AUS Most Valuable Player and Acadia quarterback Kyle Graves tries to escape the McMaster defense. (Photo supplied: Dan MacDonald)

Weekend Sports Roundup November 21

What you might've missed over the weekend.

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In the world of professional sports

In a busy weekend in Atlantic university sport, most sports fans will tell you the most important event didn't take place on the ice, field or court. Sunday's announcement that Sidney Crosby, sidelined for the past ten months with a concussion, will be returning to the ice on Monday likely overshadows any game action that took place this past weekend.

Crosby will make his season debut tonight in what would otherwise be an overlooked and relatively insignificant game between the Penguins and the Islanders. It is now the most anticipated game of the young regular season.

There were also two CFL playoff games this weekend, setting the stage for a matchup between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions in this year's Grey Cup final. Playing at home in Winnpeg in the Eastern semifinal, the Bombers advanced over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with a 19-3 win, led by a 190 yard rushing effort from Jason Garret and a strong showing by Winnipeg's self-proclaimed "Swaggerville" defence.

In the Western semifinal, the BC Lions defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 40-23. BC Quarterback Travis Lulay, widely considered the frontrunner for the CFL Most Outstanding Player of the Year award, threw two touchdowns on over 300 yards passing and rushed another score in on a 61-yard run. With the final game being played at BC Place next Sunday, the Lions have a chance to become the first team since 1994 to win the Grey Cup on home turf.

Football

In university football action, the McMaster Marauders won 45-21 over the Acadia Axemen in Friday's Uteck Bowl  the annual matchup between the Ontario and Atlantic university champions, and one of two semifinals for the national championship game.

The Axemen got off to a quick start, pulling ahead 14-0 early in the game. However, McMaster pulled ahead and never looked back, thanks in large part to a huge second quarter from quarterback Kyle Quinlan (later awarded game-MVP) in which he threw for three touchdowns.

The Marauders head into Vancouver, the site of this year's Vanier Cup, with plenty of momentum, having not lost since Sept. 10 against Western. They'll meet the Laval Rouge et Or, who dominated the Calgary Dinos in the CIS' other semifinal known as the Mitchell Bowl, by a score of 41-10.

Men's Hockey

In one of four Friday night games, the University of Prince Edward Island took on the University of New Brunswick, coming out on top 3-2. The UPEI Panthers' Devin Praught scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to seal the come-from-behind win for UPEI, after they erased a 2-0 deficit late in the second.

In other action, the University of Moncton and St. Thomas University went late into the third period tied 2-2 before Marc-Andre Cote scored the go-ahead goal for Moncton with just under two minutes to go, propelling them to a 3-2 victory.

Also on Friday, Dalhousie University fell 4-2 to Acadia, as the Axemen pulled away with two third period goals, while St. Mary's University had a convincing 5-1 win at home over St. Francis Xavier University.

Saturday saw the Tigers fall 5-3 to St. FX, letting a 3-1 lead evaporate by giving up four consecutive goals to the X-Men. Meanwhile, the Huskies lost 4-2 to Acadia, despite SMU rallying to bring the team within one goal of the Axemen in the second period.

Sunday featured the battle of New Brunswick, the day's only game, between Moncton and UNB. In a fight for top spot in the AUS standings, the Varsity Reds edged out le Aigles Bleu 2-1, with both of their goals coming in the third.

Women's Hockey

On the women's side, Saturday saw UPEI defeat Mount Allison 2-1, with UPEI's Amber Gaudette scoring the deciding goal in the first minute of overtime. The other Saturday game was a 5-3 Dalhousie victory over SMU. Jocelyn Leblanc and Sarah Robichaud led the Tigers with two goals each in the win.

On Sunday, St. FX had five different scorers in their 5-0 defeat of St. Mary's, which marked the Huskies' seventh straight loss. Mount Allison then handed Moncton its first loss of the season in a 3-2 come-from-behind win, and UPEI's Amber Gaudette scored her second overtime goal of the weekend to lead her team to a 1-0 victory over St. Thomas.

Men's Basketball

This weekend kicked off with three men's basketball games on Friday, two of which wound up going to overtime. The lone game decided in regulation was a 101-75 victory by SMU over UNB, with SMU's Tony Fassett and Brian Rouse contributing 29 and 25 points respectively.

In a game between Dalhousie and Cape Breton University, the Tigers hit a three-pointer in the final 30 seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime, where they prevailed 106-102. In the other overtime game, after Acadia tied things up with a free throw in the final seconds against St. FX, the X-Men held off the Axemen to hold on with a 90-89 win.

On Saturday, UNB suffered their second loss in as many days when they were beaten 80-54 by Acadia, led by Axemen forward Owen Kalssen's 18 points. Dalhousie then lost convincingly to Cape Breton by a score of 97-74 after their overtime win against CBU one day prior.

UPEI and Memorial played back-to-back games against each other on Saturday and Sunday, with UPEI coming out on top in both meetings. The UPEI Panthers won 93-83 on Saturday along with a 94-74 victory on Sunday, bringing the team to 4-0 atop the AUS standings.

Women's Basketball

The SMU women's team enjoyed an 86-64 victory over UNB on Friday, receiving 28 points from Justine Colley, the game's leading scorer. Also on Friday, Acadia won 87-78 at home over St. FX, with Axewomen Emma Dunker and Stefanie Chapman each scoring over 20 points in the victory.

Cape Breton then rocked Dal 93-56 in a home game of their own, with all but one CBU player getting on the score sheet. Acadia won its second game in two days when it bested the UNB 88-72, led again by top scorers Dunker and Chapman.

Cape Breton beat out Dal for the second straight day, albeit in much closer fashion, with an 85-77 victory on Saturday. UPEI and MUN's women's teams also played a back-to-back set on Saturday and Sunday and split the two decisions.

In a close first game, UPEI emerged with a 77-73 win, assisted by a game-high 23 points from UPEI Panthers guard Jenna Jones. Sunday saw MUN come back with an emphatic 95-71 win in which no UPEI player scored more than 11 points.

Men's Volleyball

This weekend in men's volleyball saw MUN and Dal go head-to-head on Saturday and Sunday, with both matches taking place on the Dal Tigers' home court.

After losing the first set of Saturday's match to MUN, Dal would go on to win every following set of both weekend matches against the Seahawks. With 3-1 and 3-0 wins over MUN, Dal moves head of UNB in the standings, although the UNB Varsity Reds have played two fewer games so far this season.

Women's Volleyball

In Friday's only game of women's volleyball action, SMU lost its first set to UNB before commandingly winning the next three sets and keeping its perfect 6-0 record in tact.

A busier Saturday saw Cape Breton surrender the first set on route to a 3-1 defeat of St. FX, Dalhousie take a very close match in five sets over MUN, and Acadia pulling off a 3-2 victory to keep UNB winless at 0-7.

Dalhousie and Memorial met again on Sunday, with the Dal Tigers falling in the first set but taking the next three. In the process, they extend their season-opening win streak to seven games, sitting atop the standings at 7-0. Sunday's other match saw Moncton edge Acadia 3-2.

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