Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. Nacka HK and Djurgårdens IF kick things off with an ‘08 Top-10 tilt on Wednesday. Boo HC and AIK Hockey tangle in a premier matchup between 2008s as well. The week concludes with CSKA Moscow dropping the puck in an ‘09 meeting with Mikhailov Academy on Sunday.
As the games remaining in the regular season dwindle into the single digits, there are still some big matchups on the board. No. 8 Nacka HK (29-5-6) and No. 12 Djurgårdens IF (30-14-10) will throw down in a meeting of the top two teams among Sweden 08’s.
|Wednesday, March 15
Last time out on Jan. 18th, these clubs played to a 4-4 tie in a spirited back-and-forth affair. Djurgårdens clawed its way back from a 3-1 deficit only to have Nacka take the lead late in the second period. Less than two minutes later, Sebastian Von Berens salvaged the tie with his second goal of the game. Since that tie, Nacka has been on a roll, going 8-1-0 in its last nine. Djurgårdens, meanwhile, has gone 4-2-1.
What gave Djurgårdens a chance to even things up in its last matchup was preventing Nacka’s leading scorer from doing any major damage. Oliver Sundberg not only leads Nacka in points (15G, 15A) but is tied for first in scoring of the entire group. Djurgårdens’ defensive unit held him to just one assist. It will take another strong effort like that to come out on top this time with a win.
It will be interesting to see who Djurgårdens goes with in net. In the 4-4 tie, Gustav Stengård manned the crease, making 16 saves on 20 shots. Statistically, however, the club’s other goaltender, Justin Emretzon Duckmark is among the top three among all teams. He has compiled a 1.55 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and three shutouts over a 7-2-2 record.
Pete’s Pick: I truly believe this one will come down to whoever Djurgårdens goes with between the pipes. They have the confidence they can shut down Nacka’s top performer. So do they roll with the goalie who aided that effort last time they met or with the goalie with the better numbers? Stengård has started the last three games, so my gut says they stick with him. As a result, I think Djurgårdens pulls out a close 3-2 win here.
Craig’s Pick: Djurgårdens recent struggles are a concern for me. Sure, 4-2-1 is a decent run, but those wins are against the 12th, 11th, 10th and sixth place teams. For reference, there’s 12 teams in the group. Nacka’s schedule hasn’t been much more challenging, but its taken care of business in a much more impressive manner. I don’t expect Sundberg to be silenced a second time, I like Nacka in a 4-1 win.
Viggo Fors notched a goal and assist in the last meeting between No. 4 Boo HC (29-7-6) and No. 9 AIK Hockey (21-11-4) on Jan. 18. His team hopes he can produce those numbers again as they battle in a mid-week rematch this Wednesday.
|Wednesday, March 15
Ulriksdals IP Hall 3
The main point-getter for Boo though is Lukas Svensson, who has tallied 13 goals and 21 points in 17 games. Just behind him is Alexander Engman (10G, 6A). Held off the scoresheet in their last encounter, Filip Nyberg will try to add to his impressive season stat line of 13 goals and 26 points. The other two thirds of AIK’s power trio consists of Viggo Låhdö (7G, 15A) and Max Balk (10G, 9A).
While those will be the players trying to fill the net, the two trying to keep pucks out are some of the best on any ‘08 Sweden team. Leon De La Gardie and Leon Andersson went save-for-save in the last game between the two sides. Andersson has backstopped Boo to 10 wins, with a 1.30 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and four shutouts. De La Gardie has recorded 1.54 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and three shutouts. When both of these goaltenders are on, offense is hard to come by.
Pete’s Pick: Like I said, this will be another low-scoring game. Despite players on both ends being able to put up points, there’s something when these two goalies play the other that makes them that much better. With Boo getting the slight edge, offensively, I favor them over AIK in a close 3-2 game.
