Monday, October 31, 2016

Tickets On Sale For Hardy Cup Semi-Final

Tickets are now on sale for the University of Regina Rams’ home Hardy Cup semifinal game, set for this Saturday afternoon (3:30) at Mosaic Stadium against the UBC Thunderbirds.

Advance purchase prices for the tickets will be $20 for adults 18 and over, $10 for youths aged three through 17, and $5 for current University of Regina students. Family packs including two adult tickets and two youth tickets are available in advance for $40.

Tickets will be available in advance online at with pickup at the University of Regina (Rams front office) or at will call on game day. Advance tickets can also be purchased at the Rams front office or the Recreation & Athletic Services desk at the U of R, Birmingham’s Vodka and Ale House, Boston Pizza’s Regina South location on Rae Street, and Elite Auto Body.

Game-day prices for tickets will be $25 for adults 18 and up, $10 for youths aged three through 17, and $5 for current U of R students. Family packs are only available in advance.

The Rams locked up first place in the Canada West standings for the first time in program history with their Week 8 win over Manitoba, putting them in the 1/4 matchup against UBC (3-5). The other semifinal will feature No. 2-seeded Calgary against No. 3 seed Saskatchewan, a game that will kick off next Saturday at noon at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

NHL Three Stars Of Week

 Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 30.


Anderson stopped all 59 shots he faced to post a 2-0-0 record and guide the Senators (5-3-0, 10 points) to third place in the Atlantic Division. He made 22 saves in a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks Oct. 25. Anderson then took a leave of absence following the cancer diagnosis of his wife, Nicholle, but returned with a 37-save shutout in a 2-0 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers Oct. 30. The 35-year-old Park Ridge, Ill., native has earned consecutive shutouts for the third time in his career – and first time in nearly a year (Nov. 19-21, 2015). He owns a 5-1-0 record with a 2.46 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and two shutouts in six appearances this season.


Dubnyk also was flawless, denying all 94 shots against in three starts to lead the Wild (6-2-1, 13 points) to a 3-0-0 week and first place in the Central Division. He made 27 saves in a 5-0 win over the Boston Bruins Oct. 25, 38 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Oct. 27 and 29 saves in a 4-0 triumph over the Dallas Stars Oct. 29. In doing so, Dubnyk became the first goaltender in Wild history to post three consecutive shutouts and also took over the longest shutout streak in franchise history (181:43). The 30-year-old Regina, Sask., native improved to 64-36-9 in a Minnesota uniform (113 GP), including a 5-1-1 record in seven outings this season (1.43 GAA, .952 SV%, 3 SO).


Weber registered 3-2—5, including a pair of game-winning goals, to power the Canadiens (8-0-1, 17 points) to a 4-0-0 week and the top of the NHL’s standings. He opened with consecutive 1-1—2 performances, in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 24 and a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders Oct. 26 (GWG). Weber was held off the scoresheet in a 3-1 triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning Oct. 27, but rebounded with the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 29. The 31-year-old Sicamous, B.C., native paces the NHL with a +12 rating and shares first place among defensemen with 4-6—10 in nine games this season, his first in Montreal.

Something To "Mitch" About

FROM WORST TO FIRST - What a night! And no, I am not talking about what happened at Mosaic Stadium. On Saturday in a Winnipeg hotel where the Rams were having a pre-game meal, I said to U of R Rams coach (and soon to be named CIS coach of the year)  Steve Bryce that it would be nice to not have a nail-biting finish and have a game you know is in the bag midway through the 4th quarter, Mission accomplished!

I don't know if I have ever seen a Rams team put in a more complete or more dominating performance that what I saw at Investors Group Field as the Rams destroyed Manitoba 55-21 in a game that was over early.  The Rams wanted to send a message and they delivered. They were not going to let an opportunity to finish first in Canada West slip through their fingers.

While Bryce has changed the culture and the attitude in the room, one also has to give credit to offensive co-ordinator Mark McConkey and defensive co-ordinator Sheldon Gray. The two young former Rams are building themselves up a rather nice resume.  As was mentioned during our broadcast Saturday night by U of R sports information officer Braden Konschuh, McConkey's name should be mentioned when it comes to those who could go to the next level. Marc Mueller has done a great job on a CFL staff and McConkey may be ready to join him in the future. What he has gotten out of Noah Picton and the Rams offence is outstanding. Yes, the Rams have never had a problem moving the ball, but the former Rams receiver learned a lot from Bernie Schmidt and has added in his own flavour to an offence that is purring.

As for Gray, he also is getting the best out of his troops. Guys like Danny Nesbitt, Bryce McKinnon and rookie Nick Dheilly have been fantastic this season thanks to the schemes the former Ram d-b has put together.

There was only one thing disappointing about the night. It looked like Bryce was going to get the Gatorade shower, but it never happened. It needed to! Yes coach, it did!  Let's wait for two weeks if the opportunity presents itself, and if it does, don't let that slip through your fingers either. Although, mid November games at Mosaic aren't exactly the most balmy games.

The job isn't over yet as there are two tough games to go before the Rams can translate a first place finish in the conference to a Hardy Cup.  Beating the defending Vanier Cup champion UBC Thunderbirds three times in one season will be a very tough thing to do. They get their chance Saturday at 3:30. Be there if you can!  If they can do it, it could set up what could be an epic Hardy Cup clash at Mosaic Stadium between the Huskies and Rams. That would be an event! We can't talk about that for a week though. Games need to be played, but there should be a lot of people in this province excited at what could be happening down the road.

GOODBYE OLD GIRL -  While doing the Rams broadcast, a TV was on in my broadcast location and you know what channel it was on. I was keeping an eye on what was happening at Mosaic Stadium. Yes, I was disappointed to see the final score as I thought for sure the Rider Nation and the emotion involved would be enough to see the green and white win their home and Mosaic finale. Wally had other ideas.  During a commercial break, I saw the last play at Mosaic, and I will admit a lump hit my throat as Rider football in the iconic facility had come to a close. I did not get a chance to watch the closing ceremony until Sunday afternoon and my god, it was unbelievable. That was a half hour that will go down forever in Riders history. Was there a dry eye in the house when that was over? There wasn't after I watched it.

. What a show! I don't know what can be said about it that hasn't been already  The final moments with Reed, Aldag, Makowsky and Durant brought goosebumps. Please tell me there is a print of those 4 men surrounding the Grey Cup. If there is, please sign me up for one--maybe two. That was Rider football right there!

 By the way, never say you don't learn something. I did not know until watching the ceremony that the first games in Regina were played where the Sears clearance centre now sits and I did not know that the owner of the land where Taylor Field stands wanted to build the provincial legislature there. Imagine how different Regina and Wascana Park would look if the Legislature was at Taylor Field. 

Sadly, what happened in the 60 minutes prior to the ceremony was not Rider football! I wasn't there and I didn't say 98 percent of the game so I can't comment, but my phone was blowing up from upset Rider fans who once again have become disenchanted with Chris Jones.  The wins come and the trolls go back into hiding, but they re-emerge quite quickly when another loss or two springs up. Its like these damn maplebugs that go away when its cold, but come out in full force when the sun starts to shine. Its too bad you just couldn't take a shoe and do to the trolls what you do to the maplebugs.

VERRRRRRYYYYY WINNIPEGISH -  I touched upon this last year when I made a visit to Calgary, and it was evident again while in Winnipeg.  From the time I landed at the Winnipeg airport on Saturday morning until the time we headed on the bus to Investors Group Field, I could not find one sign that the Bombers were playing at home Saturday afternoon. There was nothing to indicate it at all that I could see. When in Regina, you know when the Riders are playing, There are signs all over the place and you know what the dresscode is on game-day.  There was nothing around my hotel which was close to IGF indicating the Bombers were playing, and while on the bus to the stadium, one establishment's marquee invited people in to watch the Sunday diet of NFL and the Jets-Sabres game at MTS Centre. By the way, wasn't there a CFL game on Sunday? I digress. The only people I saw that knew a Bomber game was going on were two people who should have known----the father and brother of Weston Dressler as they were staying at the same hotel.  When in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago, there were plenty of signs in the downtown area promoting the Eskimos, but that couldn't be seen in Winnipeg---at least not in the area I was in. Yes, I think the league needs to do a better job in marketing, but teams need to as well--perhaps moreso! This just reinforces how good of a job the Rider people do. Perhaps its time they sat other teams down and explained some things to them.

