Two of the top ‘07 U.S. clubs highlight busy week
Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. It’s a full slate of games to keep an eye on this week. Djurgardens IF and AIK Hockey kick things off with an ‘08 Top-10 tilt on Wednesday. CSKA Moscow and Vityaz Podolsk tangle in a premier matchup between 2011s in Russia on Thursday. Then, we head North of the border for an ‘09 clash between Don Mills Flyers and Toronto Red Wings. The week concludes with Shattuck-St. Mary’s dropping the puck in an ‘07 meeting with Little Caesars on Saturday.
‘07 SSM looks for first victory against Caesars this season
In the three times that No 2. Little Caesars (61-6-2) has faced off with No. 17 Shattuck-St. Mary’s (29-16-4) this season, they have been victorious. With one final game remaining in their season series, Shattuck looks to finally solve a club that has been a thorn in their side.
|Saturday, February 26 @ 2 PM EST|
In those three previous contests, Caesars outscored Shattuck 15-4. Despite the solid seasons of their top point getters, Shattuck’s inability to shut down the explosive attack of Caesars has been a big factor. Their blue line and goalies should prepare for another long night of wave after wave of offense. As a result, players like Aaron Obobaifo (34G, 21A) and Gavin Katz (28G, 23A) will have to do the heavy lifting for Shattuck in this one.
Pete’s Pick: I’d like to give Shattuck more credit here, but I think the depth of Caesars is just too much for them to overcome. With the first three games coming in Shattuck’s own barn, now they are heading on the road. Trying to take down one of the best teams in not only their birth year, but youth hockey this season won’t be easy. Caesars sweeps the season series with a 5-1 win.
Craig’s Pick: Caesars has not been at its best lately. If ever there was a time for Shattuck to catch ‘em, it’s now. However, I think even on an off night, Little Caesars’ good is better than most everyone else’s best. Will Horcoff, Aiden Janz and Little Caesars in a close one, 4-2.
AIK hopes for more consistency in ‘08 tilt with Djurgårdens
No. 9 AIK Hockey (20-11-3) will lace up the skates against No. 2 Djurgårdens IF (29-14-10) on Wednesday. They also will not be quick to forget how they lost a 2-0 lead in the last meeting between these two squads in an eventual 3-2 loss.
|Wednesday, February 22|
Back on Jan. 11, it seemed as though AIK was well on its way to a victory. However, a shorthanded goal from Nick Travergård would cut the lead in half, things were quickly tied up about three minutes later. Sebastian Von Berens would net the winning goal with minutes left in regulation to give Djurgårdens the comeback victory.
Travergård, the leading scorer on DIF with 12 goals and 24 points, will lead his squad into this matchup. Just behind him in overall group scoring is AIK’s Filip Nyberg with 11 goals and 22 points. In the meeting in January, Nyberg notched a goal and assist. Given how things played out last time these two shared a sheet of ice, special teams will be crucial.
Pete’s Pick: AIK proved they could skate with a team like Djurgårdens last time out, they just ran out of gas. A near-perfect game is needed to beat a team of Djurgårdens caliber. I believe they learned a hard lesson last time out, and will get a victory back in this one, 4-3.
Craig’s Pick: Last time out, I think it just took DIF a little while to get going. Clearly, once they did, AIK couldn’t keep up with the three unanswered goals. I like Djurgårdens to get out to a better start in this one, play with a lead, and hang onto it. DIF over AIK 4-2.
CSKA, Vityaz collide in 2011 meeting
It has been quite some time since No. 7 CSKA Moscow (25-12-2) and No. 8 Vityaz Podolsk (27-6-1) have seen one another in competitive play. They will reignite their season series on Thursday before ending their 2022-23 schedules against one another in April.
|Thursday, February 23|
Alexei Katsuro (17G, 19A) and Darius Malyshev (24G, 25A), leaders in scoring for CSKA, only accounted for one point in the previous 4-1 loss to Vityaz. Mikhail Maltsev (47G, 44A), Petr Bedretdinov (35G, 35A) and Kirill Rodionov (36G, 33A) form the formidable trio for Vityaz. Rodionov collected four points, along with a natural hat trick against CSKA back in that April contest. Maltsev added two helpers as well.
It’s an intriguing game, as Vityaz has been the hotter team as of late but CSKA has the skill to skate with any fellow Top-10 team in Russia. Ultimately, whichever team has their top players going in this one will be coming out on top.
Pete’s Pick: I like Vityaz’s stretch of play over the past few weeks. They have been beating the teams they need to beat with little issue. CSKA has collected the wins, but some games make me wonder if they at times play up or down to their opponent. I think Vityaz skates away with the win here, 3-2.
Craig’s Pick: Much of Vityaz’ success in the last meeting stemmed from keeping CSKA’s top scorers at bay. That’s a tough task to achieve twice, and I don’t think Katsuro and Malyshev can be contained to just one point a second time. They open up the offense, and CSKA gets the 5-2 win.
Toronto, Don Mills throw down in ‘09 battle
No. 1 Don Mills Flyers (47-5-4) and No. 23 Toronto Red Wings (37-11-5) will meet on Friday in the third game of their season series. Don Mills won the first contest, 3-1 with the second game ending in a 3-3 tie on Jan. 6.
|Friday, February 24 @ 8:50 PM EST|
Each club enters this contest winners of six straight, so you would be hard pressed to find another game where both teams are coming in with this much confidence. Toronto knowingly is heading into this matchup with the feeling that they have a large task ahead of them. But, given how close the previous matchups have been, it should give them some added confidence that they can pull out a win.
Pete’s Pick: Toronto can surprise in this matchup, but I think Don Mills has a bit more depth. Sometimes it can take a bounce here or there, yet just feels like Toronto would need a good amount of those. It’s another close one, with Don Mills taking a 3-2 final.
Craig’s Pick: I like DMF too. This will be a very competitive, exciting game with plenty of back and forth, I don’t doubt that. I just think when the dust settles, it’s Don Mills standing victorious, 3-2.