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.

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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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. 

Want more news from the top teams in youth hockey? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, highlights and more!

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.

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.

‘07 Kiekko-Espoo, Jokerit set for weekend series

No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo (19-2-1) will square off with Jokerit (18-4-0) for a two-game series beginning on Friday. 

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Friday, November 25

Jokerit, the No. 5-ranked club in Finland, enters the weekend as winners of their last six. Leading the charge offensively has been Kalle Kulonummi with nine goals and 19 points and Rasmus Kämäräinen (13 goals, six assists). Rounding out the top three for the Helsinki-based program is Lauri Kouhia (nine goals, eight assists). 

K-Espoo, also winners of five straight, comes equipped with not only the third-best scorer of their group in Aapo Vanninen, but also the top goalie in Magnus Loponen. Vanninen sits behind Oliver Torkki and Matias Vanhanen of No. 4 Finnish-ranked HIFK with 10 goals and 36 points. 

One of the best at stopping the puck, Loponen has backstopped K-Espoo to the top of the group, compiling a 1.33 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. 

For Jokerit, the true challenge will be finding a way to beat Loponen. With evenly spread scoring at the top of their lineup, it will make secondary production among their bottom six forwards all the more crucial. 

Pete’s Pick: If Loponen starts both of these games, Jokerit will have a tough chance for victory. That being said, with balanced scoring throughout Jokerit’s  lineup, that could be their biggest factor of pulling out a win. The games will be close, but I see K-Espoo taking both. 

Craig’s Pick: With games on back-to-back days, you’re likely to see two different goalies get the start for both teams. The tandem of Sakari Savolainen and Pekka Korhonen have been very consistent for Jokerit. It’s a good one-two punch, and I like No. 5 Jokerit to earn a 1-1 split with top-ranked K-Espoo here.

Dynamo aims to prove themselves vs. CSKA

No. 5 Dynamo Moscow (14-6-0) will try to be the first 2010-born team to finally crack the armor of No. 1 CSKA Moscow (23-0-0) when they face off this Saturday. 

It will be the second game of their season series, with CSKA narrowly escaping with a 5-4 victory back in September.

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Saturday, November 26

In that game, Dynamo opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the first period before CSKA rattled off three unanswered goals. Dynamo would respond with three of their own to take a 5-3 lead. CSKA would add two late tallies to secure the win. 

Arseney Rychagov, one of Dynamo’s leading scorers with four goals and 15 points, assisted twice. Matvey Fedorenko found the back of the net as well, sitting second behind Rychagov with six goals and nine points. 

CSKA has arguably not only been one of the best teams among 2010-born Russian squads, but in all of youth hockey. On an unprecedented 23-game win streak, they have fared well against all types of competition. 

The main reason for their torrid start to the season? Goals…and lots of them. 

Averaging close to seven goals per game, no other team has managed to match that rate of production. Look no further than Nikita Sininen and Roman Andreev as the main sparks to the incredible attack. 

When looking at the stats the duo has been able to put up, one might think there is a typo at the numbers that pop up on the screen. Sininen’s 29 goals and 63 points and Andreev’s 30 goals and 55 points are spectacular figures. Consistency has been a factor in their ability to pile up the points. Sininen is riding a 16-game point streak, with Andreev’s personal streak at eight games. 

Given the way things played out last time these two went head to head, Dynamo knows they can score against CSKA and skate with them. If they do a better job at game management and tighten things up defensively, they could very well be the first ones to take down CSKA. 

Pete’s Pick: While it would be exciting to see someone finally take down CSKA, there are just too many things going right for them right now. Sininen and Andreev single handedly could take down Dynamo. Even if those two are not a factor, the remaining roster of talent is a tough task to handle for any club. 

Craig’s Pick: CSKA could run the table this year among 2010s. This game — and another matchup next month with Spartak — is among only a few true tests remaining on the schedule. I think Dynamo threatens with a lead early but CSKA’s offense gets them out of trouble with a 5-3 or 6-4 type of win.

Cross-border matchups highlighted at International Silver Stick

With the International Silver Sticks tournament kicking off over Thanksgiving weekend,, there will be plenty of cross-border matchups between Canadian and American teams to keep an eye on.

In the 2009 division, No. 7 U.S.-ranked Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers (20-7-3) are set to battle the No. 11 Sun County Panthers (17-2-0) on Saturday. 

