Cougars’ Corner: MRU’s faint playoff hopes die out
No cause for alarm despite few playoff games and fewer wins
Mount Royal won a third of its total playoff games this year — which is the optimist’s take on the situation.
The reality is that they only played three games because only one of their teams made it to the post-season. In all of men’s and women’s basketball, hockey and volleyball, the men’s hockey team was the only Cougars team still playing once the regular season ended.
They sparked thoughts of an upset after winning their first ever CIS playoff game in a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime score against the University of Manitoba Bisons. Brenden Turnbull played the hero, scoring one of just three goals that the Cougars would manage, despite putting up 55 shots on net.
Cougars’ goalie Dalyn Flette was no slouch either, stopping 46 of 48 shots to make sure his team stayed neck and neck with the Bisons.
However, the Cinderella story wasn’t meant to be, as MRU would drop the next two games by scores of 4-2 and 2-0. That would be enough to send the men’s hockey team home, and end all playoffs on campus.
After failing to pick up what could have been crucial points in their last weekend of regulation play against the last-placed University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, the Cougars were forced to play the higher-seeded Manitoba, with all three games taking place in Winnipeg.
The Cougars were technically the home team for the second game, but the series didn’t come back to Mount Royal due to what the travel requirements would have been with the playoff series taking place on consecutive days, meaning that MRU still has yet to host its first true playoff game in the CIS.
With only one team making the playoffs, there is still a lot to look forward to. While a championship would be awesome, that kind of expectation is unfair of our student athletes. After all, this is only their second year in the top level of Canadian post-secondary play.
All teams have to be looking towards establishing themselves as legitimate contenders as the new kids on the block in the CIS. Winning a playoff series would have done wonders for the teams this year, just as it did last year when women’s volleyball made it all the way to the Canada West semi-finals.
With games like the Crowchild Classic, the Cougars have proven that they have the support behind them, and can win big games. The players and coaches are committed to the same goal, and it isn’t about going all-in to win just one championship.
Another thing to take away from this season is that potential athletes are starting to consider MRU when they come to play. Speaking with the women’s hockey team before the aforementioned Crowchild Classic, some came for academic reasons, while others come to wearing MRU blue.
So while it is true that MRU lost two out of the three playoff games it played this year, this is not a sign we should give up on our athletes. The next goal is to get a couple playoff series under our belt with a win. After that, we can start nitpicking when we only win one playoff game a year.