our feature on Savard and Mainville for this weekend’s Swimming Championship:http://en.usports.ca/sports/wswim/2016-17/releases/170223_Savard_and_Mainville

Stream the event here: http://usports.live

 

Wrestling

Feb. 24-25: 2017 U SPORTS Wrestling Championships 

Winnipeg, Man., is the site of the 2017 U SPORTS Wrestling Championships as the top wrestlers in Canadian university programs fight (literally) for the national title. The Brock Badgers have dominated the Championships in the past, winning the past five women’s titles and three men’s titles. 

The event features strong competition such as Saskatchewan’s Katie Dutchak, as well as strong competition from the University of Calgary. However, Brock intends on maintaining their hold of the title banners with the likes of Tina Mclaren, Emily Schaefer, and Jevon Balfour, all of whom were medalists last year. 

Other schools look to upset, as the prime experience and prestige of the Calgary Dinos wrestling program have their eyes on the 2017 title. With a program expanding from successful alumni, look for the Dinos to return to their title winning ways and compete with Brock to reclaim U SPORTS wrestling royalty.

 

Check out our feature on Erica Wiebe and her impact on the Championship competitor Calgary Dinos:http://en.usports.ca/sports/wwrest/2016-17/releases/170224_Erica_Wiebe 

Stream the event here: http://usports.live

 

Men’s Hockey

Feb. 24-26 (Best of 3): Calgary Dinos vs. Alberta Golden Bears            

Another chapter begins in the long and bitter battle of Alberta, the 27th playoff series between them. One of the longest and fiercest rivalries in U SPORTS, the cities of Edmonton and Calgary will be represented by their respective universities in this weekend’s Canada West semifinals. The best-of-three series will see the nearly identically-matched teams decide which competes for the 2017 Canada West title and a chance to fight for the University Cup in Fredericton, N.B. 

Sweeping UBC to advance, the Dinos look to the conference-leading scorer Elgin Pearce to continue their winning ways going into the match in Edmonton. Support will come by way of figures like Danny Gayle, a multi-goal scorer in the previous series, as well as Game 1 triple-overtime hero Dylan Busenius. 

The Golden Bears have high scoring throughout their roster, with Jamie Crooks, Tyson Baillie, and Jayden Hart each boasting 25-plus points on the season. Also on the side of the Golden Bears: they have won 14 consecutive playoff series against the Dinos. They look to continue their winning ways in a decades-long rivalry they intend to continue their hold on.

 

Women’s Hockey

Feb. 24-28 (Best of 3): StFX X-Women vs. St. Thomas Tommies

The saints are marching in to the AUS semifinals. The St. Thomas Tommies nearly completed a season sweep of the StFX X-Women, until January 22 when an overtime victory for StFX set the stage for this matchup. While the X-Women come in fresh off a series win over the Dalhousie Tigers, the higher-seeded Tommies will enter the series rested and looking to advance to the AUS finals.

StFX will be counting on Sarah Bujold, top AUS scorer and this week’s U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Week. Bujold leads AUS goal scoring by nine goals. Alongside fellow high-scoring forwards Kara Power and Daley Oddy, the X-Women have shown that they know how to find the back of the net and will look to utilize this strength to overcome the higher seeded Tommies.

The Tommies will be led by Kelty Apperson, who represented Canada (alongside Oddy) at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Her scoring prowess is only outdone on the Tommies roster by Lauren Heman, with each player recording 28 points on the season. Winning three of the four matchups against StFX this season, the Tommies cannot fall into the trap of feeling comfortable entering the series as this will be a major decider of the AUS finals.

 

Men’s Basketball

Feb. 25: Toronto vs. Brock 

The fight for the Wilson Cup has entered the quarter-final round. Having fought through the preliminary round and eliminating the Lakehead Thunderwolves, the Toronto Varsity Blues will now take on title-contending Brock Badgers. The previous matchup of these teams in November saw Brock take a close 71-69 victory. The Varsity Blues hope to continue that tight competition in order to advance to the OUA Final Four.

Toronto’s Devin Johnson proved to be among the OUA’s best scorers throughout the 2016-2017 season, averaging 20.5 points per game. The Blues will also look to Sage Usher and his 32 three-pointers on the season in order to secure victory over Brock. The team’s 11-8 record, given the right circumstances, could lead them straight to Wilson Cup contention. 

The Badgers have had a strong season, boasting a 15-4 record on top of the OUA Central standings. Brock was led by the high scoring duo of Dani Elgadi and Johneil Simpson, each with 250-plus points on the season. Even with these high scorers, Toronto is just behind Brock on this season’s scoring list, promising a close contest this weekend.