Compuware rises in the ‘06 and ‘07 U.S. rankings

People should get used to seeing Compuware amongst the best the U.S. has to offer in youth hockey. With a solid showing since our last rankings release, the 2006 and 2007-born squads for the Plymouth, Michigan program have both entered the chat for the World Rankings

Ranked No. 16 in the world among ‘06 teams, Compuware (20-7-2) is on a five-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 20. Most notably included in this stretch were two key victories over No. 10 Chicago Mission and No. 19 Windy City Storm.

John Delverne led the way for Compuware, tallying a goal and two assists in regulation. His second assist would be on the game-tying goal by Cameron Springer halfway through the third period. After a scoreless overtime, the stage was set for Luke Osburn, who netted the only goal in the shootout to cement the win. 

On a seven-game win streak of their own, the No.10 U.S.-ranked ‘07 Compuware team (20-12-0) outscored the Cleveland Barons, Belle Tire and Fox Motors 13-2. With a focus on offense for both birth years, the ‘06 unit has a plus-65 goal differential compared to the plus-45 differential for the ‘07 squad. 

‘08 KalPa returns to Top 10

KalPa Keltainen bested KalPa Musta (16-4-2) 8-0 back on Oct. 27. For the top two teams of their group among 2008-born Finnish clubs, most were expecting a more even matchup. 

On Nov. 24, the two sides met for a rematch that would see Musta avenging that October defeat with a 6-3 win. They have also used that previous loss as a stepping stone for their current nine-game winning streak. That streak, coupled with the victory over Keltainen, slotted them back into the Top 10 in Finland. 

Even more impressive was the defensive effort by Musta to keep the top three scorers of the group — all from Keltainen — from doing major damage on the scoresheet. Holding the top offensive players from nine teams to just four points (1G, 3A) is a solid day’s work. 

It will be a dogfight to finish atop the group as the season rolls along, and we are more than curious to see how things shake out when the dust settles. 

‘09 Huron-Perth, As de Quebec enter ‘09 conversation

With a stellar record of 7-1-0 over their last eight games, the ‘09 Huron-Perth Lakers (25-6-1) have made enough noise to place them back into the Top 10 among Canadian teams at No. 9. Overcoming opponents such as the No. 10 Toronto Marlboros, Ottawa Myers Automotive and Oakville Rangers, their lone blemish was a 2-0 loss to No. 1 Don Mills Flyers

Heading into that eventual loss, the Lakers were unbeaten in their last eight contests. Rebounding quite nicely, they have gotten back in the win column with defeats of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers and Hamilton Huskies

Shifting focus to Quebec, No. 14 As de Quèbec (19-3-2) is a fresh face not only in the Canadian rankings, but the world rankings as well. With an incredible 15-game winning streak ended on Nov. 27, they will look to get back on track against Blizzard AAA on Dec. 10. 

Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 200, 2010 and 2011 birth years.

Moscow wins two of three national tournaments in Russia; Central takes U15

The Russian Federal District Championships concluded over the weekend. The annual tournament features all-star teams from seven of the country’s districts (Central, Far Eastern, Northwestern, Privolzhsky, Ural, Siberia, Southern), its two major cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg) and an honorary member from Belarus. Separate tournaments are held at the U14, U15 and U16 age groups.

The tournament is similar in structure to that of TV-Pucken in Sweden or the Youth Olympic Games in Canada. It has a Little League World Series feel to it as teams represent the various regions of the country. Top youth hockey players from several winter clubs are selected in an all-star team type of way. For instance, players from Dynamo Moscow and CSKA Moscow clash repeatedly throughout the winter season. However, for a 10-day stretch each November, they set their rivalries aside to represent Moscow on the national stage. Similar situations occur in St. Petersburg and throughout the other districts in the tournament field.

Moscow Finally Makes it Past St. Petersburg

In the previous two ‘07 Federal District Championships, Moscow came up just short both times at the hands of St. Petersburg. In 2020, Moscow’s lone loss in the U14 tournament was a 5-3 decision to eventual champion St. Petersburg. Again in 2021, the two clashed on the final day of the U15 tournament, and again St. Petersburg was victorious 7-4.

In the 2007 birth year’s third and final Federal District Championship tournament, Moscow finally broke through. Not only did they knock off St. Petersburg 4-3 in the semifinal, they won big over the Central District to win tournament gold.

After losing on the opening day of the tournament to Siberian District, Moscow went on to win its next six games by an average margin of victory of 4.6 goals. Ivan Ryabkin and Ivan Arkhipov led the way offensively for Moscow. Both have been standout forwards this season for the No. 2-ranked team in the world, Dynamo Moscow. Ryabkin has 22 points in 11 games and Arkhipov has 18 points in 15 games.

At the tournament, they continued that success. Ryabkin recorded at least one point in every game of the tournament. Additionally, Arkhipov posted multi-point games against Belarus, Northwestern and Central. 

