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. 

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Marlboros, Flyers, Mid-Fairfield and Little Caesars split championships between U.S. and Canadian teams

The International Silver Stick finals in Whitby, Ontario, CAN., brought together a remarkable collection of youth hockey talent for its four age groups. It is one of the longest standing and most iconic youth hockey tournaments in all of North America. After this weekend, four teams — two from Canada and two from the U.S. — were able to add their names to the history books.

Toronto Marlboros Take 2007 Division

The field for the 2007-born teams at Whitby was incredibly deep, but in the end, it played out as the rankings indicated it would. In the tournament finale, it was the Toronto Marlboros, ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 17 in the world, taking on the Bishop Kearney Selects, ranked No. 2 in the United States and No. 5 in the world. The Marlboros took advantage of the opportunity to make a world-wide statement, defeating their American foes 4-1 to win the prestigious Silver Stick and cap off a perfect trip to Whitby.

In an age group featuring 11 ranked teams in their respective countries, it was a battle each and every game for the Marlboros — and they got some help along the way, too. Toronto started with a 5-0 win over the Huron-Perth Lakers, followed by 9-1 and 5-2 wins over the Niagara North Stars and Barrie Colts, respectively. They wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 7-4 win over the Central Ontario Wolves in the Marlboros’ last game against unranked competition.

Things got a lot more interesting in the quarterfinals, as the No. 1 ranked Marlboros found themselves sharing the ice with the No. 4 ranked Mississauga Rebels. The Marlboros prevailed 4-2, securing another Top-10 showdown with the No. 8 Southern Tier Admirals in the semifinals.

There, it was a nailbiter, as the Marlboros eventually prevailed 3-2 for their date with the BK Selects.

Top-10 Matchups Between U.S., Canadian Clubs

Bishop Kearney’s route to the finals featured a few Top-10 showdowns, as well. They took down the No. 10 ranked Halton Hurricanes in their last round-robin contest before beating the No. 7 Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the semifinals.

The Jr. Canadiens had been responsible for the London Jr. Knights’ early exit. The No. 4-ranked Knights were bounced in the quarters by the Jr. Habs in 5-0 shutout fashion.

Meanwhile, it was the Toronto Young Nationals recording a perfect 4-0-0 record in preliminary-round play that caused chaos for some of the top-ranked teams. They started the Silver Stick tournament with a 2-1 win over the No. 3 ranked Don Mills Flyers which eventually led to Don Mills not making it to the elimination rounds. The Young Nationals did the same to No. 6 York Simcoe Express.

Meanwhile, the Marlboros are carrying their Silver Stick back to Toronto while surely moving up in the worldwide rankings after surviving the Whitby gauntlet. The four top scorers in the Silver Stick tournament all suited up for the Marlboros — Lev Katzin had 13 points in seven games, while William Moore had 12, Aidan Lane and Matheas Stark finished with 11 apiece.

Cooper Dennis recorded 11 points in seven games for the Bishop Kearney Selects, while Joshua Avery registered nine points in only five games. Even more impressive was Ryan Roobroeck hitting the nine-point mark in only four contests. 

Don Mills Flyers Dominate ’09 Division

It was another battle of ranked clubs from two different countries in the finals of the 2009 division at the Whitby Silver Stick. Once again, the Canadians got it done, this time with the Don Mills Flyers beating Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 2-1.

Don Mills entered the tournament the favorite, as they are currently ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 5 in the world by the World Hockey Hub. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, checked in at No. 10 in the U.S. rankings.

It was another stacked tournament field, as seven of Canada’s top 10 teams in the birth year made the trip to Whitby. Additionally, two ranked American programs in Pittsburgh and the No. 8 Mid Fairfield Jr. Rangers.

The final was actually a rematch of the preliminary round, as Don Mills and Pittsburgh were the two top teams in Group 5. In that contest, the Flyers blanked Pittsburgh 5-0.

That also ended up being the only ranked opponent for the Flyers in their run to the final. They took care of the North York Rangers 3-1 in the quarterfinals and Huron-Perth Lakers 2-0 in the semifinals.

The Lakers took down the No. 8 Toronto Marlboros in preliminary-round play, and in the quarterfinals, they eliminated No. 10 Ottawa Myers Automotive with a 3-1 victory.

The No. 4 ranked Sun County Panthers ran into trouble in the round robin, falling to the No. 6 Toronto Titans 3-0 in their first game, and the unranked Niagara North Stars 5-3 later in the same day.

Meanwhile, Pens Elite were responsible for bouncing the No. 2 ranked team in all of Canada, as they beat the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 3-2 in the semifinals before running into Don Mills for the finale.