AT LEAST THEY HAVE THE CAVS AND INDIANS -  The Cleveland Browns are 0-8 after a loss to the New York Jets. Somewhere there is an NCAA quarterback out there dreading the moment he will be picked number 1 by the Browns in the 2017 NFL draft. The team is bad, and their fans are bad too---at least when it comes to this.


Meanwhile, for the 2nd week in a row, there was a tie in the NFL as Washington and Cincinnati finished at 27 after 5 quarters. It has prompted the talk about whether or not you should just keep playing in the NFL until there is a winner. I say yes, but you then have to adopt the CFL and NCAA rules and have each team start their drive at a certain spot. I say it should be the 35 yard line meaning any field goal if you didn't get anywhere would be at least 52 yards.

SEE YA TUESDAY -  Sorry Cleveland, that trophy isn't yours yet.  The Cubs are sending the World Series back to Cleveland and do to the Indians what the Cavaliers did to Golden State which is come back from a 3-1 deficit to win it. Yes, this blogger was somewhat involved in what was a dramatic Game 5 of the World Series. Expect the same for Game 6 and hopefully Game 7.  Anyone that tells you pitching doesn't win in the playoffs doesn't know baseball. What an incredible World Series this has been and yes, Cleveland deserves to be up 3-2 because they have had the better pitching.

CLAUDE WHO - Is there a more under-rated player in the NHL than Philly's Claude Giroux. He goes into the week tied for the NHL scoring lead with Connor McDavid. We talk about so many gifted offensive players in the NHL, but Giroux's name hardly ever gets mentioned alongside guys like Crosby, Tavares, Ovechkin, Kane and McDavid. Why? In the last 5 years, he has had the 5th most points.

MORE THAN A WIN -  The Oilers saw their five game win streak come to an end Sunday night as they were beaten 2-0 by Ottawa. Craig Anderson stopped 37 shots to get the goose-egg in his first start since his wife was diagnosed with cancer. The tears were flowing down Anderson's face as he was named first star while Edmonton hockey fans saluted him as did Cam Talbot. The Oilers goalie stayed behind to applaud Anderson for his efforts in what obviously was an emotionally-charged night for Anderson. The game is more than wins and losses sometimes. It is what makes the game great! We need moments like that to remind us sometimes.

That's all I got!  Have a great week

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rams Finish First in Canada West After Win in Manitoba

The University of Regina Rams defeated the Manitoba Bisons by a lopsided 55-21 score on Saturday night, securing a first-place finish in the Canada West standings for the first time in program history.

The win completes a worst-to-first turnaround for the Rams, who went through a winless season in 2015 but went 6-2 this year under the guidance of first-year head coach Steve Bryce. They’ll now match up with the UBC Thunderbirds (3-5) next weekend in the Canada West semifinals, a game that will kick off on Saturday afternoon (3:30) at Mosaic Stadium and will mark the first time the two teams have ever met in the postseason.

“I’m very proud that we’ve played a role in helping turn this team in a positive direction, but by far the most important piece of the puzzle is how well our players have bonded and are playing together as a team,” Bryce said. “It’s never easy to beat a team three times in one season, but that’s what we’ll have to accomplish to get through UBC. We know we have our work cut out for us against an explosive offence and a stingy defence.”

Third-year quarterback Noah Picton capped off his sensational regular season with 447 passing yards in the win. That gives him 3174 for the season as he breaks the U Sports single-season record of 3162, which was set last year by Calgary’s Andrew Buckley.

While Picton had yet another great passing performance as he completed 27 of his 39 pass attempts, threw three touchdowns, and ran for one more, third-year running back Atlee Simon also had a huge game for the Rams. All three of Picton’s touchdowns were to Simon, and he ran for another to give him four touchdowns in a game for the second time in his career as he equals the school record also shared by Jason Clermont and Chad Goldie. Simon finished with 133 all-purpose yards, rushing 13 times for 76 yards and adding five catches for 57 yards.

Ryan Schienbein had six catches for 129 yards, while Riley Wilson caught five passes for a game-high 156 yards – 81 of which came on one play, when backup pivot Tyler Vieira found him for a long touchdown late in the third quarter. Andrew Bennett had a huge first half with five catches for 93 yards, while Simon, Kyle Moortgat, Brady Eurich, and Mitchell Picton also had multiple receptions.

The Rams defence, which forced three straight two-and-outs to start the game and didn’t allow a point until a Manitoba touchdown late in the third quarter, was led in tackles by Danny Nesbitt (5 solo, 5 assisted). Nicholas Dheilly continued his stellar rookie season with two tackles for loss and his first career interception, while Zack McEachern added a late sack in the win.

NOTES: The total of 55 points scored by the Rams is the fourth highest in school history, eclipsed only by a 59-21 win over UBC (2001), a 58-31 win over Saskatchewan (2001), and a 56-41 win over Manitoba (2014) … Noah Picton finishes the season with 224 completions (Canada West record), 3174 passing yards (U Sports record), and 25 touchdown passes … Mitchell Picton finishes the year with 58 receptions (U of R record), 834 receiving yards, and 11 touchdown catches (tied for U of R record) … Ryan Schienbein’s final numbers for his breakout regular season are 54 catches for 775 yards and seven touchdowns.

(Braden Konschuh/U of R)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rams Look To Finish First in CanWest

• After clinching a home date in the Canada West semifinals with last week’s win over UBC, the Rams have an even loftier goal in mind this week – a win will secure a first-place finish in the Canada West standings for the first time in program history.

• Rams QB Noah Picton has two U Sports single-season records in his sights. He needs 436 passing yards to surpass the national record of 3162 set last year by Calgary’s Andrew Buckley, and 36 completions to break the new U Sports record of 232 set just last week by Ottawa’s Derek Wendel.

• These two teams met earlier this season, with the Rams recording a wild 41-38 come-from-behind win over Manitoba back in Week 2 at Mosaic Stadium.

LOOKING FOR A FIRST: For the Rams, it’s simple – win on Saturday and finish in first place in the Canada West standings. That would be a first for the program as they’ve finished in second on three occasions (2001, 2007, and 2012) since moving up to U Sports football in 1999, but have never finished the eight-game conference schedule in first. The Rams could also finish first even with a loss to the Bisons, though that would require a UBC win over Calgary in a game that kicks off at Thunderbird Stadium an hour before the Regina/Manitoba game starts.

NOAH’S NUMBERS: The statistics that QB Noah Picton have put up so far through seven games are nothing short of spectacular. We’ll do our best here to break it all down, and have a full records section on Page 3 of this version of Game Notes.
Completions - 197 (U of R record, Canada West record, 35 short of CIS record)
Passing Yards - 2727 (U of R record, 435 short of Canada West and CIS record)
TD Passes - 22 (4 short of U of R and Canada West record)
Completion Rate - 69.4% (U of R record, 2.6% short of Canada West record)

ALSO CHASING HISTORY: Since his mammoth game against Calgary which saw him pile up 13 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, SB Mitchell Picton has had several records in sight. He broke Addison Richards’ school single-seasons receptions record with his 70-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown last week against UBC.
Receptions - 56 (U of R record, 10 short of Canada West record)
Receiving Yards - 815 (108 short of U of R record, 297 short of Canada West record)
TD Catches - 11 (tied for U of R record, 4 short of Canada West record)

NATIONAL LEADERS: One of only a handful of U Sports teams to average over 500 offensive yards per game this season, the Rams have a few players among the national leaders. Noah Picton leads the country in passing yards per game (389.6) and touchdown passes (22), Mitchell Picton is the U Sports leader in touchdown catches (11) and second in receiving yards per game (116.4), and Ryan Schienbein is fourth in the country in touchdown receptions (7) and sixth in receiving yards per game (92.3).

DHEILLY CHASING CONFERENCE SACKS LEAD: Rookie DL Nicholas Dheilly has been held without a sack for two consecutive weeks now, but is still tied for second in Canada West with four on the season. He’s tied with Manitoba’s Evan Foster, while Calgary’s Jack McEwen is the conference leader with 4½. No first-year player has ever led the conference in sacks since Canada West began tracking the statistic in 1978.

CLOSE SHAVES: The Rams set an obscure school record in last week’s win over UBC, which marked the sixth conference game they’ve played in this year that was settled by eight points or fewer. By that definition, the previous school mark was set in 2000 and matched in 2003, as five of the team’s eight Canada West games were one-possession affairs in both of those years. Both of those teams continued that trend in the postseason, including the 2000 squad which won 33-32 and 25-22 over Calgary and Manitoba in the Canada West playoffs and defeated Saint Mary’s 40-36 in the Atlantic Bowl before suffering a 42-39 loss to Ottawa in the Vanier Cup.