While it was the first time Moscow won the 2007-born Federal District Championship, the district had won the U16 tournament twice in the past four years. The ‘06s won it last year, and the ‘03s won in 2018. 

Secondary Scoring in the Semifinal

While heavy hitters like Ryabkin and Arkhipov helped get Moscow to the final four, it was depth players that ultimately exorcized their tournament demons. 

Mikhail Melikov put Moscow on the board first with a strong move to the net and a follow-up attempt on his own rebound. After back-to-back goals by St. Petersburg gave them the lead, it was Nikita Esipov who tied it back up at 2-2.

Before the end of the second period, though, St. Petersburg would regain the lead for the second time.

With 11:43 left in regulation, Ryabkin won an offensive-zone face-off cleanly back to Roman Rizvanov. Rizvanov — who had several scoring chances throughout the game — quickly corralled the puck and fired it into the net before goaltender Victor Levchenko could react.The game headed into the late stages tied at 3-3.

Just over a minute later, Esipov carried into the zone, cut into the slot and sent a backhand shot over Levchenko’s shoulder to give Moscow the 4-3 lead. Esipov only had one goal in pool play, yet came up with two huge tallies when Moscow needed it most. They would hold onto that lead down the stretch to ultimately eliminate St. Petersburg and advance to the championship.

Central District Dominates Field of ‘08s

A district that includes the country’s capital city of Moscow does not actually pull players from the city limits itself. Moscow — and St. Petersburg, for that matter — fields its own team in the tournament. So, the Central District pulls the majority of its players from surrounding programs like Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (10), Vityaz Podolsk (eight) and Mikhailov Academy (five). All three of those programs are ranked among the top 10 teams in Russia. Players like Victor Fedorov, Matvey Kotkov and Nikita Daryavin showed just why their winter season clubs are ranked so highly. 

The Central District went 5-1-0 in group play, with the lone loss coming 3-1 against Moscow in the second game of action. Finishing atop Group B, Central earned a first-round bye and top seed in the elimination rounds, along with the Ural Federal District on the other side of the bracket.

In the quarterfinals, Central put a hurting on the Southern District 10-4, scoring three unanswered goals three different times. The semifinals followed a similar pattern, as Central thumped St. Petersburg 9-2, with seven different players recording a goal.

Chalk eventually won out in the bracket, as the top team in Group A, Ural, moved on to meet the top team in Group B, Central. However, in a matchup of best on best, Central still proved to be dominant with an 8-3 win in the final.

Alexey Vlasov Tops All Skaters

Fedorov finished as the leading scorer for Central with five goals and 12 points. However, SKA-Yunost Yekaterinburg forward Alexey Vlasov led all skaters in the tournament with 14 points while representing the Ural District. Vlasov opened up the tournament with a five-point performance against the Southern District. He quickly added a hat trick in a win over Far-Eastern District the next day. Then, Vlasov closed out the tournament with five points in Ural’s last two games against Belarus and Privolzhsky District.

While he may have trailed Vlasov in points, Fedorov did prove to be the only skater to tally a point in every game. He factored in on 35 percent of the team’s offensive in the tournament. 

Ural District’s Nikita Fedotov led all defensemen in points with seven. All of those came in the form of assists, as he distributed the puck well to produce offense. In fact, Fedotov tallied three assists in Ural’s 4-3 win over Privolzhsky District, setting up the game-tying goal and game-winning goal 10 minutes apart.

Moscow’s Vladimir Selivanov and Central’s Dmitry Borichev had matching 1.54 goals-against averages. Selivanov has played 15 games this season for world-ranked No. 16 Dynamo Moscow; they are 8-7-1 overall. Borichev backed Central in all five of the seven tournament games. He’s allowed a total of 18 goals in 10 games this season between the Federal District Championships and his regular-season action with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Moscow Wins For First Time In Five Years

The Moscow District, while one of the most dominant hockey regions in the country, had not won a Federal District Championship at the U14 age level since 2018 when the ‘05s won. Undefeated throughout the entire tournament, Moscow District out-scored its opponents 49-6 in group play. Moscow produced seven of the top 10 scorers in the tournament. Nazar Privalov and Dmitry Savin led the way with 13 and 12 points apiece. They were bested only by Sergei Skvortsov of the Privolzhsky District, who produced 14 points. 

Moscow’s depth was on full display, with Artem Mishin, Bogdan Vasilevsky and Daniil Ermolov helped propel Moscow to dominant wins over the Southern District, Ural District and Far-Eastern District. Moscow, along with the Central District, finished as the top two seeds for the playoffs after pool play.

Once there, Moscow continued its dominance with a 10-1 win over Siberia in the quarterfinals. In the final four, Moscow faced the Ural District — a team it had beaten 8-1 five days earlier. Victorious in the rematch, it set the stage for a championship game of best on best, as the top team from Group A finally clashed with the top team from Group B. Moscow capped off its impressive performance with its eighth victory of the week over Central District, and most importantly, a Russian national championship.