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Saturday, November 26 @ 5:15 p.m. ET
Iroquois Park Sports Centre

Both teams are in the same group for round robin action, along with the Barrie Colts, Niagara North Stars and No. 16 Toronto Titans.

The two teams have split two other games this season, with the Jr. Rangers winning 6-3 on Oct. 29th. The Panthers pulled out a 3-2 victory the next day. With both clubs evenly matched, it will be interesting to see if the fireworks between them continue, this time in a tournament setting. 

Pete’s Pick: Given the fact that Mid-Fairfield was able to put up six goals in their first meeting, they have the ability to put tons of pressure on the Panthers’ defense. While Sun County kept things close in the second game, I see the Jr. Rangers putting up the goals again next time out for the win.

Craig’s Pick: Special teams will be the difference in this one. Three of Sun County’s six goals in the series with MFJR have come on the power play. In the 3-2 win, the Panthers were 2-for-2 on the man advantage while Mid-Fairfield was shut out in four attempts. This game follows a similar trend. I like Sun County to cash in with a couple PPGs and a 4-2 victory. Both could survive pool play and advance to the elimination rounds of Silver Sticks though.

Canucks, Islanders meet in Group 4 matchup

Switching to the 2011 division in the Silver Stick, the No. 9 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks (14-3-2) will lace up the skates against No. 22 Middlesex Islanders (15-4-1) on Friday. 

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Friday, November 25 @ 11:00 a.m. ET
Iroquois Park Sports Centre

The Canucks come into this game feeling great about the state of their game, currently in the midst of winning 10 straight. 

Both clubs tend to score more than allow goals, and their goal differentials are indicative of that. The Canucks bring a plus-54 goal differential into the afternoon while the Islanders have recorded a plus-40 goal differential.

Pete’s Pick: I think the Canucks edge out a win here. Simply put, they are feeling confident in every aspect of their game. Middlesex tends to play in lower-scoring affairs, so if its defense can hold, I can see this being a close one. Regardless, Elgin gets the win. 

Craig’s Pick: This one should be close, and likely low scoring. That favors Middlesex, in my opinion. They are 8-3-1 when producing three or fewer goals offensively. The Islanders are comfortable grinding out games, whereas EMC isn’t quite as battle tested. Nine of their 12 wins have been by three or more goals. If this turns into a dog fight, the Canucks could be in trouble. I like Middlesex to win a scrappy, ugly 3-1 game.

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Hirshorn, Boettinger among the best duos in youth hockey

Given the amount of games youth hockey teams are expected to play, having strong and consistent goaltending is paramount to success. 

When taking stock of the best youth hockey programs around the world, a common theme is that most of them are equipped with not one goalie who can get the job done, but two. There are a variety of teams throughout the World Rankings whose reliance on multiple and dependable netminders are a common theme. 

We take a look at some of these players whose time between the pipes have propelled their squads to top spots. 

Shattuck-St. Mary’s (29-1-1) is the top-ranked 2006-born team in the world. Standing apart from teams such as No. 2 CSKA Moscow, No. 3 Long Island Gulls and No. 4 Krylia Sovetov they have been a mainstay ahead of the pack. A large result of Shattuck’s stellar performance this season has been the combined efforts of their goaltending duo, Jack Hirshorn and Harry Boettinger

Hirshorn, the first-year Sabre from Tampa, Florida, USA looms large at 6-foot-1 and 200 lbs. A frame that lends itself perfectly to the goaltending position, he leaves little room for opposing shooters to find a hole. On the other hand, Boettinger’s slender appearance may fool even the most skilled offensive forward. Just when they think there is plenty of net to aim at, quick pads and a lightning-fast glove turn away even the most dangerous scoring chances with ease.

Stability brings success

SSM knows they have a great chance of victory with either player in net, which has also allowed for an even balance of their workloads. In 16 games this season, Hirshorn has compiled a 15-1-0 record, along with a 1.79 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. In the 15 games Boettinger has suited up for, he has been undefeated at 14-0-1, with a 1.98 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

Shattuck has been able to record six shutout victories this season, four from Hirshorn and two from Boettinger. 

Both players don’t seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon, so it appears as if teams will have to find new ways to best them or continue to be tormented.