IN THE FAMILY: Three players on the offensive side of the ball for the Rams are first cousins – RB Blake Anaka, SB Mitchell Picton, and QB Noah Picton - while K/WR Daniel Scraper and WR Michael Scraper are brothers. LB Danny Nesbitt is the son of defensive line coach Greg Nesbitt.

Thanks For The Memories!

I didn't think the first time I walked into this place, that it and the team which occupies it would play such a role in my life. 

I guess maybe when I ran around my house crying after the 1972 Grey Cup because Ian Sunter and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats had ruined my 6th birthday by beating the Riders, I should have known. That green and white bug had bitten me and as we know, there is no cure in this province  once that bug bites you.  I don't know when exactly I made my first trip to the then Taylor Field, but my first memory was sitting in Section 26 having watched Bill Baker decimate both Bruce Lemmerman and Tom Wilkinson in a 40-0 Riders win over those hated Eskimos. I remember going to that first game and just being in awe of not only watching the likes of Ronnie and George, but being at Taylor Field. 

The trips to the grand old lady have been many. As a youngster, I sat in the Rider Rookies section. Every time I am in the building, I look in those endzones and remember. Whether your face was pushed up against that chain-link fence or you waited to catch a convert only to have someone request the ball back, they were games to remember. 

I sat in Section 27 when the power went out against Hamilton and Gainer surfboarded up and down our section. I was in the pressbox on that famous night in 2007 when the power went out, and I was fortunate enough to be on the field amongst the mayhem on what will forever go down as the greatest night in Saskatchewan sports history when the Riders captured the 2013 Grey Cup. Who's kidding who, I was part of the broadcast on 620 CKRM that night hosting the half-time show with Phil Andrews as the snowmobiles did their thing on the field.

I have walked those ramps, I have gone to the trough on the east side,  I have sat on those uncomfortable benches,  I have yelled at the opposition, I have spoken to the greats of our game, and I have loved every minute of it.  My dad took me to my first game and even though I was working, I made sure my daughter got to experience what Rider football at Mosaic Stadium is. I won't be there tonight, but she will be.  It is my hope one day her kids will go to the new Mosaic Stadium to keep the tradition going, Its what we do in Saskatchewan. We can't help it. Its who we are.

The memories are so many. From watching the greats. Lancaster, Reed, Aldag, Austin, Narcisse, Ridgway, Dressler, Chick, Makowsky, Lowe and so many more. Watching three Grey Cups, being there for a 55-55 tie when Henry Burris and Dave Dickenson had a duel for the ages, standing on the visiting sideline and watching Jason Clermont score in overtime to beat the Lions in the Western semi, watching Tony Cherry go around the right side to give the BC Lions a playoff win on a cold Sunday that got colder once he scored to seeing Darian hoist that Grey Cup high.  From watching Bon Jovi to the Blue Jays, the common denominator is that structure on 10th Avenue. 

I won't be there tonight, and I am sorry for that. However, duty calls as I am in Winnipeg with the Rams as they finish off the regular season against the Bisons. While I am sad to not be in attendance, it is nice to know I have at least one more trip to the grand old lady on 10th Avenue as I will be at Rams playoff games. Could they have 3 more games in there? That's up to the Horns to decide.  

Speaking of the Rams, they have given me many Mosaic moments as well. I have been fortunate enough for the past number of years to have been either the TV or radio voice of the team. I called Jon Ryan touchdown catches, I had the privilege of being behind the mike when Neal Hughes had one of the greatest days a running back has ever had in University football. I had the call when Frank McCrystal won his last home game as coach of the team in what was an emotional afternoon, and I absolutely lost my mind as Mike Stefanovic rumbled 100 plus yards for a TD against the Huskies last year. 

All I know is when that time comes to walk down those ramps for the last time and it is time to walk on that hallowed surface where so many Canadian football greats have done their thing, a wave of emotion will wash over me.  That wave could wash over you as well around 9 o'clock tonite. Enjoy the evening and hope the Riders can give you one more positive memory of a building that has likely meant as much to you as it has to me. 

Taylor Field's time has come and there is no denying that. We all look forward to hearing "Bring Em Out, Bring Em Out" next June when the green-and-white start making new memories at their brand new home.  As I walk out for the last time next month, I will be sad because of what Taylor Field has meant, but as I look west, I will see what the future holds.

But while knowing what the future holds, I will look back and say "Thanks for the Memories".  Good and bad, I wouldn't have changed a thing. As you leave your seat tonight whether it is one you have had as a season ticket for many years or one you just got for this game, if you have cheered for this football team, you wouldn't change a thing either. 

Goodbye old girl.  Thank you for all the memories you have given me. You won't be forgotten!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Draftkings CFL Week 19 Picks

Two weeks to go in the regular season. If you've been playing Draftkings CFL this year, how have you made out.  I've increased my bank account, and hopefully you have as well.  Here's the picks for the 2nd to last weekend


The Eskimos and Ti-Cats could light it up in Hamilton. There is no reason to think this couldn't be a shootout with Zach Collaros and Reilly going head-to-head.  The Edmonton QB has more weapons to work with, and while he is the most expensive QB on the board, you have to take him. I don't think you cango wrong with Collaros either.


I've run this horse all year (no pun intended), so why stop now. Its the last chance to use Calgary guys as they have the bye in the final week. Dave Dickenson could pull Messam from the game if Calgary has a comfortable lead, but here's hoping he has put the ball in the endzone a couple of times before that happens.  Others to consider are John White and Mossis Madu


The REDBLACKS receiver is on fire! In his last two games, he has caught 15 passes for 205 yards and 3 TDS.  One has to think Henry Burris will keep looking his way in Winnipeg on Saturday. Others to think about include Bryan Burnham, Davaris Daniels and just because, Rob Bagg. I get this feeling Bagg could have a big game in the final one at Mosaic.


Let's just put it this way. I don't think Vernon Adams will be able to run around and have success against the Calgary defence the way he did against the Rider D at rainy Mosaic last weekend.


This And That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--We are on the eve of the last ever Rider game at Taylor Field. What type of night does the football team have planned? The answers will be found out soon. Some suggest whether or not we are going over the top in saying goodbye to a stadium that was past its prime years ago.  Iconic buildings like the Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens were past their prime years before they held their last game. Edmonton's Northlands Coliseum was well past its prime last year and so was Yankee Stadium and Tiger Stadium. They are iconic buildings that deserve the proper sendoff. The Riders will give them one and hopefully they will give their fans a victory too. This is the last time we will see the green and white at home this season, and like it is any year, you want to go out on a high. That is the case moreso on Saturday. It will be a night where you come in, cheer your team on to what you hope will be a victory and then remember the moments.  My farewell essay will come on game day.

--The Rider player nominees for year end awards will be coming out soon. I don't have a vote. If I did, it would look like this

       MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER -- Naaman Roosevelt
       TOP CANADIAN  -- Rob Bagg
       SPECIAL TEAMS -- Tyler Crapigna
       LINEMAN -- Thaddeus Coleman (is he the only one to play all year?)
       DEFENSIVE PLAYER -- AC Leonard
       ROOKIE -- Justin Cox

The selection of Cox may upset some because of his past history. He isn't the best character guy that the Riders have ever had, but he has kept his nose clean while in green-and-white unlike some others.  He has given the Riders no reason to not want him around, and he has done what has been asked of him on the field. If he strays off that path, we can talk.

--Will Jeff be at this game? He ducked out on the Plaza of Honor, and he was a no-show when the Riders were officially handed the keys to the old Mosaic Stadium.  The relationship with the Riders is a tenuous one for the commish. I would think he should be here representing the league. He has to be! I won't be surprised if he isn't.

--The Stampeders finish the regular season off this weekend as they have the bye for the final weekend. That means they will get some substantial time off before playing in the Western final. Does Dave Dickenson rest his starters knowing they won't play again for a while?

--The Oilers are 6-1. When do we start actually taking notice of what is being done and start talking about this team as one that ends its lengthy playoff drought. 7 games is too early. 15? 20? By the way, do you still think the Taylor Hall trade was a bad one?

--The Habs are the last NHL team to be beaten in regulation. If you're a Montreal fan, was the PK Subban trade still a bad one to make?

