OTTAWA (CIS) – The Calgary Dinos and UNB Varsity Reds top the first CIS national rankings of 2012-13 in women's and men's hockey, respectively.
In other CIS sports, St. Francis Xavier (women's rugby), Ottawa (women's soccer), York (men's soccer) and Guelph (women's & men's cross country) all maintain their No. 1 status.
Calgary opens at No. 1 in women's hockey for the first time in program history, seven months after claiming its first-ever national title in the sport. The Dinos are once again among the favourites to win it all this year as they return most of their key players, including Canadian hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser, goaltender Amanda Tapp, who was named MVP of the 2012 CIS tournament, all-Canadian rearguard Stephanie Ramsay, as well as Russian Olympian Iya Gavrilova.
The reigning champs are off to a great start this fall. After going 4-0-1 versus CIS opponents in pre-season action, they opened conference play last weekend with a two-game sweep of Lethbridge, 4-1 and 5-2. The Dinos (2-0-0) travel to Vancouver later this week for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against UBC (1-0-1).
Rounding out the first coaches' poll of the campaign are No. 2 McGill, No. 3 Montreal, No. 4 Alberta (2-0-0), No. 5 StFX, No. 6 Guelph (2-0-0), No. 7 Laurier (1-1-0), No. 8 Western (2-0-0), No. 9 Queen's (1-1-0), and Ottawa and UPEI in a tie for tenth place.
In men's hockey, UBC opens at No. 1 for the second straight year, and for the fourth time in six seasons. The V-Reds claimed the CIS banner three times in the past six years (2007, 2009, 2011) but were upset on home ice by Western in the final pool-play game of the 2012 University Cup championship.
The perennial AUS powerhouse has been impressive so far this fall with a 4-1 pre-season mark versus CIS rivals, including a 7-2 road win over defending national champ McGill, and also pushed the AHL's Portland Pirates to a shootout before falling by 2-1. The V-Reds kick off conference play this weekend with home games versus St. Thomas and Moncton.
McGill, which captured the first University Cup title in school history last spring, opens lower than expected in the national rankings, at No. 5, following a disappointing 0-2 start in league play. After winning three of four pre-season contests, the Redmen were upset 6-5 by Concordia last Friday in their conference opener, before losing 5-2 at home to UQTR on Saturday.
Rounding out the first media poll of the season are No. 2 Alberta (2-0-0), No. 3 UQTR (2-0-0), No. 4 Saskatchewan (2-0-0), No. 6 Western, No. 7 Calgary (2-0-0), No. 8 Moncton, No. 9 StFX and No. 10 Lakehead (2-0-0).
In women's rugby, top-ranked StFX crushed Acadia 90-0 last Thursday to improve to 6-0 in league play. The X-Women, who have outscored their rivals 512-3 in their first six outings, visit St. Thomas (0-5) on Friday.
In women's soccer, No. 1 Ottawa (12-0-1) blanked Laurentian 3-0 and Nipissing 2-0 over the past weekend and has now dominated its rivals 40-1 in OUA conference action. The Gee-Gees host Carleton (7-4-2) on Friday and Trent (3-7-1) on Sunday.
In men's soccer, top-ranked York (10-0-1) scored a 1-0 road win over Guelph in its lone contest of the past week. The Lions visit UOIT (3-9-1) Wednesday and host Brock (1-7-2) on Sunday.
In cross-country running, Guelph leads both the women's and men's rankings for the third straight week. The Gryphons have captured the last seven national team banners in women's competition and have won six straight men's championships, both CIS record streaks.