Craig’s Pick: It’s hard to imagine an even lower scoring game than their 2-1 meeting last time out. However, I’m anticipating just that. Boo is buzzing at the rink time, and I think it gets its fifth team shutout of group play. Viggo Fors factors in offensively, again, and Boo wins a low-scoring game, again, this time it’s 2-0.
No. 3 Spartak Moscow (30-7-3) has had No. 10 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s (22-10-1) number this season. Victorious in three previous games, they have outscored their opponent 11-4. On Sunday, Yaroslavl will attempt to finally best its fellow ‘09 Russian club.
|Sunday, March 19
In order to do so, they will have to handle the explosive production from Daniil Savin (21G, 27A) and Vsevolod Kokorin (27G, 13A), two of Spartak’s most consistent forwards. To counter, Yaroslavl will rely on Ivan Rubstov (9G, 22A) and Mikhail Bulgakov (11G, 14A).
Pete’s Pick: Lokomotiv had been on a bit of a roll lately winning their last three before a loss to No. 3 CSKA last weekend. However, Spartak’s talent is too much for them to overcome, much less many other ‘08 teams. They have kept things relatively close in the last three meetings, so I don’t expect Spartak to break open the score. Spartak will take a 4-1 final.
Craig’s Pick: In the two previous matchups, Spartak has never trailed. Despite their best efforts, Lokomotiv’s Bulgakov and Rubstov just haven’t been able to get the offense going in this matchup. That’s a tough ask for anyone at any level to produce offense on cue. Because of Lokomotiv’s struggles, I have to go with Spartak, 4-1, as they’ve seemed to crack the code on how to shut down this top-10 offense.
No. 24 Mikhailov Academy (22-10-3) will have the chance to even its regular season series versus No. 9 CSKA Moscow (26-8-2) when the two ‘08 Russian teams collide on Sunday.
|Sunday, March 19
CSKA was victorious in the first game between the two back on Sept. 25th. Mikhailov took the next one before dropping the third. Since that loss, they have been winners in their last six. Matvey Cheranev (21G, 24A) and Boris Borin (13G, 30A) have propelled Mikhailov during their recent hot stretch. Goal-scoring dynamo Nikita Gromakov (28G, 6A) will be eager to add to his total. He has scored three goals against Mikhailov in their matchups thus far. Ilya Morozov’s (10G, 24A) play-making ability will look to assist Gromakov in offensive production.
Pete’s Pick: While Mikhailov impressively shut out CSKA in the second game, the true power of CSKA was on display in the other two meetings with wins of 5-3 and 7-3. Mikhailov also played last weekend, giving CSKA more time to rest its top players. A third win for them is in the cards and they will take the season series, three games to one.
Craig’s Pick: Ugh, I’d like to give Mikhailov Academy a shot in this one, especially given Ivan Buydov’s 3-0 shutout on November 13th. However, he was quickly pulled in Game 3, after giving up three goals in the first period. I just don’t think they have an answer for CSKA’s offense, so I’m going CSKA 5-2 convincingly.
Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. CSKA Moscow and Vityaz Podolsk kick things off with an ‘09 Top-10 tilt on Saturday. Jokerit Blue and Kiekko-Espoo EPS I tangle in a premier matchup between 2007s. The week concludes with Nacka HK dropping the puck in an ‘08 meeting with IFK Taby HC on Sunday.
Will No. 1 CSKA Moscow (34-0-0) ever lose a game this season? In two games thus far, CSKA has ended up in the win column against No. 9 Vityaz Podolsk (24-10-0) both times. It’s a tough task for Vityaz, let alone any Russian team, as this CSKA squad has been one of the best teams in youth hockey this season.
|Saturday, March 11
Vityaz lost in the first game 4-3 before dropping a 10-2 decision in the second. But they have the talent to hang with a team like CSKA. If there is any club that can finally send CSKA home with a loss, it’s them.
For CSKA, look no further than to Nikita Siniken (51G, 61A) and Roman Andreev (52G, 43A). Much has already been discussed and written about these players already, but you can’t deny their incredible chemistry. Add to the fact they have found the scoresheet in every contest this season. The biggest task for Vityaz will be to shut them down and try to make up their production with the top players of their own.
