Photo by Ronald Wray | Ronald Wray Photography

Top '07 Team Upset By Chicago For A Second Time This Season

The top two American teams in the 14U age group met for a pair of games this past weekend. Shattuck-St. Mary’s — ranked No. 1 in the country and No. 2 in the world — traveled to Illinois to play No. 2 Chicago Mission at Fifth Third Arena.

Mission recorded a 3-2 win on Saturday before Shattuck rebounded for a 4-2 win the following day, as the top two teams in the country appropriately played to a weekend split. However, Mission carries the season series 2-1 between the two heavyweights, as they topped SSM 4-0 way back on Nov. 21.

Any time the top two teams in an age group meet, it’s a huge deal - but it’s an even bigger one when somebody gives Shattuck a loss. Mission has done it twice, and they are the only team to beat SSM all season — last year, the SSM 14U team lost only one game all season en route to a national title.

Led by head coach Christian Hmura with help from former NHL blueliner and Chicago Blackhawks captain Adrian Aucoin, the Mission boys should expect to collide with Shattuck in the national playoffs later this season.

Besides the loss to SSM on Sunday, you have to go all the way back to Nov. 20 to find Mission’s last defeat, which came in a jam-packed weekend of hockey at the Detroit Challenger series. There, participants included six of the best teams in the country, where they played five games in three days. That’s a 14-game win streak to go along with a 12-game run earlier in the season as well.

The Challenger Series — where Mission dropped a game 3-2 to host team Little Caesars — is also where they knocked off Shattuck the first time.

The Little Caesars squad, ranked No. 5 in the country, has been Mission’s main frustration this season. The Detroit team is responsible for two of Mission’s three losses, as LC beat them on Oct. 24 (6-4) and that Nov. 20 game. Chicago has two wins in the series — a pair of 5-1 wins on Sept. 4 and Nov. 6, respectively — and the two clubs also tied on Dec. 12.

Outside their struggles with Caesars, the only other team to give Mission an ‘L’ was Team Wisconsin, at the beginning of the season.

Mission is currently 50-3-3 on the season, and they have outscored their competition 272-74 along the way.

The well-traveled group has wins over every single one of the other nine teams on the World Hockey Hub Top 10 rankings for the United States.

There isn’t a full season’s worth of statistics available online for the 14U squad, but Elite Prospects does have a collection of games logged for Mission. It’s enough to paint a picture of who is doing what for the talented group.

Most players have stats for 13 games, and there, Ryan Aaronson is dominating for Mission with 18 goals and nine assists for 27 total points. Cole McKinney is close behind, with 19 total points.

From there, you get a sense of impressively balanced scoring across the board for Mission. Jacob Borzecki and Nathan Jastrzebski both have 15 points, while Jake Hutchen and Jacob Eilers have 12 apiece.

Three players have 11 - forwards Cameron Aucoin and Nick Knutson, as well as defenseman Asher Barnett. That’s top for the blue liners, but Andrew Horn and Holden Carter both have 10.

Swedish native Bjorn Bronas has eight games played between the pipes on EP, with a 0.93 goals-against average. Dane Chock has six games, with a 0.91 save percentage.

Along with winning an International Silver Stick title earlier this month, the Mission boys won the Exposure Cup on Oct. 31 - beating the No. 7-ranked Middlesex Islanders for that championship.

They will be the heavy favorites in the Illinois state playoffs, and should make plenty of noise at the USA Hockey Nationals shortly thereafter.

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