HALIFAX, NS–NPH has the following players on the big weekend radar.
- Terry Thomas, St FX
- Jeremy Dunn, St FX
- Owen Klassen, Acadia
- Anthony Ashe, Acadia
- Robert Nortman, Dalhousie
- Tory Fassett, Saint Mary`s
- Manock Lual, UPEI
- Jonathon Cooper, UPEI
- Jimmy Dorsey, Cape Breton
The regular season has wrapped up and an AUS champion will be crowned this coming Sunday. However if the playoffs are as interesting as the erratic regular season it is going to be a fantastic weekend at the Metro Centre as it always is.
St FX and Acadia enter as the #1 and 2 seeds respectively and therefore have byes to the semi final round. UPEI, Cape Breton, Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s fill the two through six spots.
The 6:00pm matchup on Friday will be between the #5 Dalhousie Tigers and #4 Cape Breton Capers. These two teams had the advantage of playing at the Halifax Metro Centre on February 19 before a Halifax Rainmen Game. Which Cape Breton won 73-68. These teams met on four occasions with Dal winning 2 games in overtime by a combined 8 points and CBU winning in a 20 point blowout and the 5 point win at the Metro Centre. Also intriguing is that Coach Gillespie and Coach Campbell know each other very well as Thom Gillespie assisted at Dal the last couple of years, should make for an interesting X and O matchup. Watch for Casey Fox and Robert Nortman of Dal for big games and Jimmy Dorsey and his super human play at times. This game will be an out and out battle with the winner being decided in the last minute and I’m giving that edge to Dalhousie.
In the nightcap at 8:15 the #3 UPEI Panthers will play the #6 Saint Mary’s Huskies. Again another very intriguing matchup as these two teams also split their four games on the season. UPEI won two games at home in November by scores of 97-95 and 92-77 with Saint Mary’s winning their two games at home in early January 93-86 and 91-83. Also of interest is the contrast in Metro Centre Coaching experience as rookie coach Tim Kendrick battles against savvy veteran Ross Quackenbush. The huge question for the Panthers though is Terrance Brown going to be available and if so is he going to be rusty? Watch for big games out of Manock Lual of UPEI and Tory Fassett of SMU. Both teams have identical 3-7 records on the road however with Saint Mary’s strong history in the Metro Centre this is like a home game to them; I’m giving the edge to Saint Mary’s.
Acadia and St FX will wait and see but if my predictions hold true we will have a semi final classic rematch with SMU and St FX and last year’s Championship game rematch between Dalhousie and Acadia. X will come out on top in another classic battle and a curtain call for Coach Quackenbush and Acadia`s depth and balanced attack will outlast Dalhousie.
The above is really hard to predict with the craziness that goes on in the AUS Championships every year but look for the two bye teams to end up in the final with St FX holding on and making the trip to Nationals. St FX is the number 1 seed and they went through their team turmoil and mini slump that looks to have made them tighter as a team and stronger for the stretch run as well as Bol Kong seems to have shaken off the rust from a severe ankle injury.