‘07 Pelicans’ ceiling rests on Teva and Väisänen

The Pelicans (13-8-0) know that to remain competitive in a stacked group of fellow ‘07 Finnish teams, their ability to stop some incredible high-powered offenses will be key. 

And with goaltenders like Niklas Väisänen and Joel Teva, they just might be able to do so. The pair has backstopped the Pelicans to a 3-2-0 start to the month. 

Teva has seen more time in the crease, with a .927 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against average to his credit. However, that’s not to take away from what his counterpart has been able to do in game action. Väisänen’s .923 save percentage and 2.01 goals-against average are good for third among all goaltenders in their 13-team group. 

The duo was holding opponents to one goal in three straight games before a matchup with No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo on Wednesday. Teva’s 33 save-performance was not enough however as their win streak was snapped with a 6-2 loss.

Väisänen and Teva will have an opportunity to help their team get back in the win column as they have a rematch against K-Espoo this Saturday. No matter who is in goal for the Pelicans, they should expect another steady stream of pucks and offensive zone time. 

Raynard, Parker get extreme for ‘08 Northern Alberta

Fresh off a solid showing at the 2022 Rocky Mountain Classic showcase for Western Canadian clubs, Parker Snell proved he is among the best 2008-born players at stopping the puck. 

Being hailed as one of the best goalies at the tournament after going 3-0-0, Snell’s heroics in net did not come as a surprise to his teammates. He has been an essential part of No. 8 Northern Alberta Xtreme’s (12-0-0) undefeated success all season long. In net for seven of the team’s 12 victories, his 1.41 goals-against average and .938 save percentage with two shutouts jump off the stat sheet. 

Donning the pads when Snell gets the night off, Taylor Ranyard proves he is just as capable of his duties in the crease. Winning all five games he has appeared in and statistically almost parallel to Snell, Raynard has put up a 1.40 goals-against average with a .921 save percentage and two shutouts. 

Impressive numbers for both that prove that on any given night, the Xtreme have a solid chance of victory before the puck even drops. 

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‘08 Top 10 tilt between Chicago Mission, Penguins Elite

Kicking off our games to look forward to is a meeting between the No. 13 Chicago Mission (23-4-3) and No. 9-ranked among 2008 U.S. teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite (20-4-0).

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Saturday, November 19 @ 6:50 P.M. CST
International Rink

Both teams are currently enjoying extensive win streaks, with Chicago victorious in their last three and Penguins in their last seven. While Pittsburgh does not boast as dynamic an offense as Chicago, they have recorded a plus-50 goal differential. Compare that to the Mission’s plus-80 goal differential, and it can be seen the two teams aren’t that far off from one another when it comes to attacking.

The danger here for either side is getting into a game where goals are traded left and right. The team that controls play in all three zones will end up in the win column, as a balanced approach will be key. 

Pete’s Pick: Chicago have proven to this point they are the team to beat among U.S. teams of their birth year, and this game should only further solidify that point. While Pittsburgh is certainly capable of keeping things close, the Mission will eventually pull away in a 6-3 win.

Craig’s Pick: I expect this game to be much closer than our WHH Rankings may suggest, with Mission at No. 1 and PPE at No. 9 in the country. Mission has a 3-2-2 record in seven games against fellow Top-10 ranked teams this season. They’re just a bit more battle tested in my book, so I’ll give Chicago the edge over Pens Elite… but it’s really close, 3-2. 

‘06 Lokomotiv eyes move up the rankings 

No. 15 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s (7-3-0) plans to make some noise among 2006-born Russian clubs depending on how they come out against No. 5 Dynamo Moscow (8-3-0) on Sunday, Nov. 20.

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Sunday, November 20

Dynamo bested Lokomotiv 4-1 back in September. Their leading scorer on the season with five goals and 13 assists, Ivan Ryabkin, notched two helpers. Bogdan Kiselev, who sits just behind Ryabkin with eight goals and 15 points, kicked off the scoring in that matchup.

One of the biggest issues for Lokomotiv last time these two met was most of its point leaders were held off the scoresheet. Players such as Vadim Dudorov, Sergey Kudinov, and Alexey Elblaus were unable to crack through the opposition. Getting all three players going in the upcoming game will be crucial for Lokomotiv to even the season series. 