Daniil Martynov — who plays for world-ranked No. 3 CSKA Moscow during the regular season — earned best goaltender of the tournament. His CSKA teammate Nazar Privalov was named top forward of the tournament after scoring five goals and 13 points. Artem Mate was awarded top defenseman honors and will return to action for No. 4-ranked Spartak Moscow this weekend. 

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Top ‘06 American teams meet for first time this season

When looking across the premier youth hockey teams in the United States, two names that pop up frequently are Shattuck-St. Mary’s and Chicago Mission. Two storied clubs who have already met at the ‘07 and ‘08 age groups will finally collide at the ‘06 level this weekend. 

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Saturday, December 10 @ 2:00 PM ET

For No. 1 SSM (31-1-1), this season has gone just about as well as one could hope thus far. There are just two blemishes among their incredible record, a 6-5 overtime loss to the No. 10 Dallas Stars Elite on Oct. 8 and a 3-3 tie with the Boston Jr. Eagles on Oct. 22. Since the tie, they have rattled off 13 consecutive victories.

However, throughout all their games, they have yet to play the No. 10 Mission. Making up for lost time, the two will stand against each other on the ice with a two-game series beginning Saturday.

Shattuck has numerous players throughout their lineup with impressive stat lines, including six goals and 30 points from Brandt Harpe alone. But the team’s best strength is between the pipes, led by goaltenders Jack Hirshorn and Harry Boettinger

Between the two of them, the duo has only let in 60 goals across all contests. Statistically, you’d be hard pressed to find a better tandem in youth hockey. Hirshorn has collected a 1.79 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and four shutouts. Additionally, Boettinger has amassed a 1.98 goals against, .918 save percentage and two shutouts. 

The biggest challenge for Chicago (18-6-4) will be trying to solve these two goaltenders as they will likely be seeing both in the two-game set. One thing Mission has done well up to this point in the season is score, recording a plus-52 goal differential. If there is one club who can solve SSM’s goalies, it’s them. 

Chicago hopes these two games can be a jumping off point for a strong month of December. It was an up-and-down November for them, as they went 2-2-1. 

Pete’s Pick: SSM is one of the strongest ‘06 teams in the world, and they have done most of the talking with their on-ice results. I expect Chicago to put up a fight, but the depth and goaltending of Shattuck is just too much to overcome in two games. Shattuck takes two very close games.

Craig’s Pick: Shattuck and Mission have nine shared opponents this season. In those games, Mission has an average goal differential of plus-2.16 whereas Shattuck has a plus-4.9 goals per game. The transitive property isn’t always a perfect predictor tool, but in this case, I think Shattuck is way too much for Mission to handle. Clean sweep for SSM with a pair of decisive wins.

‘07 Don Mills out for revenge vs. Mississauga

Back on Nov. 21, the No. 18 Mississauga Senators (18-15-2) shut out the No. 20 Don Mills Flyers (18-10-1), 6-0. It was the first matchup of the season between the two, and served as an eye-opener for the Flyers. 

Now, just a few weeks later, they will have the opportunity to return the favor when these two clubs square off on Tuesday. 

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Tuesday, December 6 @ 8:25 PM ET
Victoria Village Arena

The Senators are coming off a 4-1 win over the No. 9 U.S.-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Don Mills was also victorious in their last time out; a 4-3 win against the Toronto Nationals. With these programs close together in the Top 10 for Canada, this tilt could play a role in rankings implications. As a result, both teams should expect to receive a less than warm reception from the other, which could lead to some great action on the ice. 

Pete’s Pick: I’m tempted to go Don Mills here, but Mississauga beat them soundly last time they met. I could see them putting up more of a fight here with one game’s experience under their belt, but Mississauga wins this one, 5-2. 

Craig’s Pick: These two teams are much more evenly matched than Game 1’s first result of 6-0 would suggest. Nine of Don Mills’ losses have come at the hands of just six teams. Of those six opponents, DMF has turned around to beat three of them. It’s bold, but I’ll take a shot on the Flyers to make it four with a win over the Sens. 

‘08 Tappara, Pelicans look to carve out spots 

No. 3 Tappara Sininen (15-2-4) and No. 6 Pelicans Turkoosi (11-8-2) will face off for the third time this season on Sunday. And if the first two games are any indication, this one will boil down to whoever gets the favorable bounces. 

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Sunday, December 11

Tappara is one of the hottest teams in Finland. Unbeaten in their last 11, they have had solid wins against other Top 10 teams in their group such as No. 4 JYP and No. 7 Tappara Musta. Not to be outdone, the Pelicans too have wins over JYP and Tappara Musta, but also defeated Sininen in their first outing back on Oct. 8. 

In the second matchup, both sides played to a 2-2 tie.