Getting that task will be Kirill Pavlov (57G, 22A) and Artem Perepelov (21G, 14A).
Pete’s Pick: I’m torn. On one hand, I want to see how far CSKA can take their win streak. On the other hand, for a team to finally beat them would be an exciting narrative. But it’s not about what I want, it’s what happens on the ice. Given CSKA’s ability to beat teams in any fashion, coupled with them having the two best forwards of their birth year, they complete the sweep. Vityaz doesn’t make it easy though in a 5-3 final.
Craig’s Pick: I do think we’ve seen just a little bit of complacency lately from the No. 1 team in Russia. That may not be the best word for it, but either opponents are throwing their absolute best at CSKA or, CSKA is taking its foot off the gas ever so slightly. Either way, I think this game is close, and Vityaz even possesses a lead at one point, thanks to players like Pavlov and Alexander Trofimov. Ultimately, CSKA’s win streak survives and they escape with a 4-3 win.
With group play entering its home stretch in Finland, No. 7 Jokerit Blue (17-10-2) and No. 9 Kiekko-Espoo EPS I (15-11-2) will look for some separation in the ‘09 Top 10 with a Sunday matchup.
|Sunday, March 12
It’s been an up-and-down stretch for both clubs in group play to this point. With neither team able to put together a consistent string of success, this matchup may be the jumping off point they both need to finish strong.
In this stage of group play, Luka Ahola and Wilmer Hämäläinen’s five goals and 11 points lead Jokerit, with Veeti Palomäki scoring five goals and 10 points for K-Espoo. Since the start of the season, both players have notched five-point games this season, with Palomäki accomplishing the feat twice.
Pete’s Pick: I’ve gone back and forth on this one for a bit, but in the end I think Jokerit pulls out a win. They’ve skated with slightly more consistency and have competed well against some of the bigger opponents of the group. If this gets into a goal scoring contest, they have the depth to get them over the finish line.
Craig’s Pick: I always like to look at shared opponents as a good measure for upcoming games. Jokerit and Kiekko-Espoo have played six of the same teams in the last six weeks. Against those teams, Kiekko-Espoo is 3-3-0, while Jokerit is 2-3-1. Slight lean toward KE EPS right? Wrong. Jokerit may have a slightly worse record in those games but showed way more compete with each of those six games being winnable. I’m going with Jokerit here, 6-3.
It’s a heavyweight tilt among the ‘08 Swedes when No. 1 Nacka HK (28-5-6) drops the puck with No. 3 Täby HC (25-11-4) this weekend.
|Sunday, March 12
Nacka enters this primetime bout winners of its last four. Täby is coming off a loss to Eskilstuna Linden Hockey in their last outing. In their last meeting back on Jan. 15, Nacka posted six goals en route to a 6-1 decisive victory. In that matchup, Oliver Sundberg, Mikael Kim and Arvid Ermeskog all collected multi-point performances. Sundberg stands as the team leader in overall points as well, and third scorer in group play with 13 goals and 15 points.
Finding the back of the net for Täby’s lone goal was team leader Mille Forslund, who has compiled nine goals and 18 points. Nacka held Forslund and his teammates to just 15 shots on goal, while they peppered Täby netminder Caspar Lampe with 33. Lampe has been one of the more solid goalies in the group, earning a 2.40 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. A testament to the impressive firepower from Nacka to get six past him.
Pete’s Pick: Täby’s defense didn’t have an answer for Nacka last time out, and I don’t think that changes here. While their goaltending numbers don’t jump off the page, that’s not a concern when your club is averaging 3.5 goals a game and have a plus-27 goal differential. Nacka takes another victory here, 5-1.
Craig’s Pick: Significant shot discrepancies always grab my attention. A more than 2-to-1 difference in their last meeting says a lot about how these two teams stack up. Nacka scored late on a power play and a penalty shot, which inflated the score a little bit last time out. I’ll take Täby to keep it closer than the first meeting, but Nacka is just too dominant, 4-2.
Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. We have some early matchups this week. Atlant Mytishchi and Spartak Moscow kick things off with an ‘09 Top-10 tilt on Monday. Toronto Marlboros and Toronto Jr. Canadiens tangle in a premier matchup between 2007s in Canada on Tuesday. The week concludes with TPS dropping the puck in an ‘08 meeting with Tappara Sininen on Saturday.
No. 1 Toronto Marlboros (54-10-0) have been one of the best 2007-born teams all season long. It is rare that they have an off night, let alone multiple ones against one particular team. The No. 10 Toronto Jr. Canadiens (42-11-4), however, have figured out a way to best the Marlboros twice this season.
|Tuesday, February 28 @ 8:15 PM EST
Herbert Carnegie Centre
With each side in full control of all aspects of their game, this one is shaping up to be a true heavyweight battle. There must be something in the water in Toronto, because the Jr. Canadiens and Marlboros can seemingly score at will. With goal differentials of plus-226 for the Marlboros and plus-122 for the Jr. Canadiens, it’s clear goals won’t be hard to come by.
The Marlboros will be out to prove that they deserve their No. 1 status, but another loss to the Jr. Canadiens could certainly place some doubt in fans’ minds. A third win for the Jr. Canadiens would be a very nice listing on their resume and may even have World Rankings implications further down the road.
Pete’s Pick: Probably the most even matchup out of the games we’ve highlighted this week, and it honestly could go either way. I think the Jr. Canadiens will put up a heck of a fight, but the added motivation from the Marlboros to not drop another decision to their fellow Toronto foe gives them the 4-3 win.
Craig’s Pick: The Marlies’ William Moore, Matheas Stark and Jaeden Nelson, and Jr. Canadiens Nico Addy will have to shift gears quickly. Saturday, they were teammates for Team Ontario at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Just three days later, they’re opponents in Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) play. Makes for an interesting dynamic in the fourth matchup of the season. I give the Marlies a significant edge, 5-2 to tie the season series two wins apiece.
No. 10 Atlant Mytishchi (22-11-1) will look to even up its season series against No. 4 Spartak Moscow (28-6-2) in the final regular season meeting on Monday. Each 2009-born club has alternated wins since the first game back on Oct. 2.
|Monday, February 27
Atlant had no answer for Spartak in a 7-1 defeat in its most recent outing on Christmas Day. With plenty of time to regroup after that loss, they have since gone 13-4-1. Recently, however, they had a five-game win streak snapped at the hands of No. 3 CSKA Moscow. Spartak had their own five-game winning streak ended over the weekend as well with a 3-2 overtime loss to CSKA.
Leading them into this tilt will be Artemy Laskavy (35G, 45A) and Gleb Zhukov (25G, 34A). In the three prior contests, Zhukov has tallied three goals and four points with Laskavy also adding one goal. Spartak will counter with Dmitry Pavlov (22G, 20A) and Daniil Savin (17G, 25A). Perhaps most impressive is that in the series, Pavlov and Savin have been held in check by Atlant, with most of the offense coming from other areas of the lineup. The two top scorers for Spartak have only recorded a combined five points.
Pete’s Pick: If the three previous games have shown anything, it’s that even when Spartak’s top players aren’t producing, they have the depth to more than make up for it. For that reason alone they come out on top in this one, 5-2.
Craig’s Pick: Savin has 17 points in his last 10 games, and Pavlov has 15 in his last nine. If they’ve been held in check in previous meetings, I don’t see it happening this week. Spartak’s tandem is playing well heading down the stretch, and I think they run away with this one, 5-2 as well.
