WHH Analysts provide round-by-round breakdown of the remaining teams left in the field
The 63rd annual PeeWee Quebec is down to eight teams still in the hunt for a championship at one of youth hockey’s most iconic tournaments. An event that began last Friday with 28 teams in the AAA division is now down to the quarterfinals. Who will survive and advance their way to Sunday’s championship, and ultimately be crowned as the best U13 team in North America? Our pair of experts weigh in with complete bracketology of the remaining three rounds from the Videotron Center.
A Non-Canadian Champion at PeeWee Quebec
There’s still three different countries in the hunt for a championship at PeeWee Quebec. I think all three will still be in the race come Saturday evening as well.
The Czech Knights have always shown well at this tournament, finishing second in last year’s tournament and winning the championship in the one before that. Tomas Albrecht is one of five players in the tournament to record a hat trick. He did it in Tuesday’s 7-4 win over Laval Patriotes. Matyas Vik and Nicolas Novak have been a steady source of offense as well for the Czechs. I like them to get past the Buffalo Jr. Sabres in the quarters, and then be in a tight one in the semifinals. More on those matchups in a minute.
The other half of the bracket features several potential rematches from contests earlier in the season. Brantford 99ers have already beaten world-ranked No. 22 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite not once, but twice this season. I like leading scorers Gavin Martin and Emry Lowe to make it a trifecta with a third win over PPE to advance to the semifinals. Martin tops all skaters with four goals and seven points through three games in Quebec.
Should the 99ers advance, it will set up yet another rematch with No. 17 Little Caesars, who competes in the tournament as the Detroit Red Wings. Those two teams met back in September, where Caesars coasted to a 6-2 win. Ryder Adams, Ben Slavick and Jack Trupiano have been the best trio in the tournament, accounting for 11 of the Red Wings’ 15 goals. I like them to roll past Brantford Saturday to get to the championship game.
That would leave Sun County Panthers as the lone Canadian representative in the field Saturday night. It’s been a fortuitous draw for the No. 8 ranked team in the world. They’ve taken care of business against three straight American-based teams with a 14-2 goal differential. Czech Knights, on the other hand, have played three games against teams that have all been ranked in their respective countries. That includes a 4-3 win against Lions Lac St-Louis and pulling away from No. 24 Patriotes Laval with three late goals in a 7-4 win. Additionally, they had to knock off the No. 1 ranked team in the U.S., Philadelphia Flyers with a 3-0 win Friday.
The Czechs have been in playoff mode since the tournament started. They’ve been battle tested all week long against top competition in close games. They are also led by a coaching staff that’s gotten multiple teams to the championship game in recent years. Not only do they eliminate Sun County — and the last remaining Canadian team — from the tournament, but they go on to win the championship on Sunday in convincing fashion as well.
Red Wings will emerge victorious at PeeWee Quebec
You can’t ignore the past history between No. 22 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Brantford 99ers. In two previous matchups this season, Brantford was victorious over Pens Elite by convincing scores of 3-1 and 6-2. The thing that will put the 99ers over the top is that two of the top five scorers at the PeeWee Quebec wear a Brantford jersey. As mentioned earlier, Martin (4G, 3A) and Lowe (2G, 4A) have done most of the heavy lifting for the squad, and show no signs of slowing down. Look for them to find the scoresheet once again and lead their team to the semifinals.
Meeting them in that game will be the Detroit Red Wings. Quite some time has passed since Brantford and Detroit met back on Sept. 30th. While Detroit won a lopsided game, many things have changed since then. One constant for the Wings has been the ability of Adams, Slavick and Trupiano to find the back of the net all season. Equipped with the formidable trio, the Red Wings have been able to score at will.
In order to reach the semifinals, they will have to take care of business against No. 23 Burnaby Winter Club. Burnaby has been going up against the best Canadian competition all season long and won’t be rattled by a talented Detroit contingent. Both squads have a talented top line, but the tipping point in the matchup will come down to depth; a facet that benefits the Red Wings more. Detroit will add another result to their win column and will move on to the championship game on Sunday.
The Sabres and Knights’ game will come down to goaltending. Olivia De Lisle, who has started both games for Buffalo had been a rock in the crease, and is a trustworthy last line of defense. It will take a concerted team effort from her and her defense in shutting down the Czech attack. Despite the Jr. Sabres’ best efforts, the championship pedigree of the Czechs will give them a slight edge here to take the win.
After that, Sun County and the Knights will duke it out for the chance to reach the championship game. Given the immense talent and how evenly these two teams match up, this one is going past regulation. Look to leading scorers Carter Trudell or Gianluca Mclure to nab the winning goal in overtime for the Panthers.
Sunday will be an all-out, offensive showcase between the Red Wings and Panthers. In the end, the scoring depth of Detroit will be too much for Sun County to overcome. Even if the main trio of players has a rare off day, there are plenty of other skill players in that lineup to take down even the most talented opponent. The PeeWee Quebec trophy will be taken home by a U.S. club for the first time since 2019.