Tappara brings in three of the top 10 scorers of their group into the contest. Jonatan Seppä(20G, 15A), Eemil Mattanen (11G, 14A), and Viljam Kivimäki’s eight goals and 24 points lead the way. 

Behailu Pussinen’s seven goals and 15 points is the most for the Pelicans, with Romeo Mikkonen (7G, 7A) and Joakim Koivunen (6G, 7A) close behind. 

Pete’s Pick: The season series has been very close, and this game could go in favor of either opponent. That being said, I like Tappara’s offense slightly better in this one and feel that could be the factor that boosts them to a victory, 3-2. 

Craig’s Pick: What’s weird about their first two matchups, is that the leading scorers from both teams were only mildly effective. A secondary assist from Romeo Mikkonen on one end; a power-play assist from Eemil Mattanen on the other. If one of the big dogs doesn’t step up and dominate this matchup, then the scales tip in favor of whoever has better depth. That, to me, is Tappara Sininen in another low-scoring contest.

CSKA, Vityaz hope for some separation among ‘08 clubs

The Top 10 among 2008-born Russia has a cluster of teams jockeying for position. No. 5 CSKA Moscow (17-6-2) and No. 7 Vityaz Podolsk (17-5-0) are right in the thick of things, with a big matchup scheduled for Saturday. 

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Saturday, December 11

Back on Sept. 22, CSKA defeated Vityaz, 4-1, helped largely by a goal and assist from Igor Poss. Nikita Gromakov has totaled 16 goals and 20 points on the season, trailed by Poss (8G, 8A) and Nikita Ovcharov (9G, 10A) for the team lead. 

Vityaz will aim to counterpunch their attack with the trio of Gleb Pugachev, Maxim Seldemirov, and Makar Dudar. Pugachev’s 15 goals and 33 points sit atop the club. Seldemirov’s 13 goals and 30 points and Dudar’s nine goals and 26 points round out the top three. 

CSKA got back in the win column last weekend after four consecutive losses with a 5-0 victory over Khimik. Vityaz was shut out by Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, 4-0. 

Stemming from this game, there should be some clarity into the middle of the field for Russian ‘08s, which could lead to some movement in the overall rankings. 

Pete’s Pick: CSKA seems to have gotten through a rare rough patch and is back to their winning ways. Some adversity is never a bad thing, and they clearly learned to clean up a few things as a result. They win 5-1. 

Craig’s Pick: This is a weird one because most of the country took a one-month hiatus for Federal District Championships. So it really comes down to who can get back into a rhythm the quickest after the extended break. I’ll go with Vityaz here, but I don’t like it due to the coin-flip nature of the matchup already and so much uncertainty after the long layover.

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‘09 Swedish club goes undefeated in district playoffs

No. 18 Flemingsbergs IK (21-0-0) has been one of the top teams in Sweden this season. They have fared well against all types of competition, never looking too far ahead on the task at hand. With district playoffs taking place last weekend, it was no shock to see that their incredible winning streak to start the season kept rolling. 

The team went 4-0-0 en route to their first district championship in program history. Not an easy task, as included in their schedule were matchups against fellow Swedish-ranked No. 2 Täby HC and No. 4 SDE Hockey

After dispatching Vasby IK HK and Göta Traseberg IK in their first two games, the stage was set for the meeting with SDE. After Flemingsbergs opened the scoring just over three minutes into action, the rest of the period was a special teams battle. The next four goals of the period would all be tallied on the power play, with Flemingsbergs taking a 3-2 lead into intermission. 

It was a lead they would not relinquish, but the remainder of the contest would be a back-and-forth affair with both sides trading goals. SDE got the score as close as 5-4 with about a minute left in regulation before Victor Nordberg would add the sixth and final goal of the contest just 13 seconds later. Nordberg led all skaters with three points as well. 

Täby reached the championship after winning all three of their preliminary games as well. Given the strong defenses and goaltending each side possessed, it was a fairly uneventful title game with Flemingsbergs coming out on top, 1-0. The lone goal would come from the stick of Daniel Grypishyn, as it was unassisted and while on the penalty kill. 

The final matchup was really a stage for the goaltending to steal the spotlight, with Anton Blohmé turning aside all 14 shots he faced while in net for Flemingsbergs. Jurjis Rodicevs, in net for Täby, stopped 21.

In total, Flemingsbergs found the back of the net 14 times and only allowed six goals across their four games, a goal differential of plus-8, tied with that of Täby. The two teams had the only positive goal differential numbers in the playoffs. Accounting for a large part of that offensive output were Dante Bergfors and Ludvig Schnüzel, who compiled seven points and six points, respectively. 

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One youth hockey club from each of the five major countries that owned November

During the month, there have been some clubs that have stood above the rest. We look at a few programs across all countries and birth years to see who has established themselves as the “best of the best.”