In yet another rematch this week, No. 5 TPS (25-8-1) will look for revenge against No. 3 Tappara Sininen (25-4-5) in a Top-10 clash of ’08 Finnish teams.
|Saturday, March 4
The last time these sides laced up the skates against one another on Feb. 4, it was a long night for TPS and goaltender Sisu Timonen in a 5-1 loss. Timonen did his best in the crease, turning aside 41 shots. Surprisingly, the dynamic duo of Petteri Sakki and Miko Vatjus were not the main names on the scoresheet for Tappara. Those honors went to Benjamin Lehtinen and Oliver Raimovaara, who notched three and two points, respectively.
Despite limiting their damage, TPS will have to be wary of Vatjus (8G, 15A) and Sakki (10G, 12A), as both top the scorers list for the group. In order to combat that production, Paavo Fugleberg (11G, 9A) and Miro Aaltonen (11G, 4A) will do their best to get some pucks past Tappara’s defense. A more concentrated team effort in front of whoever tends the net for TPS will help as well.
Pete’s Pick: TPS will have to be much tighter as a unit to have any chance of coming away with a victory here. They struggled with Tappara’s depth last game, and Timonen did all he could, facing nearly 50 shots. While I don’t think it’s as big a gap as 5-1, Tappara takes another win here, 4-2. Special teams will be crucial, but watch out for Sakki and Vatjus. They have three shorthanded goals to their credit already.
Craig’s Pick: If giving up 46 shots was a rarity, I’d chalk it up as an anomaly for TPS. However, they’ve been outshot — and surrendering 30-plus in most games — in six of their last nine contests. You give a team like Tappara that many cracks at the net and they’re bound to make you pay. Petteri Saki, Miko Vatjus and company roll again for Tappara 5-1.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. Some of the best teams across youth hockey will be lacing up the skates this weekend. Täby HC will battle Södertälje SK in a Top-10 tilt on Tuesday. Calgary Edge School and Northern Alberta Xtreme tangle in a Top-10 matchup between 2008s in Canada. The week concludes with an all-Moscow matchup between Spartak and Dynamo. Then, an ‘07 Finnish clash between Jokerit and Ilves.
Isac Nilsson, top scorer for No. 1 Täby HC (27-2-2), will lead his squad into a matchup with fellow 2007-born Swedish team No. 5 Södertälje SK (18-9-5) on Tuesday.
|Tuesday, February 7
Throughout Täby’s 11 games in group play, Nilsson has tallied an astounding 16 goals and 27 points. A lethal option on the man advantage, he has struck for six points on the power play (4G, 2A). Nils Håkansson, with his team-leading 19 points, will look to aid the counter attack of SSK.
These two sides previously met back on Dec. 18, where Täby exploded for six goals in an eventual 6-2 victory. Nilsson was only held to one goal, but teammate Viggo Björck collected five points (2G, 3A).
Pete’s Pick: Much can be said about Nilsson and Björck, but SSK can’t forget to keep an eye on Theo Stockselius. He notched four points in the last outing between these two, and serves as a perfect complementary piece to the big trio for Täby. I expect all three players to have big performances in another win for their team.
Craig’s Pick: Täby is at the top for a reason! Södertälje might keep it close for a period and play inspired hockey. However, Täby just has too much top talent to overcome. They ultimately pull away in this one — like they did in the previous meeting — 6-2 finish again.
Two of the best teams in the CSSHL will take to the ice on Saturday when No. 17 Edge School (33-10-1) takes on No. 4 Northern Alberta Xtreme (33-1-0).
|Saturday, February 11 @ 11:00 AM MST
Kyle Stuart Memorial Arena
This matchup will be the fourth in the regular season series between the clubs, with the Xtreme taking the first three.
Cruz Pavao has been a revelation for Alberta, notching 51 points (22G, 29A) in league play. But it hasn’t been just the amount of points he has put up that proves his importance to his team. It’s the situations with which he finds the scoresheet. Collectively, Pavao has struck five times on the power play, once while shorthanded, and four goals have been game-winners.