Mid-Fairfield Makes its way to the 2011 Championship

Another cross-country showdown between highly ranked squads, but this time, the Americans won. In the 2011 title game at Whitby Silver Stick, it was Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, ranked No. 2 in the U.S., beating the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, ranked No. 1 worldwide and in Canada, by a final score of 4-2.

The two programs highlighted a field that featured the No. 1 ranked teams in both the U.S. (Pittsburgh Penguins Elite) and Canada (Jr. Canadiens). Four top-five teams from Canada were competing, with the Elgin-Middlesex Canucks, Vaughan Kings and Oakville Rangers joining the Jr. Canadiens. Three top-five teams from the U.S. crossed the border for the tournament, as well, in the Penguins, Mid-Fairfield and No. 4 ranked Chicago Reapers.

The Path To Silver Stick History

The Jr. Rangers had a challenging path to their Silver Stick title, as they started with a 5-4 win over the No. 5 ranked Oakville Rangers. They dropped their second game of the tournament, however, losing 2-1 to the Quinte Red Devils.

Mid-Fairfield bounced back with a huge 2-1 win over the No. 3 Vaughan Kings on Saturday morning, however, and they wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 2-1 win over York Simcoe Express.

In the quarterfinals, they took care of American foe Little Caesars 5-1. That led to back-to-back games with teams ranked No. 1 in their respective countries. Mid-Fairfield beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 4-3 in the semifinals before the aforementioned 4-2 win over the Jr. Canadiens in the final.

Little Caesars Adds Another Silver Stick Championship

Little Caesars prevailed in the title game of the 2013 birth year, as they won an All-American battle with Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, 7-3.

Little Caesars dominated from start to finish in their run to the youngest Whitby Silver Stick division title. On Day 1, they recorded 10-0 and 11-3 wins over the Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and Oakville Rangers, respectively. 

The next day, they beat the South Shore Kings 6-1 and the Toronto Young Nationals 7-2.

In the elimination rounds, it was more routs. Caesars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 8-0 in the quarterfinals, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 7-3 in the semifinals, and Mid-Fairfield 7-3 in the final.

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Top-Ranked Jr. Canadiens Win Gold at Playstation Platinum Cup

Last weekend, five teams from the 2011 birth year competed in Ontario, Canada, to take part in the 2022 Playstation Platinum Cup. 

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens proved why they are the No. 1 team in the world, going undefeated at 6-0-0. Also taking part were the Don Mills Flyers, York Simcoe Express, Burlington Eagles and Whitby Wildcats

Averaging 11 goals per game, the Jr. Canadiens had no issues piling the pucks into the net. They finished the tournament with a total of 51 goals while only allowing three against across their six games. Their closest game was a 3-1 victory over Don Mills during the first day of the tournament. 

During day two, Toronto shut out York Simcoe 7-0 and the Wildcats 13-0. A 6-1 win over the Eagles on day three was their fourth victory of the weekend. They would end their undefeated run with two wins on the final day of the tournament, a 17-1 rout of the Eagles and besting Don Mills 5-0 in the final game.

Across the board, all teams seemed to get into filling up the stat sheets at one point. The Flyers put up seven on Burlington. Then, the Eagles had a seven-goal outburst of their own against Whitby. There was a lone tie on the weekend, 3-3 between York Simcoe and the Wildcats. 

Not all games were offensive showcases. Don Mills and York Simcoe played two of the lowest-scoring and closest games of the tournament against one another, with each club getting a win. 

When looking at the Jr. Canadiens track record heading into the tournament, their success should come as no surprise. They have not only consistently held down the top spot among fellow Canadian teams, but have enjoyed the view at the top of the World Rankings for 2011-born programs since the season began. 

Success that has not only surrounded them in Canadian battles, but also in cross-border matchups against the top teams from the U.S. Victories over teams such as the No. 6 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, and No. 17 Chicago Reapers only stand as further testaments to the incredible talent the roster possesses. 

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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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American Thanksgiving is circled on the calendar for both U.S., Canadian teams

It is regularly the single busiest weekend of youth hockey on the calendar each year. American Thanksgiving tends to treat hundreds of teams in North America to plenty of holiday hockey. From spending time with family to trying to snag the best Black Friday deals, games and tournaments schedules are strategically placed throughout the extended weekend. 

A multitude of cities throughout the United States celebrate Thanksgiving with dozens of tournaments. Here are some of the most notable coming up this weekend. 

