When McGill’s men’s and women’s basketball teams concluded their regular season with a doubleheader sweep over Laval last Friday, it capped a rare milestone in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
Both hoops squads finished atop the RSEQ conference standings, joining the Martlets and Redmen hockey teams, which had already finished first in their respective RSEQ and OUA leagues. The odds of winning those four combined regular season pennants all in the same season are almost astronomical. It marks only the second time in CIS history that a same season, men’s and women’s first-place finish was accomplished in both hockey and basketball. The only previous occurrence happened with the Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas last year.
So McGill, which has already claimed national titles in both baseball and synchronized swimming this season, is now in the running to collect as many as four major CIS championships later this month.
The No.1 ranked women’s hockey Martlets, the defending national champs, will be gunning for their fifth CIS banner. They are currently the only one of the four McGill squads to qualify for the CIS tournament, scheduled for Calgary, March 12-15. The Martlets posted a 16-4 record this season to claim first place for the 10th consecutive year. They swept Ottawa in a best-of-three semifinal and enter this week’s league championship series against No.2-ranked Montreal Carabins with a seven-game win streak and a 20-5 overall record against CIS teams. Both Quebec finalists have qualified for Nationals but will clash heads for the Dr. Ed Enos trophy, awarded to the RSEQ champion. Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday, March 5 (7 p.m.), at McGill’s McConnell Arena, followed by the second contest at UdeM’s CEPSUM Arena on Saturday at 2 p.m. If necessary, a deciding game is slated for Sunday, 3 p.m., back at McConnell.
The other three McGill teams are all in sudden-death formats.
In women’s basketball, the fourth-ranked Martlets posted a stellar 15-1 record to finish atop the RSEQ standings for the fifth straight season. They are heading to the RSEQ Final Four tournament, hosted by Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Que., this weekend. The top-seeded Martlets will bring a 21-3 overall record against CIS opponents to the tourney and need two more victories to qualify for the Nationals. They open on Thursday in a semifinal against fourth-seeded Laval. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. A win would put them into Saturday’s final against the winner of the UQAM-Concordia semifinal. The league champion merits a berth at the CIS Final Eight, hosted by Laval in Quebec City, March 12-15.
In men’s basketball, the unranked Redmen were 11-5 in RSEQ play to finish first for the third straight year. They will bring a 17-11 overall mark against CIS teams into the league semifinal, also at Lennoxville, where they will meet fourth-seeded Concordia on Friday at 6 p.m. Sunday’s title match for the newly-named James Naismith trophy will be against the winner of the Laval-Bishop’s semifinal. The Quebec champion advances to the CIS Final Eight, hosted by Ryerson at the site of the old Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, March 12-15.
And last but not least, the No.6-ranked hockey Redmen finished atop the OUA East Division with a 21-5 record. They won their first two playoff rounds, 2-1 over Concordia and 2-0 over Queen’s before being swept 2-0 by UQTR. Nonetheless, the Redmen and their 28-10 record against CIS teams, are heading to southern Ontario this week to play the Windsor Lancers in the OUA’s bronze medal game on Saturday at South Windsor Arena (8 p.m.), with the winner earning the OUA’s third berth to the CIS Final Eight in Halifax, March 12-15.
All four championships will be webcast live with links available in the upcoming events section of the McGill Athletics website at: www.mcgill athletics.ca