Athletes are talented, especially the ones who have made it to the elite levels of the game.
U Sports is one of those levels, but the talent is often overlooked. However, that’s not to say that the unbelievable doesn’t happen. In this column, 49 sports will go into the shots, goals and other plays of the week as well as the more “off-script” events which happen in U Sports.
There are eight rivalry games that happen every year across U Sports, this weekend gave us two of them. The Ryerson Rams hosted their third annual winter homecoming game against the York Lions and UBC put on their Winter Classic. Both games took place in front of rambunctious crowds of students, a welcome change to the often pin-drop quiet venues.
Ryerson’s game was unbelievable. The home team opened the scoring but after 40 minutes of play, the crowd was silent as the Rams trailed 4-2. Although that’s certainly not how it ended, as the third period was one of the most thrilling periods of the season. In the end, Ryerson won 6-5, sending the homecoming crowd home happy.
This game was also where we saw one of our plays of the week, which goes to Steven Harland, who scored the winning goal.
UBC also had quite the crowd, drawing over 6’500 for their 6-2 win over the Manitoba Bisons, however, it was not until the second game of the weekend did we see another play of the week. While the first game may have been a walk in the park for the T-Birds, it was not the case in the second as they had to go to second overtime to find a winner. Fortunately, Austin Vetterl is a person who is a skilled hockey player and scored this goal giving his team the win and a mention in the plays of the week.
Props to Vetterl for doing the Conor McGregor walk as his celebration, as McGregor would strut the same way later in the day after winning his feature fight in stunning fashion against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, marking his return to UFC.
MILITARY ON ICE
Guns weren’t exactly firing, nor were the offences, but there was a lot of military appreciation across the OUA this past weekend.
First deployed were the Nipissing Lakers women’s hockey team, who presented their inaugural Canadian Armed Forces appreciation night where they beat the Waterloo Warriors 2-1.
While honorary warmup jerseys are often seen, rarely do single-use attire find their way into gameplay, but that was the case for the Lakers.
Nipissing went all out with their uniforms, from head to skate they were equipped to battle on the ice. Their helmets were covered with military helmet covers, and the rest of their uniform was camouflage. Certainly not something you see often, but interesting to see the Lakers do it. The broadcast team mentioned that it was not so easy to call the game with the attire, but did appreciate the effort from the Lakers.
What the Lakers did is great, but their players are unlikely to be in the armed forces. Although that was not the case in the annual game between the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) and the USA’s Army hockey team.
“Service, Sacrifice, It’s more than a game” was the mantra spread across the social media of the RMC’s Paladins prior to their annual game against the Army. It’s always an important game on the schedule for both teams, as all the players share a braveness and work ethic that is only found in militaristic people.
Although the rivalry is healthy and alive, it had been a minute since the Paladins had found victory over the Army. that is until this year, where RMC found an overtime winner to put the Americans away 3-2 and win their first showdown since 2002.
Of the five goals scored in the game, none were Play of the Week worthy, however, the storming celebration certainly is.
KINGS AND QUEENS ON THE COURT
U Sports basketball is another one of the major sports in action right now and a few plays from it make the Plays of the Week.
Starting off in the west, the basketball teams at the University of the Fraser Valley were exceptional at both ends of the court in their wins over Metro Vancouver rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans.
Both the men and women shined brightly at either end of the court, but it was these two plays that made our plays of the week.
The first is some very skilled and astute attacking from the women. The second point here is cheeky, but they all count!
The men, on the other hand, may not have blown it away on the offensive side, but their defence was brilliant, reaching its climax with this late-game block.
That’s all for the west, but the OUA brought some brilliance of its own. All-Star guard Tevaun Kokko had audacity to take the rare “own-end”shot ast the end of the quarter.
The ball left his hands
Kokko scored the possible basket of the season for Ryerson, adding three points to his team’s total en route to their win over the University of Toronto
WHAT DO PEKKA RINNE AND U SPORTS HAVE IN COMMON?
The NHL had a goalie goal this week from Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne .
It stunned the hockey world.
So what did Taran Kozun of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies do? He scored one himself.
Not much to say here other than any time a goalie scores it is brilliance in it’s the purest form.
That’s all of the plays of the week in Canadian university sports. Check back next week to see more brilliance that these student-athletes have to offer, you can bet that there will be some!
Cover Photo: UBC Athletics
Highlight contributions from the entire 49 Sports team.