--Week 8 NFL Lock of The Week -- Seahawks over Saints
  Week 8  NFL Upset of the Week --Bills over Patriots 

--If all goes right, by this time next week the Chicago Cubs will be World Series champions. Something evil must be lurking, It has to be doesn't it?

--Who thought the University of Regina Rams would be walking into Winnipeg tomorrow to play the Bisons knowing a win would give them first place in Canada West about two months ago.  The job Steve Bryce and his coaching staff have done this year is second to none. If the Rams win this game, Bryce is the CIS coach of the year. There can't be anyone in Canada doing a better job than what he has done. Having a Hec Crighton-calibre starting quarterback helps a lot too. Saturday night should be a fun night at Investors Group Field.  I will have that one for you alongside Braden Konschuh on CKRM2 ( starting at 7.

--The WWE world is abuzz as Brock Lesnar will fight Bill Goldberg next month in Toronto at "Survivor Series". Lesnar is from Maryfield, and Goldberg's wife is apparently from White City. Let's just hold this match at the Superstore East parking lot.

That's all I got. Have a great weekend!  GO RIDERS!! GO SEAHAWKS!! GO CUBS!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Home Schedule – Friday
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Trinity Western, 6:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Men’s Hockey – vs. Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (The Co-operators Centre)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Trinity Western, 8:00 p.m. (CKHS)

Home Schedule – Saturday
Women’s Volleyball – vs. Trinity Western, 5:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Men’s Volleyball – vs. Trinity Western, 7:00 p.m. (CKHS)
Women’s Hockey – vs. Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (The Co-operators Centre)
Away Schedule – Friday
Women’s Basketball – vs. Fraser Valley, 12:00 p.m. PDT (Victoria, B.C.)
Women's Hockey – at Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Men’s Basketball – at Lethbridge, 7:00 p.m. (Lethbridge, Alta.)
Women’s Wrestling – dual at Calgary, 7:00 p.m. (Calgary, Alta.)

Away Schedule – Saturday
Men’s and Women’s Wrestling – at Dino Open, 9:00 a.m. (Calgary, Alta.)
Women’s Basketball – vs. UBC, 11:00 a.m. PDT (Victoria, B.C.)
Cross Country – at Stewart Cup, 12:00 p.m. (Calgary, Alta.)
Women’s Soccer – at Saskatchewan, 12:00 p.m. (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Men’s Basketball – vs. Alberta, 3:00 p.m. (Lethbridge, Alta.)
Men’s Hockey – at Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Rams Football – at Manitoba, 8:00 p.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)
Women’s Soccer – The Cougars (5-6-3) finished the Canada West schedule with a pair of road wins last weekend, including a 5-1 victory over Thompson Rivers that featured a Sydney Langen hat trick and a tight 1-0 win over UBC Okanagan the next day. The strong performance locked down fourth place in the Prairie Division standings and a playoff berth for the Cougars, who will make the short trip north to the University of Saskatchewan to take on the Huskies on Saturday at noon. The winner of that match will move on to the Canada West Final Six, to be hosted by a Pacific Division team.

Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-3-0) host Saskatchewan this Friday night (7:00) at The Co-operators Centre in the team’s annual game in support of the Shine On Foundation, which was created to help financially support mothers with an advanced cancer diagnosis. All proceeds from the 50/50 at the game and the sale of 22Fresh Cougar sweatshirts will go to the Foundation, and the University of Regina Students’ Union will also select a contestant to shoot for free tuition during the second intermission. The teams finish off the two-game weekend set in Saskatoon on Saturday.

Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars start out the Canada West schedule this weekend with a pair of home matches against the top-ranked team in the nation, as No. 1 Trinity Western is in town to open up the conference slate. The two teams will play on Friday night (6:00) and Saturday night (5:00) at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.

Men’s Volleyball – With 10 newcomers on the roster, the new-look Cougars take to the home court for the first time this season with a pair of home matches against No. 2-ranked Trinity Western. The U of R and the Spartans are scheduled to start on Friday at 8 p.m. and on Saturday at 7 p.m. following the conclusion of the women’s matches on both nights.

Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (2-3-1-0) lost twice to Manitoba last weekend in Winnipeg and are now tied with Alberta for fourth place in the Canada West standings through the first three weekends of the Canada West schedule. The U of R is right back in action with a home-and-home against No. 9-ranked Saskatchewan, as the two teams will square off in Saskatoon on Friday night before finishing off the weekend set at The Co-operators Centre in Regina on Saturday night (7:00).

Rams Football (U Sports Ranking: No. 7) – The Rams (5-2) scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to come up with a 35-33 win over UBC on Friday at Mosaic Stadium, ensuring a top-two finish for the U of R and a home date in the first round of the postseason. The Rams finish off the conference schedule this Saturday night (8:00 CDT) at Manitoba, needing a win to lock up first place in the Canada West standings for the first time in program history.

Women’s Basketball – The Cougars continued their torrid start to the 2016-17 season with three more non-conference wins in Edmonton this weekend. They defeated Toronto, Lakehead, and tournament host Alberta to improve to 10-0 this year despite not having the services of Sara Hubenig, Michaela Kleisinger, Charlotte Kot, and Katie Polischuk – those four were off in Xiamen, China representing the U of R and the CIS at the 3x3 FISU World League final. They won a silver medal at the event, which featured 12 university teams from around the globe. Back to a full roster, the Cougars continue their non-conference schedule in Victoria, B.C. this weekend with games against Fraser Valley and UBC.

Men’s Basketball – The Cougars have now won three of their past four games after going 2-1 at the RBC Classic hosted by Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. The U of R started out the tournament with wins over Guelph and UQAM before losing to a powerful Ryerson squad on Sunday. The Cougars close out their non-conference schedule in Lethbridge this weekend, as they face the Pronghorns on Friday night and Alberta on Saturday afternoon.

Cross Country – After sending a partial squad to the Saskatchewan Age Class Championships in Yorkton last Saturday, the Cougars will enter full teams on both the men’s and the women’s side in the Stewart Cup this Saturday in Calgary. Considered a final tune-up to the upcoming U Sports Championships, the meet will be held at Canmore Park near the University of Calgary campus.

Men’s and Women’s Wrestling – The Cougars open their 2016-17 schedule in Calgary this weekend. The women’s team will square off with the Dinos in a Friday-night dual, then both teams will compete in the Dino Open on Saturday. The teams will have the next two weekends off before competing in the Cougar Invitational (Regina) and the Huskie Invitational (Saskatoon) in November.

Week 8 NFL Capsules

Image result for marcus mariota titans 

Week 8 of the NFL season will start with a game between Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans against the Jacksonville Jaguars. For a preview of that game, and others in the NFL this weekend, click here 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

World Series Primer

Image result for 2016 world series

The Cubs are four wins away from winning the World Series for the first time since 1908. The opening-day favorites took three of five from the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series and bested Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. By using a dominant rotation and a recently hot lineup, the Cubs are on the brink of sending Chicago into a frenzy.

Curse of the Billy Goat? The Indians have their own World Series drought to end when Game 1 of the World Series begins Tuesday in Cleveland. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948, three years after the Cubs' last appearance in the Fall Classic.

Despite injuries to Michael Brantley, starters Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, Cleveland kept winning all season against everyone's expectations. With a dominant bullpen (1.67 ERA in 32 1/3 innings this postseason), clutch hitting and superb defense, the Indians are a formidable opponent for the favorite Cubs.

World Series 2016 TV schedule

Game 1: Cubs at Indians, Tuesday 8 p.m. ET on Fox — *Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA)
Game 2: Cubs at Indians, Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox — *Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) vs. *Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA)
Game 3: Indians at Cubs, Friday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox —   *Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA) vs. *Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA)
Game 4: Indians at Cubs, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox — *Ryan Merritt (1-0, 1.17 ERA in 15 1/3 career innings) vs. *John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA)
Game 5 (if necessary): Indians at Cubs, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox
Game 6 (if necessary): Cubs at Indians, Tuesday Nov. 1, 8 p.m. ET on Fox
Game 7 (if necessary): Cubs at Indians, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m. ET on Fox

Players to watch

Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the owner of an MLB-best 2.13 ERA, and Jon Lester combined to notch baseball’s top two ERAs, becoming the first teammate pair to do so since Roger Clemens (1.87) and Andy Pettitte (2.39) did  with the 2005 Astros. The Cubs duo has been stellar this postseason, combining for 1.21 ERA.