FINLAND: 2007 Tappara

A 7-1-0 month further secured No. 11 Tappara’s spot in the world rankings and at the top of the ‘07 Finnish rankings. Overcoming Top 10 Finnish clubs like No. 6 Luukko, No. 7 JYP, No. 8 TPS and No. 9 Ilves proves that they are truly one of the premier teams of their birth year. 

The team’s two leading scorers, Vilho Vanhatalo and Eetu Orpana, also lead all group players when it comes to putting up the points. Vanhatalo’s 16 goals and 44 points sit slightly above Orpana’s 18 goals and 37 points. Two other skaters from Tappara also are included in the Top 10 in scoring, Juho Kuisma (15G, 19A) and Joonas Rajala (14G, 15A). 

Continued numbers  like this from these players will only further serve as a testament to the immense talent this team possesses. It could lead to bigger things for them not only individually, but for the program as well. 

UNITED STATES: 2007 Little Caesars 

The world-ranked No. 4 Little Caesars had one of the hottest stretches of the month, going 13-0-1. In both installments of the World Hockey Hub Rankings this month, they stood firm at the No. 1 spot in the country. 

In the midst of a 34-game unbeaten streak dating back to Aug. 28, they have been able to take care of matchups against both fellow U.S. teams and Canadian counterparts. Besting the likes of No. 14 Chicago Mission and No. 23 Los Angeles Jr. Kings, the boys from the Motor City proved that they are going to be a handful for months to come. 

CANADA: 2011 Toronto Jr. Canadiens

Currently ranked as the No. 1 team in the world among 2011-born teams, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens experienced a very successful November. A 15-2-1 record that culminated in a 6-0-0 run for the AAA division championship at the 2022 Playstation Platinum Cup

The Jr. Canadiens carved through a schedule consisting of two victories over the No. 12 Vaughan Kings and a tie against No. 25 Toronto Red Wings. Their lone blemish was a loss to No. 13 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers. That 4-2 defeat snapped an 11-game unbeaten streak for the Jr. Canadiens.

SWEDEN: 2009 Flemingsbergs IK

World-ranked No. 18 Flemingsbergs IK picked up where they left off after securing a win in its final game before the postseason and secured their district championship. Playing to a 4-0-0 record, they cemented their trophy with large wins over Top-10 teams in the country, No. 2 Täby HC and No. 4-ranked in Sweden SDE Hockey

With an overall undefeated record of 21-0-0, they show no signs of slowing down. With more months like this one, FIK could be enjoying the view from the top of the rankings for quite some time.

RUSSIA: 2008 HC Balashikha

A 9-0-1 record for the month propelled HC Balashika to the top of the 2008 Russian and world rankings. However, it was not their amount of wins so much as it was the teams they defeated that have impressed the most. 

Their first major wins were against No. 6 Mikhailov Academy, 2-1 and No. 8 Spartak Moscow 4-3 in overtime, both on Nov. 10. Then, they followed that up with a 5-2 victory over No. 9 CSKA Moscow just two days later. Statement games that catapulted them up from their former ninth-ranked position.

Leading the way has been the productive duo of Nikita Kartashov (33G, 31A) and Petr Tortev (25G, 22A). Balashikha has also reaped the benefit of Daniil Rakitin, a transfer from Atlant Mytischi, who has added seven goals and 19 assists. 

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Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. From the hottest rivalries to the biggest tournaments, we focus on matchups that will impact the landscape among top teams in the sport.

‘06 Russian teams continue season series

Fresh off a 5-0 victory against HC Balashikha, No. 14 Spartak Moscow (12-3-2) has its sights set on No. 5 Dynamo Moscow (10-3-0). The two teams have clashed once already this season, and Sunday’s matchup serves as the de facto tiebreaker. 

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Sunday, December 4

Spartak has relied on its potent offense to propel them through a recent stretch of success. Averaging five goals a game during their current six-game win streak have opponents trying to figure out how to stop them. Their attack can be attributed to the leadership of Silantiy Kozhushko and Ivan Kosarev. Kozhushko, known for being more of a playmaker, has collected 18 points, using incredible vision to find teammates anywhere on the ice. Kosarev sits closely behind with five goals and 15 points. 

Aiming to prevent them from finding the score sheet will be Dynamo’s goaltending duo of Sergey Vyskrebentsev and Ilya Podsukha. While getting a majority of the starts in net, Podsukha has garnered a 1.52 goals-against average with Vyskrebentsev sitting at a respectable 2.51 goals against. 

The season series is tied between these two programs, with Spartak taking the first game 6-2 and Dynamo edging out a 4-3 shootout victory back on Oct. 2. Ivan Ryabkin came up big in that one for Dynamo, as he netted a goal in regulation and the lone shootout tally. Bogdan Kiselev also added a goal and two assists for Dynamo. 

Pete’s Pick: Spartak has been playing great hockey lately, and I expect them to continue their hot streak heading into this matchup. While the goaltending for Dynamo is solid, they boast more depth up front offensively and will use that to their advantage. Spartak takes a close one 3-2.