The biggest obstacle they will have to overcome will be between the pipes. Sergey Vyskrebentsev manned the crease in their last game. However, Ilya Podsukha, who has donned the pads for a majority of Dynamo’s games, serves up a pristine 1.30 goals-against average.

Expect both teams to empty the tanks in this one, as they do not meet again until the new year at the end of January. 

Pete’s Pick: Lokomotiv got a late goal to pad some stats last time these two teams met. I expect Dynamo to pick up where they left off, as Lokomotiv’s offense will not be able to crack whomever Dynamo puts in goal. Dynamo takes this one 5-1.

Craig’s Pick: Lokomotiv is playing much better hockey than the last time these two teams met, but I still don’t think it will be enough. Dynamo is a more complete team with higher end scorers in Kiselev, Roman Gorodilov and Ryabkin. I think they open it up even more in the rematch; Dynamo wins 6-2.

‘07 Pelicans look to crack Finnish Top 10

Sitting at 11-5-0 on the season, the Pelicans have a prime opportunity to strengthen their resume among Finnish ‘07 clubs with two upcoming games against No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo (14-1-0) this week. 

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Wednesday, November 16

The first game will take place Wednesday, Nov. 16, serving as the first time this season the two will be facing off against one another. The Pelicans have been a bubble team for much of 2022-23 action, just on the cusp of sliding into the top 10. 

The opportunity to make some noise has presented itself, now all they have to do is capitalize on it. 

Luka Arkko and Juho Piiparinen both lead the Pelicans with 18 points apiece. Both were instrumental in the team’s most recent victories  against KalPa and Jokipojat.

Kiekko-Espoo has handled most of the competition among group play, with a lone blemish being a 7-3 loss to Jokipojat earlier this month. A run of play that has them comfortably atop the table of 2008-born Finnish teams as well as within the world rankings

Since that loss on Nov. 5, they have rattled off three wins, overcoming teams such as KalPa, KJT Haukat, and Jukurit.

Aapo Vanninen, Kiekko-Espoo’s most prolific playmaker, has assisted on 23 goals and has tallied 10 of his own. Just behind his 33 points is Aleksi Kilpeläinen‘s 11 goals and 29 points. 

Pete’s Pick: The Pelicans have slowly been gaining steam as the season has progressed, taking part in some close matchups against the best teams of their group. While I expect them to put up a fight, the overall team talent Kiekko-Espoo possesses will be too much to overcome if this becomes an offensive display. Kiekko-Espoo wins 4-2.

Craig’s Pick: Kiekko is the top team in Finland for good reason. However, they were caught asleep at the wheel yesterday with a surprising 7-3 loss to unranked Jokipojat. There’s no way Vanninen and Kilpeläinen allow that to happen a second time. I think an angry KE squad makes a statement with an 8-1 victory. 

‘07 SSM hits the road for series vs. BK Selects

No. 9 Shattuck-St. Mary’s (17-5-3) will get some bonding time away from their home rink when they head to Rochester, New York, for a three-game series against the No. 13 Bishop Kearney Selects (19-8-6) this weekend. 

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Saturday, November 19 @ 1:00 p.m. EST

In the early stages of the season, these two programs played to a 3-3 tie, proving that their close proximity in the standings is no fluke. Shattuck had an eight-game unbeaten streak end at the hands of No. 5 Chicago Mission last weekend, while Bishop Kearney come in as winners of their last two over the Mississauga Senators and Compuware.

The Selects like to fill up the net, so all eyes will be on the goaltending of Grayson Hanggi and Garrett Glaser for SSM in this one. Their play has led to modest goals-against averages, with Glaser getting the slight advantage of a 1.57 goals-against to Hanggi’s 1.83 goals-against. 

Pete’s Pick: These are probably the games I am most looking forward to this week, as both teams are so similar in their approach to offense, defense and overall roster construction. That being said, someone has to come out victorious, so I see Shattuck taking a very hard fought series 2-1. 

Craig’s Pick: Bishop Kearney has played 16 — yes, sixteen — games against teams ranked in the Top 10 of their respective countries this season. Shattuck, on the other hand, has yet to play a game outside the State of Hockey. I think the travel could play a factor here, and BK being battle tested and at home, gives them a huge leg up. Shattuck is likely traveling 1,000 miles by bus to the Empire State. I’ll take BK to win the first two games and Shattuck to steal the final matchup before heading home.

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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.