OTTAWA (CIS) – For the first time since 2011, the defending national champion McGill University Martlets have been established tournament favourites heading into the CIS women's hockey championship in Calgary.
The seeding was announced on Monday for the national tournament hosted by the University of Calgary at the Markin MacPhail Centre. The competition, using a new eight-team format this year, gets underway on Thursday and culminates on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time (8:30 p.m. ET) with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE. Saturday's semifinals are also televised live on Sportsnet ONE (3 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. MT) and all 12 games from the tourney will be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
Joining the newly-crowned RSEQ champion Martlets in their quest for the CIS banner this week are the second-seeded Western Mustangs (OUA champs), No. 3 Alberta Pandas (Canada West champs), No. 4 St. Francis Xavier X-Women (AUS champs), No. 5 Guelph Gryphons (OUA finalists), No. 6 Montreal Carabins (RSEQ finalists), No. 7 Moncton Aigles Bleues (AUS finalists) and No. 8 Calgary Dinos (Canada West semi-finalists).
The quarter-final matchups, split over two days, include Guelph vs. StFX Thursday at 3 p.m. MT, host Calgary vs. McGill Thursday at 7 p.m., Moncton vs. Western Friday at 3 p.m., as well as Montreal vs. Alberta Friday at 7 p.m.
The Martlets earned No. 1 status after they edged archrival Montreal in three games in the best-of-three RSEQ championship series. The two Quebec powerhouses, who faced off in last year's national final, were ranked 1-2 in the country all season, with both teams topping eight of 16 weekly coaches' polls.
Alberta is the most decorated program at the 2015 tournament with seven CIS titles, while McGill ranks second all-time with four triumphs. Montreal and Calgary have both hoisted the coveted trophy once.
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. McGill Martlets (RSEQ champions: 16-4-0 regular season / 4-1 playoffs)
2. Western Mustangs (OUA champions: 20-1-3 regular season / 5-0 playoffs)
3. Alberta Pandas (CWUAA champions: 20-7-1 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)
4. StFX X-Women (AUS champions: 20-4-0 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)
5. Guelph Gryphons (OUA finalists: 18-3-3 regular season / 4-2 playoffs)
6. Montreal Carabins (RSEQ finalists: 15-4-1 regular season / 3-2 playoffs)
7. Moncton Aigles Bleues (AUS finalists: 17-5-2 regular season / 2-2 playoffs)
8. Calgary Dinos (CWUAA semi-finalists: 14-9-5 regular season / 2-2 playoffs)
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times MOUNTAIN TIME)
Wednesday, March 11
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)
Friday, March 13
11:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 7 Moncton vs. No. 2 Western (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 6 Montreal vs. No. 3 Alberta (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 14
11:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
18:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
* The webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.