Craig’s Pick: These two teams stack up super close. I like Dynamo’s goaltending situation just a little bit better than Spartak. Top forward Ivan Ryabkin plays a major factor in this one with multiple points, and Spartak gets a stellar performance out of whichever goaltender man’s the net. Spartak defeats Dynamo for the second time this season, 4-1. 

‘09 KalPa, KooKoo suit up for two

If KooKoo Black’s (10-2-2) recent six-game unbeaten streak is a sign that the team is firing on all cylinders, then KalPa P Black (10-2-0) will have its hands full. KooKoo, ranked No. 8 among 2009-born Finnish teams, will take on No. 4-ranked KalPa in a two-game series on Saturday. 

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Saturday, December 3

The play of KooKoo’s leading scorer, Aapo Vainikka has helped them jump to the first overall spot in Group F. Dynamic on both sides of the puck, he has notched 16 goals and 30 points through 14 games, sitting just outside the Top 10 scorers of his group. 

While Vainikka’s numbers are impressive, KalPa counters with the two leading scorers of their group, Veeti Pisto and Luukas Kokkonen. Pisto has found the back of the net an incredible 21 times over 14 games, and has added 25 assists as well. Kokkonen has struck for 21 goals and 37 points. 

Both players have also seen some playing time among U15 KalPa Musta’s club as well, showing that they have the talent to play up an age group.

Pete’s Pick: While KooKoo is riding a hotter streak, KalPa’s schedule has consisted of tougher opponents. However, KooKoo decisively beat KalPa E Keltainen earlier this season by scores of 5-1 and 9-1. KooKoo takes both games in a tight series.

Craig’s Pick: I think we’ll see a split in this one. Both teams have shown they’re the two best clubs in Group 4. KooKoo Black and KalPa Black appear to be sizably better than the seven other teams in their group. I fully expect them to trade blows in a heavyweight bout for group supremacy. Each team earns a dub this weekend.

Kings, Red Wings collide in 2011 Top 25 matchup

The No. 12 Vaughan Kings (22-5-1) and No. 25 Toronto Red Wings (13-7-5) will face off for the first time this season on Friday.

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Friday, December 2 @ 6:30 PM
Chesswood Arenas

Vaughan is eager to get back in the win column, as they were bested by the No. 1 Toronto Jr. Canadiens 6-1 last time out following a solid showing at the 2022 International Silver Sticks Tournament. The Red Wings have been unbeaten in three, settling for a 3-3 tie with the North York Rangers in their last tilt. 

The key to this game will be if Toronto’s defense can hold up to the explosive ability of the Kings to find the back of the net. A plus-93 goal differential is what most opponents have to contend with from Vaughan, compared to a plus-28 goal differential of Toronto. It will be a “bend, don’t break” mentality from Toronto. If they can weather the storm, a total team effort will be needed in order to take advantage of a key opportunity to build their resume. 

Pete’s Pick: Vaughan boasts one of the most prolific scoring corps of their birth year, and they will easily cruise past Toronto in this one 5-1.

Craig’s Pick: “Not so fast, my friend!” North York, Ontario, becomes Upset City on Friday. That’s right, the Kings are just 1-4-0 in their last five games against Top-25 teams. They played a lot of hockey — and a lot of good hockey — last weekend at Silver Sticks. This feels like a let-down spot to me, and the Red Wings take advantage, 4-2.

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York Simcoe Express, London Jr. Knights crack ‘07 Top 25

After building up a strong resume to get into a Top 10 spot in the Canadian rankings, the No. 24 London Jr. Knights have taken another step into the Top 25 teams in the world. 

Rattling off six straight victories against teams such as the Huron-Perth Lakers and Waterloo Wolves, the Jr. Knights find themselves sitting at No. 5 with a 22-2-1 record. A boost in the Canadian rankings that also carried them into the top 25.

Rounding out the Top 25 for ‘07 programs is the No. 25 York Simcoe Express (17-4-3). A current four-game unbeaten stretch not only boosted them in the latest world rankings, but have them holding down the middle of the Top 10 for Canadian-squads.

‘07 BK Selects make their move

The No. 5 Bishop Kearney Selects broke out the brooms in an impressive three-game sweep of No. 9 Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Bishop Kearney outscored Shattuck 9-3 over the series, affording them not only bragging rights but the opportunity to state their case as one of the premier U.S. teams of the 2007 birth year. 

BK will look to continue their current six-game unbeaten streak into the upcoming Silver Stick Tournament this weekend, where they will go head to head against some of the best of the U.S. and Canada. 

Yugra Yukior builds resume among ‘06 Russian peers

No. 7 Yugra Yukior edged out No. 12 Salavat Yulaev twice in overtime to jump ahead in the 2006-born Top 10 Russian rankings. 

Given that the victories were both by a goal, beating a ranked opponent twice in one weekend is a good case to prove you belong among the elite. Yulaev was also a perfect 10-0-0 on the season before the matchups with Yukior. Proving that the wins were no flukes and stand as a testament to the skill Yukior possesses. 