The Cubs are 47-13 (.783) this season (including postseason) when Dexter Fowler reaches base safely to leadoff a game. After beginning the postseason 1 for 23, Anthony Rizzo is 8 for his last 15 (.533) with six RBIs. NLCS co-MVP Javy Baez leads the Cubs in runs scored (7), hits (13) RBIs (7) and stolen bases (2) this postseason.

The Indians are now 5-0 this postseason and 11-0 this year when relievers  Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen all appear in a game. The star of the trio of course is Miller, who got eight Jays outs in relief on just 21 pitches in the ALCS clinching win. The series MVP now has 21 strikeouts in 11 2/3 postseason innings this year with just five hits allowed and zero runs.

Corey Kluber will likely take the ball in Game 1 for the Indians, who hold home-field advantage in the series thanks to an AL All-Star Game victory (in which Kluber was credited with the win). The right-hander saw a personal 15 1/3-inning postseason scoreless streak come to an end following a homer by Josh Donaldson in Game 4 but looks to start another against a Cubs team he held to one run over 7 2/3 innings with four hits and 11 strikeouts in 2015.

Key stats

The Cubs won a MLB-best 103 games in the regular season. Of the last 27 teams with at least 100 wins in the regular season, only two went on to win the World Series (Yankees in 1998, 2009).
The Cubs have scored five or more runs in seven of their 10 postseason contests this year but also suffered back-to-back shutout losses against the Dodgers.

Chances are the World Series won't end in a Cubs sweep since the Indians never lost more than three consecutive games all year. The two clubs last faced each other in 2015, splitting the four-game series although the Cubs outscored the Indians 22-11.
The Indians' pitching staff has held opponents to a .206 batting average this postseason and only .130 with runners in scoring position.
The sixth inning is telling for the Indians. Including the postseason, Cleveland is 76-5 when leading after the sixth inning but are 9-55 when trailing after six.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Getting Ready For Last Rider Game at Mosaic Stadium

There are still 1600 tickets left for Saturday's Rider game against B-C. The last Rider game to be played at Mosaic Stadium.  The night will be a special one with the Riders telling fans to get to the park early and be prepared to stay a little later as the Rider Nation says farewell to its only home.

List of events:
2:00pm – GoodLife Fan Fest gates open
3:30pm – Mosaic Stadium gates open (get inside the stadium early as the party begins before kick-off!!)
5:00pm – Kick-off with the Saskatchewan Roughriders taking on the visiting B.C. Lions
Halftime – Capital Auto Mall Tailgates & Touchdowns Truck Giveaway and extended half time concert featuring Jess Moskaluke, light show, pyro and some “luminous” help from the fans
End of game – A once in a lifetime 25-minute closing celebration including video, pyro, and special guests! 

NHL Three Stars of Week

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Oct. 23.

Talbot went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and
one shutout to pace all goaltenders in wins and guide the Oilers (5-1-0, 10 points) to the
top of the NHL’s standings, highlighted by their best six-game start since 1985-86 (also
5-1-0). He recorded 31 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Oct. 18 and
34 stops in a 3-1 triumph over the St. Louis Blues Oct. 20, one day after becoming the
father of twins. Talbot capped the week with a flawless performance in a 3-0 win over
the Winnipeg Jets in the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic Oct. 23, becoming the
third goaltender in League history to post a shutout in a regular-season outdoor game
(31 SV). The 29-year-old Caledonia, Ont., native owns a 59-43-10 record in 119 career
NHL appearances (2.29 GAA, .924 SV%, 12 SO), including a 5-1-0 clip this season
(2.75 GAA, .919 SV%, 1 SO).

Anisimov led the NHL with 4-3—7, including a pair of multi-goal performances, to
power the Blackhawks (3-3-0, 6 points) to two victories in three contests. He opened the
week with 2-2—4 in 7-4 triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 18, his third career
four-point outing and first since Feb. 6. Anisimov added one assist in a 3-2 loss to the
Columbus Blue Jackets Oct. 21 before scoring twice, his seventh career multi-goal
game, in a 5-4 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs Oct. 22. The 28-year-old
Yaroslavl, Russia, native has 110-132—242 in 495 career NHL appearances, including
4-4—8 in six outings this season.

Green registered 3-2—5 to lead the Red Wings (4-2-0, 8 points) to a perfect 4-0-0
week. He notched his first career hat trick – and the first by a Detroit defenseman since
Dec. 15, 2010 (Nicklas Lidstrom) – in the final home opener at Joe Louis Arena, a 5-1
win over the Ottawa Senators Oct. 17. Green then collected one assist in both a 2-1
victory over the New York Rangers Oct. 19 and a 5-3 triumph over the Nashville
Predators Oct. 21 before being held off the scoresheet in a 3-0 win over the San Jose
Sharks Oct. 22. The 31-year-old Calgary native has 123-279—402 in 655 career NHL
outings, including 3-4—7 in six appearances this season.

(NHL Media)

Something To "Mitch" About

Where does one start?  What a weekend it was on a variety of levels  For this blogger, it's pretty simple!

FLY THE W:  This is tailor-made, but it just might be the sweetest 6-4-3 double play I've ever seen.

Did Fox's Joe Buck really just say the Cubs have won the pennant? YES HE DID!!

I had started to wonder if I would ever see the Cubs in the World Series. I will!  What a night at Wrigley and what a World Series it will be as the two teams with the longest drought in baseball go head to head in the Fall Classic.  The Indians haven't won since 1948, the Cubs haven't been won since 1908 and have never been in the World Series when it has been televised. Imagine that!  To steal a line from John Lynch "It's just gonna be fantastic".

What a scene it was inside and outside Wrigley Field as the Cubs wrapped it up. I thought FOX did a tremendous job in capturing it all.  From that look of nervous anticipation, to that look of cautious optimism as out after out after out was registered to the overwhelming release of emotion. It was compelling, and it reminded me so much of the 2013 Grey Cup at Mosaic because we went through the same thing.  The only thing that was different was Rider fans weren't gathered outside the stadium during and after the game. Can you imagine what those pictures would have looked like from high above that night?

Game 1 will go in Cleveland Tuesday night and the story has been Major League Baseball saying thanks, but no thanks to Charlie Sheen's request to throw out the first pitch.  Sheen, as you know played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in what is one of the best sports movies ever---"Major League".  MLB and the Indians say they want to recognize former great Cleveland players and I understand that completely.  However, Progressive Field would be shaken to its core if "WILD THING" blared over the speakers and Sheen came out of the bullpen to throw that pitch. It would be a moment you would never ever forget.

FROM WORST TO FIRST? -  One year ago at this time, many were bemoaning the fate of the Regina Rams. They were not a good football club and a lot of question were being asked.  When Steve Bryce came in to clean up the mess left behind by the former coach, some wondered how long it would take. Did anyone see this coming?  With one week to go in the season, the Rams are in a position to finish first in Canada West. A victory in Winnipeg Saturday night over the Bisons and that will happen.

 Like any good coach, Bryce is quick to share the credit, but there is no way this team is 5-2 and playing for homefield advantage in the playoffs if someone hadn't done that team a tremendous favour and got out of town.  There is still a lot of work to do for this team, and beating the Bisons on their home turf will not be easy.  We know the Rams will play the last ever game at Mosaic Stadium. It could be November 5 in a semi-final, it could be November 12 in the Hardy Cup final or it could be November 19 in a national semi-final. Don't let Mosaic go out with a whimper, let it go out with a bang and stuff some bodies in there for some entertaining University football.

A RAINY FAREWELL -  Saturday was my last Riders game at Mosaic Stadium as I'll be in Winnipeg with the Rams for that final game against the Bisons. Let's just say the final game was nothing to write home about. That was a terrible football game, but the constant downpour of rain played a huge factor in the game being that way.  Vernon Adams Junior won his pro debut, but the Oregon product was far from spectacular. He was very Nealon Greene-like if you ask me. While the Rider D did manage to sack him several times, they should have double-digit sacks against the slippery Adams who did make some plays when he had to.

