Sports Roundup: Carleton capture U Sports basketball championship

ABOVE: Carleton Ravens captured their 16th-ever U Sports basketball championship on Sunday. (PHOTO: Don Voaklander)

Your weekly round-up of sports in Ottawa for March 28-April 3, 2022.

Ottawa 67’s

The 67’s clinched a playoff berth for the seventh straight season following a busy week where it won three of four games. After squandering a 2-goal lead in the third period on Tuesday (Mar.29) against the Oshawa Generals, Ranvir Gill-Shane and Tyler Boucher scored in the shootout, while Will Cranley stopped both Generals' attempts to secure a 4-3 victory. The 67’s pulled out a high-scoring victory on Friday (Apr. 1) against the Mississauga Steelheads in a back-and-forth affair, 6-5. Brady Stonehouse’s second goal of the game with just over five minutes remaining stood as a game-winning goal. For a second time in five days, a game against Oshawa ended in a shootout victory for Ottawa (Apr. 2), with the Generals throwing away a two-goal lead in the third period. Luca Pinelli tied the game with 49 seconds remaining, and Cameron Tolani scored the shootout winner in the 5-4 victory. The attempt to win 4/4 games on the week was thwarted by the Niagara IceDogs on Sunday (Apr. 3), as the 67’s lost 4-3 – playing their third game in three days. Despite taking a 3-1 lead into the third period, the 67’s ran out of gas and allowed three unanswered goals in the loss. Will Cranley recorded 2 wins and 1 loss on the week, while Max Donoso was victorious in his only game between the pipes against Peterborough on Saturday.

The 67’s welcome the league-leading Hamilton Bulldogs to TD Place on Friday (Apr. 8) in their only game of the week. The 67’s – currently seventh in the Eastern Conference – have three games remaining and can finish no higher than 6th and no lower than 8th in the conference.

Carleton Ravens

Men’s Basketball captured its third consecutive and 16th-ever U Sports basketball championship on Sunday (Apr. 3) as the 7th-seed defeated the 8th-seed Saskatchewan Huskies 85-72. Aiden Warnholtz was honoured as player of the game after posting 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. The victory was redeeming after the Ravens were prematurely knocked out of the OUA playoffs in the semifinals by Queen’s. Carleton defeated the University of Victoria Vikes 94-77, and the University of Alberta Golden Bears 64-63 on its way to the finals. Alain Louis was named tournament MVP. Earlier in the week, Lloyd Pandi was named U Sports men’s basketball Player of the Year.

Men’s Soccer forward Gaby Bitar will have another opportunity to prove himself in the Canadian Premier League after signing a contract with FC Edmonton for the 2022 season. Bitar was drafted first overall in the inaugural CPL-U Sports Draft in 2018 by Alberta-rival Cavalry FC. The 23-year-old scored 40 goals in 51 games for Carleton.

University of Ottawa Gee-Gees

Women’s Basketballs Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu continued to pile up the awards after an impressive 2021-22 season with a pair of U Sports accolades. Lefebvre-Okankwu earned the Sylvia Sweeney Award for Student-Athlete Community service for outstanding on-court and off-court contributions. She was also named a U Sports First Team All-Canadian after posting career-highs in points per game (16.4) and rebounds per game (9.7). Lefebvre-Okankwu was also the OUA’s nominee for U Sports Player of the Year.

Men’s Hockey’s Nicolas Mattinen was named U Sports Defenceman of the Year after scoring 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points in 22 games. Mattinen also received OUA East MVP and Defenceman of the Year honours for his play in 2021-22. Mattinen was a First Team All-Canadian as well as a finalist for U Sports Player of the Year. The 24-year-old recently made the jump to professional hockey, having signed with the AHL’s Laval Rocket.

Ottawa Titans

The signing of right-handed pitcher Zac Westcott was the most notable in a flurry of moves made by the Titans last week. The 30-year-old posted a 3.57 ERA with a 15-5 record in the Frontier League during the 2021 season. Westcott appeared in eight games for the Ottawa Champions in 2019. The club also traded outfielder Roberto Caro to the Washington Wild Things in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2022 Frontier League Draft. Additionally, Ottawa acquired outfielder Jacob Talamante from the Missoula PaddleHeads of the Pioneer League in exchange for catcher Billy Damon. Catcher Zach Almond, outfielder Greg Vaughn Jr., and right-handed pitcher Pedro Fernandez were released by the club.