Watch out for Yukior to continue its climb up the Russian and world rankings, if leaders such as Egor Skutin, Egor Murashev and Kirill Sukharev keep producing. Next up is a two-game set against Traktor Chelyabinsk before going head to head against No. 10 Russian-ranked Avangard Omsk

New No. 1’s among ‘08 clubs

No. 5 Shattuck-St. Mary’s had a big boost from their former No. 25 spot in the 2008 world rankings thanks to three-game sweeps of No. 13 Chicago Mission and No. 14 Bishop Kearney Selects. 

The Sabres can attribute a large portion of their success to incredible goaltending from Xavier Wendt and Michael Iliff. Just look at the numbers alone. Wendt has collected a 1.31 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, compared to 1.00 goals-against and .940 save percentage for Iliff. 

There was a lot of movement among the Top 10 in Russia, leading to a shuffling of clubs both in the Russian and world rankings. No. 1 HC Balashikha came out on top against No. 8 Spartak Moscow and No. 9 CSKA Moscow. Victories that not only catapulted them to the top of the country, but also as the new leader worldwide, where they unseated CSKA. Also experiencing raised profiles in the latest rankings are No. 6 Mikhailov Academy and No. 7 Rus Moscow.

Overseas, the ‘08 Finnish rankings received two new additions in No. 7 Pelicans Turkossi and No. 10 Kiekko-Espoo I. The Pelicans nabbed big wins against former No. 8 HPK Oranssi and No. 5 JYP. They also skated to a 2-2 tie with No. 4 Tappara Sininen. K-Espoo shut out previous No. 7-ranked KJT Haukat Blue 4-0 to slide into the last spot among the Top 10. 

Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 200, 2010 and 2011 birth years.

WORLD SELECTS TROPHY

Compete against players from all over the planet at the World Selects Trophy! It's world-class competition with a first-class travel experience. Join TPH Selects, make lasting memories and lifelong friends in an environment unlike any other in youth sports.

The 2007 NorthStar Elite team poses for a championship picture on the ice at the 2021 Mini-Chowder Cup.

WORLD SELECTS TROPHY

Compete against players from all over the planet at the World Selects Trophy! It's world-class competition with a first-class travel experience. Join TPH Selects, make lasting memories and lifelong friends in an environment unlike any other in youth sports.

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

2008 NorthStar WST
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: May 17 - 20, 2023

2009 NorthStar WST
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Dates: May 3 - May 6, 2023

2010 NorthStar WST
Location: Chamonix, France
Dates: May 1 - May 8, 2023

2011 NorthStar WST
Location: Bolzano, Italy
Dates: May 2 - May 8, 2023

North Star Elite

TOUR INFORMATION

2008 NorthStar WST
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: May 17 - 20, 2023

2009 NorthStar WST
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Dates: May 3 - May 6, 2023

2010 NorthStar WST
Location: Chamonix, France
Dates: May 1 - May 8, 2023

2011 NorthStar WST
Location: Bolzano, Italy
Dates: May 2 - May 8, 2023

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Sisu Mustonen blazes 11-game point streak for KalPa

KalPa Keltainen’s current spot as the No. 9-ranked team in Finland among 2008-born teams can largely be attributed to the charge up front on offense by Sisu Mustonen

His 49 points across 11 contests not only lead his squad, but are also the most among peers in his group. Bringing a balanced attack, Mustonen’s 24 goals and 25 assists have helped transform KalPa from a bubble team at the outset of the season into one of the premier clubs of their birth year.

Mustonen tallied two goals and seven assists in a 16-2 win against Jokipojat Musta back on Oct. 23, his best outing of the season to date. If the points keep piling up for Mustonen, KalPa will reap the rewards of his stellar play with their continued climb towards the top of the Finnish rankings. 

‘06 Shattuck-St. Mary’s driven by Lee, Galanak

With No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s deep into its schedule for the 2022-23 season, two names have continually popped up on stat sheets.

That’s forwards Ryker Lee and Jack Galanak.

Lee has accumulated 28 goals and 58 points throughout the club’s first 28 games. A potent driver of play in the offensive zone, his approach to scoring has been at the heart of the team’s current nine-game win streak. Most importantly, the native of Wilmette, Illinois, does not let his aggressive play on the forecheck serve as a detriment to the team, as he has only been penalized for six minutes. 

While Lee brings balance to SSM’s attack, Galanak’s role is primarily that of playmaker. With 34 assists to his name, Galanak has made a living off serving up picture-perfect passes to his fellow Sabres. 

These two like-minded players steering the program’s explosive attack has led to a plus-134 goal differential for Shattuck.

