U Sports: Volleyball and hockey share the best plays of the week

Another week has passed and it only offered us more highlight reel, elite plays across Canadian university sports.

This week we saw record crowds, unbelievable upsets and a trifecta of beautiful saves. It was yet another week where some of the countries finest athletes put on astounding displays of form and skill, that again went unnoticed by the majority.

Frosty Mug:

Most U Sports hockey games don’t draw a large crowd, however, that’s not the case for the select games which are promoted at length by their respective schools. Last week Ryerson University hosted their winter homecoming, and UBC hosted their Winter Classic, however, this week the hype moved away from the main metropolises.

Students ands fans packed the Sleeman Centre for the Frosty Mug (Guelph Athletics)

The Guelph Gryphons hosted their 11th annual frosty mug against the Laurier Golden Hawks at Guelph’s OHL arena. The game, which is always the highlight of the Gryphons athletic calendar drew a record crowd of 4942 fans. That total was not only the largest for a Frosty Mug matchup, but it was good enough to be the third-largest OUA attendance on record.

Aiding the draw was the fact that the game was crucial for both sides, The Gryphons came into the game attempting to keep pace with Ryerson and Toronto at the top of the standings, while the Golden Hawks were hoping to overcome the tight playoff race at the bottom of the conference.

The Gryphons ranked tenth in the country squeaked out a 4-3 win, but it certainly wasn’t the dominant performance they were hoping for. However, the game did give a few elite plays, as we begin our plays of the week.

Those three saves certainly kept the Gryphons in the game, and depending on how the rest of the regular season plays out, they could be crucial to the Gryphons’ overall finish.

A different kind of save:

Staying in Guelph, we make our transition to the volleyball court, where their women’s team put on an astounding display of determination in this rally.

There is just so much which is going on, that the fact they won the point is crazy. The Gryphons did go on to lose the game in four sets to the McMaster Marauders, but nothing that the Mauraders did came close to this level of excellence.

Upsets from Toronto:

Toronto was buzzing this week when it came to nationally ranked teams getting dethroned.

Friday night gave us the ryerson Rams men’s basketball team not only defeated the 5th ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, but completely demolished them in what was unequivocally the Rams’ best performance of the season.

Although that was a crazy result, things got a little weirder on the ice where the University of Toronto men’s hockey team continued their recent struggles as they fell to the Laurier Golden Hawks, a team which is battling for their playoff lives. The loss comes after a similar loss to the Western Mustangs, who themselves are enthralled in the same playoff battle.

The Varsity Blues will have to get back on the right track if they want to finish the season atop the standings, as their two losses have allowed their Toronto rivals Ryerson to come within a game of them.

Alumni put on a show:

They may be graduated, but that does not mean that the U Sports flag doesn’t continue to follow them. Most of the alumni action took place on the ice, as five players did notable things over the past weekend.

The stars of the NHL gathered in St.Louis over the last few days to compete in a three on three all-star games as well as in a skills competition. As part of the skills competition, the NHL included 20 women (10 Canada 10 USA) who got to compete in a 20 minute all-star game of their own.

Canda won 2-1 in front of the large live and TV audience, but it was a former McGill Martlet, Melodie Daoust, who gave the Canadians their winning goal as seen below. Josh Kim wrote about Daoust prior to the festivities in St. Louis, feel free to check out his piece for more about the former McGill superstar.

While the second alumni check is not in the top division, it was still notable. In the only ECHL game which plays a single anthem (Both teams in same country), four different U Sports talents made their mark on the scoresheet.

Former UPEI Panther Marcus Power led the way for his Newfoundland growlers, while UNB’s Matt Petgrave endured a similar task for the Brampton Beast who won 7-6 in a shootout.

That is all for this week’s edition of the 49 Sports Plays of the Week, a column which will be back next week to show you sporting excellence one again.

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