Can Calgary Remain the Class of the CanWest? (Hardy Cp Preview)

This year in the CanWest Conference saw familiar faces at the top with the Calgary Dinos and the Saskatchewan Huskies in the top two positions. The domination of the CanWest conference looked to continue for these two teams as the only competition for first place was each other for the 3 years in a row. It did not work out that way as Saskatchewan was taken out of the second spot by the UBC Thunderbirds who surprised everyone with their great season. Calgary had another great year this year after making it to the Vanier Cup in 2010 but coming up just short to the Laval Rouge et Or. This year they proved that they were not done yet as they went on to an undefeated season until the very last week. Just as Calgary was looking to be the only undefeated team in the CIS they went up against the UBC Thunderbirds in their last week. The Thunderbirds were still battling for a home game in the playoffs and they seemed more motivated than the 1st place Dinos. The T-Birds were able to outperform the #1 team in the CIS and beat the Dinos 36-23 knocking the Dinos off of the top spot in the CIS rankings and ruining their undefeated season. With the loss the Dinos only damaged their pride as they still remained on the top of the CanWest conference and earned a home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Meanwhile the Thunderbirds got the win over the Dinos launching them past the Saskatchewan Huskies for second place in the CanWest conference. This was a big move for the T-Birds as they have not made the playoffs for the past 4 years and have not hosted a playoff game for longer. The Thunderbirds were the biggest turnaround team in the CIs this year going from last place in 2010 to second this year. The team they beat out had been a powerhouse in the CanWest for years as the Saskatchewan Huskies did not have their best season. The Huskies finished off in fourth place with a 5-3 record that would be good for many teams but not for the Huskies. The Huskies took some key losses too their rivals the Calgary Dinos as two of their three losses came at the hands of the Dinos in games that could have helped them to another conference title. The Huskies did not make it however and will now be forced to play at home for the rest of the playoffs as they work towards the title game. The last team to make the playoffs did it in dramatic fashion as the Regina Rams took the 4th and final playoff spot in the last week of the season. Regina and Manitoba had a hard-fought battle that came down to their last game when the Rams beat the Bisons 31-22. The Rams had an up and down season as they started out with a three game losing streak that seemed to put a fork in any playoff plans. They then started coming back but only managed three wins in the game. Manitoba had mch of the same season but they began losing more at the end of the season including their last game against the Rams. Both teams needed the win in the last week and the Rams came out on top early and they were able to stop a Manitoba comeback. With the win Regina took the playoff spot away from Manitoba leaving the Bisons on the outside looking in. With all of these battles for the playoffs there is always one team that suffers. This team in 2011 was the Alberta Golden Bears who had one of their worst seasons as they went 0-8 only coming close to a win once against the Manitoba Bisons. With the season over the CanWest is set to march towards the Hardy Cup and a berth in the Vanier Cup. For the CanWest teams the Vanier Cup is a big prize as it will be in their area this year. No team would love it more than the UBC Thunderbirds who would be able to play at home in the Vanier Cup that is held in BC Place this year. The CanWest teams have a chance to play as close to a home game as they can and this will give all of them some extra motivation to make it in.


Semi-Final #1

Calgary Dinos 35 vs. 21 Regina Rams

– The Rams fought their way into the last spot in the playoffs but they will not have the ability to overcome the powerful attack of the Calgary Dinos for a chance to compete in the Hardy Cup Finals


Semi-Final #2

UBC Thunderbirds 33 vs. 31 Saskatchewan Huskies

– The Huskies have had a rough season that has seen them lose a lot of games while the T-Birds have been the exact opposite going from worst to first and their tremendous season will continue into the playoffs


Hardy Cup Finals

Calgary Dinos 36 vs. 33 UBC Thunderbirds

– The Dinos are still bitter from their loss to the T-Birds in their last game and will not let this happen again in the Hardy Cup but they will not walk over the tough T-Bird team whose great season will end with a championship loss.

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