Who would have ever guessed?
Article by WJO
At the beginning of the hockey season, we looked over the OUA regular hockey season looking for I’m not sure what. We were under the impression that the Paladins would be playing a 28-game schedule – a home and home against the other nine teams in their east division and one game against the 10 teams in the west.
A neat 28 games. Not too complicated.
However, taking a close look revealed that it was far from balanced. For example, they play UQTR – 4 times; Queens, Nipissing, Laurentian, & UOIT all 3 times; McGill, Concordia, Ottawa, & Carleton twice each. All within their own division.
In the west, they play Ryerson, York, UWO and Windsor once each. Two at home and two on the road. And they do NOT play – Lakehead, WLU, Waterloo, Brock, Guelph, or U of T.
There is likely a good reason for the schedule imbalance which I understand especially with Lakehead in the mix. However, there has to be a better way especially within the division. To play one team 4 times and the others 2 or 3 just doesn’t click.
The portion of the schedule that really grabbed my attention was the back–to back–to back, three games against the perennial powerhouse from UQTR – all within seven days.
Based on historical results going back close to 30 years these three consecutive games would surely be the beginning of the obvious – out of the playoff race – again by the end of the first term.
It was not to be this season! One team won ALL three games and it was NOT UQTR.
After a slow start, to put it mildly, the Paladins for the first time in years have a legitimate chance to make the play-offs. At any rate, their fate will not be determined until well into the second half of the schedule, if not the final weekend.
It promises to be a roller-coaster ride.