The Xtreme’s premier forward is Tucker Tullikopf and his 14 goals and 41 points. However, the true reason for the Xtreme’s incredible record and current 16-game winning streak is between the pipes. Parker Snell and Taylor Raynard, who were featured in our deep dive into the best goalie tandems in youth hockey, are two of the best in their birth year at stopping pucks.
With a pristine 11-0-0 record in CSSHL contests, Snell has garnered a 1.26 goals-against average, .946 save percentage and four shutouts. Not to be outdone, Raynard has managed a 1.90 goals-against, .917 save percentage and 1 shutout. If you manage to score on either of them, keep the puck because it doesn’t happen often.
Pete’s Pick: You can point to the Xtreme’s explosive firepower – currently the team has a plus-172 goal differential – as the reason for them to win this tilt. Yet, I keep going back to the goaltending. It won’t matter who suits up for Xtreme in this one, as the team clearly has shown they are comfortable with either goalie. Xtreme win yet again in another close one, 3-1.
Craig’s Pick: I know it’s the last scheduled meeting, but these two are bound to clash at least one more time before the season ends. CSSHL playoffs are right around the corner! Edge will pull off an upset of NAX at some point, but I don’t see it being this week. Xtreme continue to their win streak with a 3-1 win.
After splitting the first two games of their season series, Spartak Moscow (19-4-2) and Dynamo Moscow (16-4-1) will aim for bragging rights when they battle this Sunday.
|Sunday, February 12
Dynamo took the first game, 4-3 in a shootout before Spartak evened the series 1-1 with a victory on Dec. 4. Spartak also will take a six-game win streak into this encounter. One thing we can count on is for the goals to continue in this series given the prolific talent on both rosters.
Silantiy Kozhushko (10G, 22A) and Daniil Dyachkov (14G, 13A) are a dynamic duo for Spartak. They will have to put their skills to the test against the best of Dynamo. Those spots are reserved to Bogdan Kiselev (14G, 17A) and Ivan Ryabkin (9G, 20A).
Pete’s Pick: This could go either way. Scoring for each team is pretty even, and they have played each other close in both previous games. I like Dynamo though to get it done and break Spartak’s streak in a 4-3 final.
Craig’s Pick: Most exciting matchup of the week! Neither Kiselev or Ryabkin got on the scoresheet in the last meeting. What happened? Dynamo lost to Spartak. They’re a tough tandem to subdue though and I’m not sure Spartak — or anyone, for that matter — can silence that line a second time. Kiselev scores, Ryabkin scores and Dynamo gets the win, 5-3.
For the first time in the next phase of group play, No. 4 Jokerit (26-10-0) will drop the puck against No. 7 Ilves (26-10-0) on Sunday.
|Sunday, February 12
Jalmari Melanen’s dynamic playmaking (3G, 12A) and the scoring of Jiko Laitinen (10G, 4A) have helped Ilves to a solid group play start. Rasmus Kämäräinen has bagged five goals and eight points for Jokerit. Lauri Kouhia is tied with him at eight points.
Pete’s Pick: I like the team depth for Ilves here, but the goaltending for Jokerit in the form of Pekka Korhonen could give them headaches. Statistically, he is the third-best goalie in their respective group with a .904 save percentage and 2.11 goals-against. I say he edges a win for Jokerit, 3-2.
Craig’s Pick: Ilves is balanced. Ilves is deep. Ilves has eight skaters averaging a point per game in SM-Series play. Jokerit may have a leg up in goaltending but Ilves has an offensive attack that’s just going to keep coming at you. I think they wear down Jokerit’s defenses and eventually pull away with a 3-1 win.
It’s a packed slate of games to watch this weekend. The Vaughan Kings battle Toronto Nationals in a Top-10 tilt on Monday. Tappara Sininen and TPS tangle in a Top-10 matchup between 2008s in Finland. The week concludes with a contest between Flemingsbergs IK and Transgunds. Then, a clash in Russia between CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
This tilt will be anything but cozy, as the No. 23 Toronto Nationals (34-12-3) will attempt to notch their first win against No. 13 Vaughan Kings (36-6-2) this season.
|Monday, January 30 @ 6:55 PM EST
Westwood Arena 2
In the previous two matchups, Vaughan skated away winners by scores of 5-4 and 4-0. The Nationals know they have the skill to compete with Vaughan, but it will be no easy task. The Kings come in winners of their last seven.