Chris Jones wasn't using the weather as an excuse, and he was spitting nails after the game because he was not happy with the performance of his team. He had every right to feel that way.  Too many two and outs, too many costly penalties. It just seemed as if the Riders weren't into this one right from the get-go. They looked guilty of not filling up the emotional gas tank.  Just some other thoughts on what transpired

  •   The last play was a blatant headshot on Joe McKnight from Winston Venable, You would think a flag would fly on that, but this is the CFL.  It's just become so tedious know so why bother complaining about it. Maybe that is what the league is hoping for.  That was as big a joke as their release this week that ratings are up. If they are, that means the ratings last year were worse than I thought.         -
  • What happened to the running game? After chalking up 150 yards in Toronto, I thought Joe McKnight would be more of a factor in the game especially with the conditions. That didn't happen.
  • Say what you will about Nik Lewis, but the guy could play forever 
  • The game was 6-5 at the half. The final score of the Jets-Oilers alumni game (more on that later) was 6-5.  For a while, I was thinking those in Winnipeg would get more than those in Regina

 MAN ADVANTAGE? PFFFFT - The Regina Pats scored three shorthanded goals on Friday night against Spokane giving them nine on the season. They have played 12 games with 60 to go. There are many teams in junior and pro hockey who won't get nine in an entire season.

WHO'S NEXT? - Cleveland Browns fans were some kind of po-ed when the team left for Baltimore. They were ecstatic when they returned! I'm guessing now, the Cleveland sports fan is firmly entrenched in the Cavaliers, Indians and Ohio State. What a garbage fire! What is the record for most quarterbacks used in a season and what is the record for most starting quarterbacks in a season? Cleveland used their 6th quarterback in 7 games this year as Kevin Hogan came in for a concussed Cody Kessler in a loss to Cincinnati. To recap, the Browns have used Hogan, Kessler. Josh McCown, Terrelle Pryor, Charlie Whitehurst and Robert Griffin III. It's no wonder they are winless. When a quarterback needs to go somewhere to die or be irrevelant, they go to Cleveland. Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Dak Prescott must be so happy! What a tire fire!

KICKERS!!! - There are games played where both teams don't deserve to lose, there are also games where both teams don't deserve to win. That is what happened Sunday night in Glendale as the Seahawks and Cardinals played to a 6-6 tie. I like defensive football, but that game was just horrible. It was capped off by both Chandler Catanzaro and Steve Hauschka missing chip shot field goals that would have given their teams the win. Its perhaps only fitting this one ended in a tie.

THE THUNDER ARE SILENCED - For the 3rd straight year, the Regina Thunder season ends in the semi-final. In what was a season where there were many close losses by Scott McAuley's crew, the game against the Saskatoon Hilltops had the same script as they were beaten 25-24 missing a late field goal that would have given them the win. The team won't use injuries as an excuse, but they certainly didn't field the lineup they wanted to for the most of the year.

THE HERITAGE CLASSIC - While I watched most of the Oilers shutout win over Winnipeg on Sunday, I have yet to watch the alumni game from Saturday featuring the likes of Gretzky, Hawerchuk, Kurri, Lukowich, Boschman and Ranford. I know the score and how it ended.  Verrrryyyy Winnipegish! Did Vince McMahon write that script? In the end, just seeing the guys that I grew up watching the game to back on the ice again is what will make watching this game worthwhile. I will just ask this. With the new Mosaic Stadium ready to open, can I call for a revival of the Trans-Canada Clash and get a Pats-Warriors alumni game with a regular WHL game going at the park in November of 2018? That would be epic!

SASKATCHEWAN LOVES THEIR BASEBALL - Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of being MC for the Baseball Saskatchewan 2016 awards. Its no secret there are many in this province who are playing the game, but I was astonished to hear there were 2300 new kids playing the game this year. What was also great was seeing different division champions in the various age divisions from all over our great province. As I told the gathering at the Doubletree, we have had many Saskatchewan players in the majors, we have others who will hopefully make it as they are in the minors now and we have an MLB umpire from our province. In the next decade, I am guessing we will have more. It is great to see!

That's all I got. Have a great week!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Depth Charts For Alouettes-Riders Game



620 CKRM's game day coverage of the 2nd to last Riders home game at Mosaic Stadium starts at 11 with the play by play at 2. 

Regina Rams Are Playoff Bound

The No. 8-ranked University of Regina Rams clinched a postseason berth and the right to host a Canada West semifinal game after outlasting the UBC Thunderbirds for a 35-33 win on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.

After increasing their lead to nine points with a late 70-yard touchdown pass from Noah Picton to Mitchell Picton with 1:36 left, the Rams (5-2) surrendered a major to UBC just 56 seconds later after the Thunderbirds went on an eight-play, 79-yard scoring drive. But the Rams were able to recover the ensuing onside kick, with Riley Wilson coming down with the ball to seal the win for Regina.

“We’ve got a lot to learn on special teams and that helped make it a lot closer tonight than I wanted it to be,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce said. “But I was happy with how resilient we are and what we did in the fourth quarter to stay in the game. There were plenty of times we could have let down, but we didn’t.”

Noah Picton was 29-for-40 in the win, giving him 197 completions for the year. That breaks the Canada West single-season completions record, which was originally set at 182 by former Rams quarterback Marc Mueller in 2010 and matched last year by Saskatchewan’s Drew Burko.

Picton finished with 329 passing yards and threw four touchdowns in the win, two of which went to his cousin Mitchell Picton. Khalid Kornegay and Atlee Simon caught the other scores, with Picton finishing as the team’s top receiver with six catches for 134 yards. Kornegay had a team-leading seven receptions for 51 yards, while Simon rushed 19 times for a total of 111 yards as he hits triple digits in rushing for the third consecutive game.

Zack McEachern finished as the team’s leading tackler (9 solo, 5 assisted) and added a pass breakup, but starting safety Cord Delinte made two huge second-half plays. Delinte forced an incompletion with a devastating hit on UBC receiver Trevor Casey late in the third quarter, then picked off UBC quarterback Michael O’Connor with just over four minutes to go in the game. Danny Nesbitt and Kahlen Branning both forced fumbles for the Rams defence, while Jeff Propp had a big third-quarter sack for a loss of nine yards.

O’Connor was 28-for-47 for UBC, finishing with 364 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Will Watson. Watson had a total of 88 yards off a game-high total of eight catches, none more impressive than a one-handed catch in the end zone for the first of his two scores. Ben Cummings rushed 19 times for 129 yards.

Riley Jones led UBC’s defence with four tackles for loss, while Tanner Friesen had a 56-yard pick six late in the fourth. Evan Horton had two key fumble recoveries on special teams for UBC, first on a fumbled kickoff return in the third and again in the fourth on a fumbled punt return.

The Rams were fortunate to only be down 4-0 after a first quarter which was dominated by UBC. The Thunderbirds outgained the Rams by a 171-17 margin, with Cummings rushing for 79 of his 129 yards in the opening 15 minutes alone. The lone spark of the quarter for the Rams was a 48-yard kickoff return on a slick reverse to Kornegay, but UBC was only able to score on a 33-yard field goal midway through the quarter by Greg Hutchins and a single by Hutchins after a missed 36-yarder.

But the Rams got their first first down of the game on the opening play of the second quarter, part of a nine-play, 77-yard drive that was finished off by a 13-yard touchdown reception by Picton. UBC replied with a field goal to knot the game at 7-7, but the Rams engineered another nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by a 28-yard catch-and-run by Simon. Regina took a 14-8 lead into the halftime break.

In the third quarter, special teams helped swing the momentum in UBC’s favour. The Thunderbirds took advantage of a short field and scored on Watson’s brilliant catch to go up 15-14, and on the kickoff Moortgat had trouble handling a squib kick and Horton came up with his first fumble recovery of the night. The Rams caught a break as UBC started out from the Regina 15, but only got a single point out of it after a missed field goal. UBC added another two points on a conceded safety after a Hutchins punt pinned the Rams inside their own one-yard line, and a Hutchins punt through the end zone late in the quarter gave UBC a 19-14 lead heading into the fourth.

But the tide turned early in the fourth, starting with Nesbitt’s forced fumble that was recovered by Grey McKen. That gave the Rams the ball on UBC’s 14, and two plays later Kornegay was in the end zone to put the Rams back into the lead for good. Picton engineered a six-play, 73-yard drive that Simon finished off from two yards out on the U of R’s next possession, giving the Rams a 28-19 advantage. The Rams forced a two-and-out on the next possession, but Blake Anaka fumbled on the ensuing punt and Horton pounced on it for his second recovery of the half. But Anaka’s fumble was essentially cancelled out by Delinte, who intercepted O’Connor and ran it out to the Regina 24-yard line. The Rams looked to be in good shape up by two possessions with under three minutes to go, but Friesen’s interception return gave new life to UBC. But after throwing the late pick, Noah Picton shrugged it off and found Mitchell Picton on a 2nd-and-12 situation for the 70-yard touchdown that would turn out to be the game-winning score.