International Silver Stick

It may take place in Canada, but several American teams have come to compete in the International Silver Sticks tournament. Beginning Nov. 24, teams from the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 birth years will take part in this year’s tournament in Whitby, Ontario, CAN. Each age group will be split into groups of five teams to settle on seeding before the playoff rounds. 

For our purposes, we will focus on the 2007, 2009 and 2011 programs. 

Of the six groups in the ‘07 age group, four stand out for having multiple teams in the World Rankings

Group 1 will feature No. 13 Bishop Kearney Selects and No. 8-ranked among Canadian teams Halton Hurricanes. Group 2 will see two ranked clubs from Canada, No. 6 Toronto Jr. Canadiens and No. 7 Southern Tier Admirals and battle for supremacy. Group 3 standouts include No. 22 Mississauga Senators, No. 9-ranked Canadian London Jr. Knights, and No. 9 ranked in the U.S. Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Rounding things out in Group 5 is No. 17 Don Mills Flyers and No. 5 in Canada York Simcoe Express.

Group 3 for the ‘09 table will have its fair share of close games, with the No. 7 U.S. ranked Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers set to face off against the likes of No. 11 Sun County Panthers and No. 16 Toronto Titans

For the 2011 age group, Group 4 will include matchups such as No. 9 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and No. 22 Middlesex Islanders. Rounding things out is Group 5 are two of the top U.S. teams in No. 6 Penguins Elite and No. 17 Chicago Reapers

CCM Shootout

The 16U division of the CCM Shootout, presented by 200×85, will take place from Nov. 25-27 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA. 

Eight teams will square off in a round-robin style format, earning two points for a win and one point for a tie. All teams will be in action during the first day, with Victory Honda and the South Hills Panthers kicking things off Friday morning. 

Other teams taking part are the Chicago Bulldogs, Gilmour Academy, Markham Islanders, PAL Jr. Islanders, Anaheim Ice Dogs and Biggby Coffee.

Some of these programs have already seen action against one another during the regular season, so that familiarity should lead to exciting and emotional tilts. 

Smashville Girls Showcase

The top Tier-I and Tier-II girls teams in North America will head to the Music City for the Smashville Girls Showcase this weekend. 

14U, 16U and 19U teams will each be divided into two groups per birth year. The hometown Nashville Jr. Predators will be in attendance for all birth years. The 14U team enters with a 6-7-0 record, the 16U team with a 7-4-2 record and the 19U team with a record of 4-6-2. 

As an added addition, the Smashville Women’s Hockey Collegiate Showcase will be running concurrently, bringing even more opportunities to watch and learn from some of the best female players in the world. 

The Collegiate Showcase will feature Northeastern University, Princeton University and Cornell University

The Nation’s Cup

Another 200×85 sponsored event, the 2022 CCM Nation’s Cup has the distinction of having the most unique format out of all the tournaments listed here. Not only that, but big bragging rights will be on the line to determine who will be crowned winner between the USA and Canada. 

126 teams from the 2008 through 2013 birth years will take part in a four-game round robin format, accumulating points for their respective country. This part of the proceedings also plays a crucial role in seeding for the next round. 

Once the new standings have been calculated, action will kick back up for a fifth and final game. The top Canadian team will square off against the top American team. Canadian second seed plays American second seed, and so on. Every time a team wins a game, they accrue points for either the U.S. or Canada. The country with the most points at the end of the tournament will be awarded the Nation’s Cup. 

Wishbone Classic

Rounding out festivities this weekend is a World Hockey Events exclusive. The Wishbone Classic will take place in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA with teams from the 2009 through 2013 birth years. 

This is one of the premier Tier-2 tournaments in New England on the calendar this season. As a result, some programs are bringing multiple teams to the event. 

The Seacoast Spartans (2009-2013), Valley Jr. Warriors (2010, 2011, 2013) and Dynamo HC (2012-2013) will all be participating in multiple birth years. 

Of course, these are just a few of the many events going on around this time. Be sure to check out a complete list of Thanksgiving weekend tournaments HERE

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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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Minnesota, Massachusetts the first districts to issue automatic bids

It may only be November, but a few teams can already start making travel arrangements for the 2023 USA Hockey National Championships in April.

Massachusetts crowned its 15O, 16U and 18U Tier-I state champions this past weekend. They join Minnesota as two hockey powerhouses that award national bids well before the other 11 districts in the country.

15O River Rats Are Nationals Bound

The Neponset Valley River Rats captured the 15O title in the Massachusetts Hockey State Championships after entering the weekend tournament the No. 2 seed. They and the No. 1 seed Boston Jr. Eagles had byes into the quarterfinals, which meant avoiding a Friday contest before a jam-packed weekend.