Keep an eye on the blue line for Toronto, as it will be tasked with shutting down one of the best offenses of any 2011-born team. Vaughan has an impressive plus-145 goal differential to date.
Pete’s Pick: While the first game between the two clubs was close, Vaughan showed there might just be more of a skill disparity here than meets the eye. That said, the Nationals will have some extra pep to try and finally nab a win. They will drop a close one, 4-2.
Craig’s Pick: Nats are 4-1-1 since their 4-0 loss to Vaughan earlier this month. And despite being unranked, they’ve actually fared alright against Top-10 opponents with a 5-4-1 record. This month alone, they beat No. 10 Oakville Rangers 4-0 and No. 9 Toronto Titans 5-1. I think the Nats have a good showing here, but ultimately Vaughan wins, 4-2.
No. 3 Tappara Sininen (22-2-5) and No. 5 TPS (21-6-0) should expect fireworks when the two drop the puck on Saturday.
|Saturday, February 4
Tappara has been unbeaten in six games since the continuation of group play for 2008-born teams began with the New Year. For TPS, it has been a bit of a slower start, settling for a 2-2-0 record in group play. This will be the first head-to-head battle between the two in their group setting.
Statistically, Tappara has been bringing the firepower. The top three point getters in the group all hail from the club. Jonatan Seppälä (5G, 10A), Eemil Mattanen (7G, 7A) and Jermu Myllä (6G, 7A) sit atop the leaderboard.
Attempting to counter that three-headed attack will be TPS’ Miro Aaltonen, who’s knack for finding the back of the net has shown strong. He has buried seven goals in just four games.
Pete’s Pick: These teams have played in some high-scoring games in group play this far, so offense will be a focal point. Tappara’s main players will get it done in this one, boosting them to a 5-2 win.
Craig’s Pick: Whatever the line is on total goals, take the over. I’m expecting a shootout north of eight goals scored in this one. I think that type of game favors Tappara and its high-powered offense. I’ll take the ‘Battle Axe’ to win 6-4.
No. 6 Sweden-ranked Trångsunds (10-3-4) will look to strengthen its resume when it faces off against No. 1 Flemingsbergs IK (33-3-4).
|Saturday, February 4
Back on Dec. 19, the two sides skated to a 3-3 tie. Flemingsbergs took a 3-1 lead into the second period before Trångsunds struck twice quickly at the start of the second frame to even the score.
Flemingsbergs has been one of the premier units for the better part of the last two months. Since Dec. 3, they are unbeaten in seven games.
Pete’s Pick: Flemingsbergs took its foot off the gas in the last tilt between these two. I don’t think they underestimate their opponent this time, taking a 4-2 final.
Craig’s Pick: Flemingsbergs may be the better team on paper, but I think Trångsunds proved a lot in that 3-3 tie. The ability to dig themselves out of a 3-0 deficit and outshoot FIK in the process shows they can compete. Players like Jonatan Tapper, Alexandros Tsioulis and Malte Olenius will be ready to prove themselves in the rematch, and get a 3-1 win for Trångsunds.
No. 2 CSKA Moscow (23-2-0) and No. 18 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (15-7-0) will break their stalemate in the season series. A third game this weekend will break the 1-1 tie between these ‘06 Russian teams.
|Sunday, February 5
Yaroslavl got the best of CSKA, 5-3, in the first matchup on Sept. 25. CSKA evened the series up with a 4-1 victory on Nov. 27. Alexei Elblaus and Vadim Dudorov stood out in the two games for Lokomotiv, registering four and three points, respectively. The two forwards are among the highest scorers for their squad. Dudorov has garnered 10 goals and 35 points to lead Lokomotiv, with Elblaus’ 20 points just behind.
