Two of America’s Best ’07s Carry Rivalry Over Into ’22-23 Season
Last spring featured the culmination of a year-long battle between Chicago Mission and Shattuck-St. Mary’s for national supremacy at the 2007 birth-year — a controversial one, to say the least.
Still, the banner and the championship hats went to Mission, and that’s all that really counts in the end.
If you missed it last April, Mission prevailed over SSM in the 2022 USA Hockey 14U National Championship, with Cameron McKinney being credited with the game-winning goal early in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.
The problem is that there’s no video evidence confirming the referee’s call on the ice that the puck actually went into the SSM net. The announcer on the official broadcast of the game thought it was a routine save until he saw the ref pointing to the net, but it will forever remain a mystery on whether it was the right call or not.
The dramatic conclusion to the 2021-22 season only makes the growing rivalry between these two talented squads even more interesting to watch in the ’22-23 campaign.
Chicago Mission returns its entire roster from its national championship run, aside from Eddie Gatch joining incumbent Bjorn Bronas between the pipes. Shattuck, meanwhile, has had a few changes to the lineup, but the core from last season is still there. SSM’s biggest changes have come from Lukas Sawchyn, Masun Fleece, William Belle and goaltender Harry Boettiger getting the call-up to the Shattuck 16U roster this season, and bypassing the 15O level.
The two squads got an early start in resuming battle on the ice, as Mission and SSM both took part in the 2022 Minnesota Blades Fall Showcase at Brooklyn Park Ice Arena in Minneapolis.
There, Mission maintained its bragging rights, as the neon green jerseys skated to a 2-1 win. A broken play on a face-off proved to be the difference.
Some of the biggest names on both rosters found their way to the scoresheet, with Asher Barnett the first to find the goal column. The Mission blue liner — a highly-touted prospect in his birth-year — gave his Chicago club an early lead when he sent a point shot through traffic and into the back of the SSM net with 7:07 remaining in the first period.
The two teams played to a scoreless middle frame, but it was Egan Beveridge capitalizing on a strange play that turned out to be the game-winning goal for Mission. A scramble off a face-off led to the puck springing out of a pile right at the SSM net, and while the initial shot was stopped, Beveridge was Johnny-on-the-spot for the rebound put-home goal with 11:33 left on the clock.
Shattuck took advantage of a power-play opportunity a few minutes later, as right off the first face-off to start the PP, Aaron Obobaifo was set up for a one-timer blast from center, just inside the blue line.
Sending the puck through a crowd, Obobaifo was the only SSM skater to beat Mission netminder Bjorn Bronas on the day. The goal made the score 2-1, but that’s how it stayed, despite SSM getting more power-play time before the final buzzer.
As it stands now, Mission, with a 12-4-1 record, is ranked No. 1 in the world. Their losses have come to the Minnesota Blades twice (a split-season team from the State of Hockey), No. 8 Bishop Kearney Selects and No. 6 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers — all highly-touted programs in their own right.
Meanwhile, SSM holds a 3-2-2 record, putting them at No. 2 in the rankings. Shattuck dropped its opener to the Minnesota Walleye 15U program (another split-season squad) 5-4 on Sept. 13, and they played Bishop Kearney and the Minnesota Blades to 3-3 ties in the same Blades Showcase that Mission appeared in.
The two teams have set aside three days for more battles, as Mission will travel to SSM for games on Nov. 11, 12 and 13. They are also scheduled to play each other in Chicago on Feb. 10.
The rivalry between Shattuck and Mission has become must-see action in youth hockey and all four future dates should be circled on the calendar. Maybe we’ll even see them play each other again in Wayne, New Jersey, for the 2023 USA Hockey National Championships, too.