Bear, Samels’ consistency aides ‘07 RHA Winnipeg

RINK Hockey Academy Winnipeg rank No. 10 among Canadian-based 2007 teams. A prominent force in their ability to remain among the top teams in their age group has been the dependability of Connor Bear and Avery Samels

It is often said that consistency is the ultimate factor in determining success. Bear’s performance in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CCSHL) through 11 games this season is a proper case study of that statement. 

Averaging 1.64 points per game, Bear has tallied seven goals and 18 points, which lead the team. Tied with Bear is Samels, whose offensive numbers include six goals and 12 assists.

While the accumulation of their points have been pivotal to the club’s success, what is more impressive is the clutch moments they have come in. 

The duo has combined for three game-winning goals. Additionally, Samels stands out with his performance on special teams. Leading Winnipeg with five power-play points, he has even made opponents pay on the penalty kill, striking for two shorthanded goals as well. 

The stability that both of these players bring to Winnipeg’s all-around offensive game is impressive. If they can continue, fellow CCSHL teams won’t be the only ones keeping an eye on them. 

‘10 CSKA Moscow’s undefeated run propelled by Siniken

CSKA Moscow is the No. 1 ranked team among 2010-born squads, and a large reason for that has been the astounding play of Nikita Siniken. 

Riding a 15-game point streak, Siniken has collected a staggering 27 goals and 59 points, which stand as tops among his teammates. In 14 of those games, Siniken tallied a minimum of three points.

Simply put, no one at his age level is even coming close to producing the numbers he has been putting up. CSKA should continue to dominate the scoreboard and build upon what is an already impressive 22-0-0 record. Siniken will obviously be a major factor in the team’s success as well.

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London Jr. Knights debut amongst the best teams in the world

They’ve been one of the most talked about teams on WHH social media channels, yet the 2007-born London Jr. Knights remained unranked through the first two months of the season. That was largely due to the team’s strength of schedule — or lack thereof — through the early stages of the season. 

While the Jr. Knights came out of the gate with an eight-game win streak, they claimed just one win over a team currently ranked in the Top 10 in Canada. That was a 7-2 drubbing of No. 10 RINK Hockey Kelowna on Oct. 7th. 

London has several shared opponents with teams ranked ahead of them in Canada. For instance, the Jr. Knights lost 4-3 in overtime to unranked Burlington Eagles. That’s the same team that No. 1-ranked Toronto Marlboros defeated 10-0 a week earlier. Additionally, London had tied unranked Chatham-Kent Cyclones 4-4 two weeks after No. 7 Southern Tier Admirals defeated the shared opponent 8-0.

The transitive property is far from the only measuring stick used by the rankings committee. However, it is utilized in the absence of head-to-head matchups. That, coupled with the team’s weaker schedule compared to its Canadian counterparts, had kept London out of the Top 10… until today.

A record that has swelled to 16-2-1, and performances that suggest the Jr. Knights are clearly the best team in ALLIANCE Hockey and have propelled the squad into the Canadian Top 10.

London will likely get a shot to prove itself against other ranked teams at the end-of-season OHL Cup. The top four teams from ALLIANCE earn an automatic bid to the U16 tournament in Toronto. The Jr. Knights should certainly expect to be in attendance, and will have plenty of opportunity to see how they stack up against Ontario’s best.

Södertälje Shoots Up The Sweden Rankings

Unranked through the first two months of the season, Södertälje climbed to No. 2 in Sweden, and No. 22 in the world after winning the Folke Filbyter Cup.

It is a monumental jump, but for good reason. 

They tied No. 1 Nacka HK 3-3 and tied No. 4 Linköping HC by the same score, all within a 24-hour span. Then, followed it up with a 2-1 over Linköping and a 4-3 win over No. 3 Täby HC. Four games with Sweden’s best, and Södertälje not only proved it belonged, but showed they were the best of the bunch with a Folke Filbyter championship.

They will be in action again at the Folke Lindström Cup during Holiday Break next month. That tournament is expected to have No. 6 Boo HC, No. 7 Malmö Redhawks, No. 8 Mälarö Hockey, and No. 10 Djurgårdens IF in attendance as well. 

Seven New Teams Crack the ‘08 World Rankings

Södertälje wasn’t the only 2008-born team to make a statement.

In fact, seven ‘08 clubs in total joined the mix among the Top 25 in the world. Canadian teams Elgin-Middlesex Canucks, Oakville Rangers and York Simcoe Express return to the Top 25 after a one-month hiatus. 

EMC is 20-1-1 overall, with 11 of those wins coming since the team fell out of the Top 25 in October. They also collected two wins over American Top-10 team Little Caesars 3-2 and 5-3 last weekend.

Oakville is another team that’s faced some international competition during its four-week absence from the Top 25. They tied the No. 1 team in the U.S., Chicago Mission 5-5 in Detroit at the Little Caesars Showcase. That weekend, the Rangers defeat American No. 6 and host team Little Caesars 4-3 as well as a 4-3 win over No. 10 Pittsburgh Vengeance.

Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 200, 2010 and 2011 birth years.