After closing out the conference schedule next week against Manitoba, the Rams will then host an opponent to be determined on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Mosaic Stadium in the first round of the Canada West playoffs. The Rams’ final home game of the conference postseason - whenever that might be - will be the final game played at Mosaic.

“Personally, having the opportunity to close out the old stadium might even mean more to me than opening up the new one earlier this year,” Bryce said. “This was my home field for nine years growing up, and I know that there’s a ton of people involved with the program that feel the same way.”

The Rams and the Bisons will meet next Saturday night (8:00 CDT) at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, while UBC (3-4) will host Canada West-leading Calgary (5-1) in a game they may need to win in order to qualify for the conference playoffs. That UBC/Calgary game is set for Saturday night with a 5:00 PDT kickoff.

NOTES: The Rams went a perfect 4-0 at Mosaic Stadium during the conference schedule this year, marking the third time in program history they’ve been perfect at home (2001, 2012) … Mitchell Picton broke a major University of Regina record in the win and tied another, as his 56 receptions this season breaks the old school record of 55 set by Addison Richards two seasons ago … with one game left in the Canada West schedule, Picton also has 11 touchdown catches this season which ties Jason Clermont’s U of R record set back in 2001.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Huge Game For Regina Rams Tonight

KICKOFF: Friday, Oct. 21 (7:00 PM)
SITE: Mosaic Stadium (Regina, Sask.)
CAPACITY: 33,427
TELEVISION: Canada West Football on Shaw - Access7 in Regina (Jim Mullin/PxP, Wray Morrison/CC)
REGINA RADIO: 620 CKRM (Michael Ball/PxP, Luc Mullinder/CC)

• With only two weeks to go in the Canada West schedule, there’s plenty at stake for Friday’s game. A win for the Rams would not only clinch a playoff spot, but would also nail down a home game in the Canada West semifinals.

• A loss by the Rams to UBC opens up a mind-numbing amount of tiebreaking possibilities where points for and against would play a major role in determining Canada West’s final standings. In the event of a UBC win on Friday, the Rams could also clinch a playoff spot with an Alberta win over Manitoba on Saturday.

• Friday’s game will be a rematch of Week 3, which saw the Rams travel to the West Coast and grind out a 20-10 win over UBC.

RAMS NO. 8 IN THIS WEEK’S TOP TEN: After being upset last week at Alberta, the Rams predictably fell a significant amount in this week’s CIS Top Ten. They’re down four spots this week to No. 8, as Calgary takes over the Rams’ old No. 4 ranking and McMaster, Carleton, and Wilfrid Laurier all jump ahead of them. Calgary and Regina are the only two Canada West teams ranked in this week’s poll.

PICTON POISED TO SHATTER COMPLETIONS RECORD: QB Noah Picton is now only 14 completions short of the Canada West single-season record, set at 182 by former Rams pivot Marc Mueller in 2010 and matched by Saskatchewan’s Drew Burko last year. He’s also on pace to break Derek Wendel’s CIS record of 216 completions that was set just last season, but so is Wendel – the Ottawa quarterback has 203 with one game still remaining on the OUA schedule.

ON PACE FOR CIS RECORD: Besides his completions mark, Picton remains on pace to break Andrew Buckley’s Canada West and CIS record of 3162 passing yards that he set last season in his final year with the Dinos. Picton has 2398 passing yards through the first six Canada West games of the year, which would give him just under 3200 for the season if he continues at his current pace of 399.7 yards per game.

MITCHELL PICTON NEARS RECEPTIONS MARK: Addison Richards’ school single-season record of 55 receptions is in grave danger, as SB Mitchell Picton has compiled 50 through the team’s first six games of the schedule. Picton is also on pace to break the Caanda West single-season mark of 66, which was set last year by Saskatchewan’s Mitch Hillis.

CHASING CLERMONT: Mitchell Picton is also nearing the U of R’s single-season touchdown reception record, set by Jason Clermont back in 2001 with 11. Picton currently has nine, needing just one more to join Clermont and Chris Bauman (10, 2006) as the only players in University of Regina history to break into double digits for a season.

DON’T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME): Second-year SB Ryan Schienbein has enjoyed a spectacular breakout season for the Rams, ranking second in Canada West (behind Picton) in all three major receiving categories. He has 43 receptions this year and also ranks among hte nation’s top five in both receiving yards (620) and TD catches (7).

DHEILLY TIED FOR CONFERENCE SACKS LEAD: DL Nicholas Dheilly was held without a sack last week at Alberta for the first time since taking over as a starter, but still remains tied for the Canada West lead in sacks. He has four for the season, three of which came in the Calgary win. Dheilly is tied with Manitoba’s Evan Foster for the conference lead, with Calgary’s Jack McEwen just behind with 3½.

IN THE FAMILY: Three players on the offensive side of the ball for the Rams are first cousins – RB Blake Anaka, SB Mitchell Picton, and QB Noah Picton - while K/WR Daniel Scraper and WR Michael Scraper are brothers. LB Danny Nesbitt is the son of defensive line coach Greg Nesbitt.

This and That

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.

--Oh CFL, you try not to, but you just can't help embarrass yourselves.  The decision to slash ticket prices for the Grey Cup with just over a month to go until the big game is yet another black eye to the league.

The Argos and the league will try and tell you the reason for the fact that half of BMO Field is unsold for the CFL's biggest game of the year is because the Blue Jays, the Raptors, the NBA All-Star game, the World Cup of Hockey and the NHL outdoors game.  Did the Argos and the league not know about these things in advance? They aren't that stupid are they? They don't think we're that stupid do they?

Who thought these ticket prices would work anyhow? It is rather mind-boggling.

--A question for Rider fans. Are the Riders showing signs of getting out of it, or are they taking advantage of weaker teams and winning the games they should? Take nothing away from what they have done over the last few weeks, but they have beaten three teams from what we have seen is a very weak Eastern Conference. Would they have been able to beat Calgary with the performances they have put in? I would sure love to see them have another shot at the Stampeders before the season is over, but that won't be happening. As assistant GM Jeremy O'Day proclaimed last week, the worst is over.  I think you can put a little bit of weight on what the opposition has been for the Riders, but you still have to give credit to the football team for winning the games and somewhat salvaging what has been a less than stellar season..  What we are seeing now is a lot more palatable than what we were seeing a month ago.  The future looks bright, and that is what Rider fans have been waiting for since early in the 2015 season.

--Saturday's game against the Alouettes will be my last Rider game at Mosaic Stadium.  When the Riders are taking on the BC Lions on the 29th, I will be in Winnipeg with the Rams as they close out the regular season against Manitoba.  At some point, I have to figure out who does the scheduling. It makes no sense to me that you would have the Rams playing at the same time as the Riders. It happened in Edmonton last weekend as well. Why wouldn't you have a Rams game on the Friday night followed by the Rider game Saturday in a Farewell Mosaic weekend.  Hopefully the Rams will give us one, if not more home games at Mosaic before we say goodbye to the old girl forever. A win over UBC tonight will make that a certainty. It would be a great to see a solid turnout of Rams fans at this one.

--From Chris Zelkovich's weekly Yahoo/Canadian Sports TV ratings column

      With no Blue Jays and no CFL games on Sunday, CTV's 4 p.m. NFL offerings averaged 1.26 million viewers -- a 30 per cent increase over the same weekend last year. The early games came close to the million mark.

That column also shows more Canadians watched Game 1 of the NLCS than the Alouettes-Stampeders game which was on at the same time.  You can't tell me the CFL isn't taking notice of this.  If they're not, they have their heads firmly in the sand.  To be fair, that Dodgers/Cubs game also outdrew the first Sunday night NHL game of the year between Buffalo and Edmonton.
--When is a shutout not a shutout? Ask Ryan Miller of the Canucks.  He went to the bench Saturday night for the extra attacker and then watched as Loui Eriksson accidentally put the puck in his own net for a Calgary goal.  Miller stopped all shots sent his way as the Canucks beat the Flames in a shootout.  He stopped all 25 shots he faced, but he didn't get credit for the shutout. At least not yet. Should he? I say he should.

--Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine and Connor McDavid are going to lead the NHL into the next decade. I'm OK with that. Yes, you can add Johnny Gaudreau to that list too. What Laine did Wednesday night against the Leafs was as spectacular as what Matthews did against Ottawa on opening night. Lots of goals are being scored in the NHL this season. The goalie equipment hasn't changed. The skill level has. Let's stop trying to "fix" the game and let these kids play,

--Speaking of Laine and McDavid, how much fun will the Heritage Classic be in Winnipeg this weekend. I don't know if I'm more excited in the actual game which will see two young, fast teams battling one another or the alumni game where the guys I grew up watching hit the ice one more time. I am guessing Winnipeg will jump out into a lead only to see Edmonton come back and win because that is what happened in so many playoff series. Is Mark Lamb coming back for this one?  I'm not big on the outdoor games anymore. As I have said previously, the first outdoor game years ago between the Oilers and Habs at a frigid Commonwealth Stadium can't be duplicated.  Winnipeg will do a great job, but the game could go at MTS Centre and I would be excited for it seeing Laine, Schiefele, Ehlers, McDavid, Eberle and Pulijarvi do their thing.

--Regina lost a good man last week when Terry Hincks succumbed to cancer.  There was no doubting the love he had for the Rams and the Regina sports community.  His passion for this city and its sports teams shouldn't be forgotten. He should be remembered in some fashion, Is it too much to ask and request that the "practice field" at the University of Regina be known as Terry Hincks Field. I think that would be a tremendous tribute to the former Ram. If not the practice field, is there some place in this city that can have Terry's name attached to it?  Maybe Mount Pleasant Park can be known as Terry Hincks Park.

--I will be bluntly honest. I am not disappointed to see the Blue Jays lose the American League Championship Series. I don't hate the Jays as some suggest, but I certainly don't like what they were this year, and yes, maybe it goes back to the Bautista bat flip from last year. That team was just too whiny for my liking. They didn't like it when inside pitches were thrown, they constantly complained to the umps about balls and strikes leading to numerous ejections for John Gibbons, the actions of Bautista right from prolonging the feud with Texas to the end when he threw out there the Jays lost the first two games in Cleveland because of "circumstances" to not talking to the media after Game 3 to suggesting Cleveland pitcher Ryan Merritt would be shaking in his boots which fired up the Indians.

--That being said. the Blue Jays once again had people talking about baseball in this country and I have no problem with that.  They also aren't going away. The window didn't close with Wednesday's loss. It might if Edwin Encarnacion isn't there, but with guys like Martin, Tulowitzki, Estrada, Stroman, Osuna and yes, the actual face of the franchise Josh Donaldson, this team will be back. If Toronto had more players like Donaldson, they would likely carry the World Series trophy north of the border for a 3rd time.

--Week 7 NFL Lock of the Week  --- Falcons over Chargers
--Week 7 NFL Upset of the Week --- Jaguars over Raiders

--NFL coaches are wondering about being able to challenge pass interference. We have seen what that has done to the CFL game. Think carefully before proceeding NFL, think very carefully. 

--It is good to see some south of the border are finally saying what I've been saying for a couple of years. We should be able to get 5 minutes with a referee/umpire after a game to get comments on why this was called or not called.  I think a lot of people would like to know why there was no pass interference on Richard Sherman last Sunday in the waning moments of the Seahawks/Falcons game, and baseball fans would like to know why Adrian Gonzalez was called out in Game 4 of the NLCS when replays appeared to show he was safe.  Hearing first hand from the official as to why the call was or wasn't made would be very beneficial. The human element should never be ignored.

--That's all I got. Have a great weekend. GO RIDERS, GO SEAHAWKS, GO CUBS

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Week In Cougar Athletics

Home Schedule – Saturday
Men’s Hockey – vs. Manitoba, 3:00 p.m. (The Co-operators Centre)


Away Schedule – Thursday
Women’s Hockey – at Manitoba, 7:00 p.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)


Away Schedule – Friday
Men’s Basketball – vs. Guelph, 2:00 p.m. EDT (St. Catharines, Ont.)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Lakehead, 2:00 p.m. (Edmonton, Alta.)
Women’s Hockey – at Manitoba, 7:00 p.m. CDT (Winnipeg, Man.)


Away Schedule – Saturday
Men’s Basketball – vs. UQAM, 1:00 p.m. EDT (St. Catharines, Ont.)
Women’s Basketball – vs. Toronto, 1:00 p.m. (Edmonton, Alta.)
Women’s Soccer – at Thompson Rivers, 1:00 p.m. PDT (Kamloops, B.C.)
Cross Country – at Saskatchewan Age Class Championships, 2:30 p.m. (Yorkton, Sask.)


Away Schedule – Sunday
Women’s Basketball – at Alberta, 12:00 p.m. (Edmonton, Alta.)
Men’s Basketball – vs. Ryerson, 3:00 p.m. EDT (St. Catharines, Ont.)
Women’s Soccer – at UBC Okanagan, 1:00 p.m. PDT (Kelowna, B.C.)


Rams Football (CIS Ranking: No. 9) – The Rams fell to No. 9 in the CIS after being stunned 19-18 by Alberta on Saturday afternoon in Edmonton, dropping the U of R to second place in the Canada West standings. The Rams will look to rebound this Friday night with a huge matchup against UBC at Mosaic Stadium. A win for the Rams would not only clinch a postseason berth, but would also lock up a home date in the first round of the Canada West playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday (620 CKRM, Access7,


Men’s Hockey – The Cougars (1-1-0) started out the Canada West schedule last weekend with a split against Lethbridge, winning 2-1 on Friday but suffering a 4-2 loss to the Pronghorns on Saturday. Andy Desautels made 28 saves and J.J. Coleshaw and Cody Fowlie both scored in Friday’s win, while Dillan McCombie and Logan Harland had goals on Saturday. The Cougars host their home openers this weekend against Manitoba (0-2-0) at The Co-operators Centre. Game times are set for 7 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.


Women’s Hockey – The Cougars (2-1-1-0) suffered their first loss of the 2016-17 season on Friday, dropping a 3-2 decision to Lethbridge on Friday in what was their home opener. But the Cougars recovered on Saturday, as Kylee Kupper sent the game into overtime with a goal at 19:59 of the third period and Bailey Braden won it in the extra session. In third place in the Canada West standings with eight points through the first two weekends of conference play, the Cougars are back on the road this weekend with games against league-leading Manitoba (4-0-0-0) on Thursday and Friday.


Women’s Soccer – Currently embroiled in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Prairie Division after a win over Manitoba and a loss to Winnipeg over the weekend, the Cougars (3-6-3) are one of five teams in a battle for the final three postseason berths in the division. The U of R closes out the Canada West schedule on the road against Thompson Rivers (1-10-0) and UBC Okanagan (4-7-1) on Saturday and Sunday.


Women’s Basketball – The Cougars continued their march through the non-conference schedule with home wins over Lethbridge on Friday (84-48) and Saturday (65-53), giving them a perfect  7-0 record against CIS competition this season. The team continues preseason play this weekend with a tournament at which they’ll play Lakehead, Toronto, and host Alberta, but the Cougars will be without Sara Hubenig, Michaela Kleisinger, Charlotte Kot, and Katie Polischuk – those four are overseas representing the U of R and the CIS at the 3x3 FISU World University League final in Xiamen, China.


Men’s Basketball – The Cougars went on the road to notch their first win of the non-conference schedule on Friday, taking out Brandon by a 92-78 score. Alex Igual had a team-high 14 points, while Brian Ofori score 13 and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. The Cougars continue their non-conference schedule this weekend with games against Guelph, UQAM, and Ryerson at the 2016 RBC Classic hosted by Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont.


Cross Country (Men’s CIS Ranking: No. 10) – After a weekend off, the Cougars return to action at the Saskatchewan Provincial Age Class Championships this Saturday in Yorkton. Kaytlyn Criddle, Darbi Edwards, Robyn Ham, Hillary Mehlhorn, and Justine Zarowny will represent the women’s side, while T.J. McBride will be the lone runner from the men’s team at the meet.


Men’s Volleyball – The Cougars finished off the non-conference schedule with a pair of home contests to Brandon, pushing the Bobcats to the five-set distance in the first match but eventually losing on both Friday and Saturday. The team will now have this weekend off before starting Canada West play at home against Trinity Western on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29.


Women’s Volleyball – The Cougars travelled to Saskatoon for a pair of non-conference tilts against the University of Saskatchewan, ending up with a three-set loss to the Huskies on Friday and a four-set setback on Saturday. Under the guidance of interim head coach Shane Smith, the Cougars will now prepare for their conference openers against Trinity Western at the CKHS (Oct. 28 and Oct. 29).
( U of R Athletics)