The River Rats took care of business in the quarters, beating Patriot Hockey 7-1. Four players — Joseph Marchi, Jake Assad, Thomas Anderson and Anderson Kilbourne — found the back of the net in the first period alone. That allowed Neponset Valley to quickly assume control of the contest and coasted into the semifinals.

There, things were tighter. The Cape Cod Whalers had the score tied 2-2 in the third period, thanks to a pair of goals from Giacomo Caliri. The River Rats’ Collin Rowe, however, scored two goals in the contest as well, and his second strike broke the 2-2 tie. Michael Munroe finished things off with a late one to give Neponset Valley a 4-2 win.

In the final, it was smoother skating, as the River Rats took down Militia Hockey 5-1, with five different players scoring for the champs.

Top 2007 Performers In Massachusetts

Despite having one game less than most of his peers, Munroe led the weekend in scoring, as he tallied two goals and seven points in three games. Anderson and Marchi both had four points in total.

Alfred Farese, meanwhile, took care of the goaltending duties for the River Rats all weekend. In his three games, he allowed only four goals, which gave him a 1.33 goals-against average in the state playoffs.

The biggest upset of the tournament came by way of the 95 Giants, who ended the Boston Jr. Eagles’ weekend plans rather abruptly. The Jr. Eagles were ranked No. 10 in the country and the top seed in the Massachusetts tournament entering the weekend. However, they fell to the Giants in a 1-0 defensive battle in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Joseph Andreozzi scored the only goal of the contest, and it came at the 15:31 mark of the middle period. The Jr. Eagles sent 34 shots towards Giants’ netminder Angelo Evangelista, and he stopped every single one of them. Militia Hockey ended the Cinderella story the next day, however, beating the Giants 3-2 in the semifinals.

16U Little Bruins Win Big At Districts

At the 16U level, the Boston Little Bruins will be representing Massachusetts at nationals after using their No. 1 seed to march through states.

They faced their fare share of challenges in the weekend, starting with a high-scoring Saturday afternoon battle with Boston Hockey Academy. The Bruins needed five, and got six to beat Boston Hockey Academy 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Second-period goals from Grayson Cohen and Jackson Delleo proved to be the difference in the contest. Boston Hockey Academy’s Tyler Kirchner had two goals and an assist, while Gryphon Watson-Bucci had four assists, but their herculean efforts weren’t enough for an upset.

In the semifinals, the Bruins had a much easier time, as first-period goals from Cameron Cooke, Alex Gomes and Joseph Mense put them on the path to an easy 5-1 win over the Valley Jr. Warriors.

It looked like it was going to be more smooth sailing in the championship game, but the Boston Jr. Eagles made things interesting in the final frame. The Bruins scored five goals through the first two periods, but the Jr. Eagles’ Edward Mutryn registered a natural hat trick in the third to make it a nail-biting 5-4 final for the Little Bruins. 

Balanced scoring carried the Bruins to the state title, as Delleo led the way with five points, while Gomes and Dennis Davidson had four. Sixteen different Bruins found the scoresheet over the course of the three games.

Jr. Eagles Punch Ticket to 18U Nationals

At the 18U level, the Boston Jr. Eagles captured the state title, prevailing over the Cape Cod Whalers 3-2 in the final.

Much like the 16U champs, the Jr. Eagles scored by committee en route to their nationals bid, as four players — Jake McManus, Sean Leetch, Cullen Emery and Jonathan Lanza — all led the team in scoring with three points apiece.

Paul Dalessio played all three games between the pipes to pick up three wins and a 1.44 goals-against average in the process.

Shattuck set to represent Minnesota District

Massachusetts isn’t the only major hockey market to be finalizing national bids this early in the season. Minnesota does the same, with the 14U, 15O, 16U and 18U representatives already decided.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s will represent Minnesota at all of the aforementioned age groups, after the 14U, 15O and 16U teams won their Minnesota District titles in the Minnesota High Performance postseason.

At the 14U level, SSM defeated the Polars of District 5 by a 4-0 final. Tynan Lawrence had two goals for SSM, including the empty-netter to wrap things up. Xavier Wendt stopped 18 shots between the pipes for the shutout win.

In 15O play, Shattuck topped the Blue Ox by a final score of 7-1. Alex Donovan registered two goals and an assist, while Andrei Nabokov posted one goal and one assist. Additionally, Grayson Hanggi stopped 20 of 21 shots sent his way.

The 16U SSM squad wrapped things up with a dominating 11-3 win over the Blue Ox.

World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of all 13 USA Hockey Districts, automatic bids and USA Hockey Nationals. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for more!