Ivan Okunev had been the leader for CSKA all season long, currently with 44 points (21G, 23A).
Both teams have spent the entire 2022-23 season among the Top 10 in Russia.
Pete’s Pick: While Lokomotiv have put together a solid season, CSKA is just a notch above the rest of their birth year. Okunev is the real deal, and he single handedly could win this game for CSKA, but I like their depth better than that of Yaroslavl. CSKA goes up in the season series by the final whistle, 5-1.
Craig’s Pick: Lokomotiv is the only team in Russia with wins over the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the country. They’ve played opponents tough all season long. If — and it might be a big if — Lokomotiv can keep Okunev at bay, they just might steal another upset. Lokomotiv with another upset, 4-3.
Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey.
Two of the top 2009-born teams in Sweden kick off our slate of games to watch this week. Djurgårdens IF battles Södertälje SK on Thursday in a Top-10 tilt. Mississauga Rebels and Toronto Jr. Canadiens tangle in a Top-10 matchup between 2007s in Canada. The week concludes with a weekend series between Chicago Mission and Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Then, a clash in Finland between Kärpät Musta and Kärpät Valkoinen.
After suffering a 6-0 defeat to No. 3 Djurgårdens IF (26-12-7) on Dec. 1, No. 5 Södertälje SK (13-5-6) now has plans for avenging that loss when the two 2008-born opponents meet this week.
|Thursday, January 26
In order to do so, however, the dynamic duo of Lexus Zahn (9G, 7A) and Nick Travergård (8G, 8A) will need to be stopped. Both players not only lead Djurgårdens in points, but sit atop their group table in scoring as well. They have been key catalysts to the team’s current eight-game unbeaten stretch.
In the 6-0 outing, Zahn and Travergård each collected three points, showing that they are the true play drivers for the club when it comes to offensive zone time. Patric Hellström and Lucas Brauer will have to step up for Södertälje if there is any chance of emerging victorious. Their dependable, two-way approach to the game has paid dividends, allowing them to record 10 and nine points, respectively.
Pete’s Pick: I don’t expect another blowout for Djurgårdens, but I do believe they will nab the win here for the second time against their group foe. I chalk that loss up to Södertälje still finding its footing as a team. Since then, they have put up numbers against the top Sweden teams.
Craig’s Pick: I’m a Zahn and Travergård fan here too. Södertälje comes out of the gate strong, and maybe even holds onto a lead early. However, Djurgårdens top tandem is too much to overcome. I’ll take DIF 4-2 in a close one.
No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s (39-2-2) will wrap up their season series with No. 11 Chicago Mission (25-12-5) this weekend. It will be the second time the two squads will have battled in close to a week. On Jan. 20, Shattuck defeated Chicago 4-1.
|Saturday, January 28 @ 4:10 PM CST
Fifth Third Arena
All games thus far have been tightly contested. With both programs occupying Top 10 spots in the U.S. for the majority of the season, no one was really expecting anything less. What will ultimately settle these final games will be the big blueliners of Chicago taking away space from Shattuck’s frightening attack. All six of Mission’s defensemen are either close to or over six feet, with three also weighing in at 170 lbs.
Granted, Shattuck will have a gameplan to work around this fact given the familiarity between both rosters. However, it does not make the feat of actually dealing with players of that size on the ice any easier.
Ryker Lee and Jack Galanek have been revelations for Shattuck, as they have collected 155 points between themselves. John Delaney was a standout for Chicago in the last two-game series, totaling three points (1G, 2A).
Pete’s Pick: These will be two more close games, with Mission wanting to prove they have what it takes to skate with the truly premier talent of their birth year. Despite being on home ice, which should give them some extra jump, I still think Shattuck skates away with two wins.
Craig’s Pick: I like Shattuck as well. They’re unbeaten in their last 27 outings, and winners of 19 of their last 20. Mission managed a 4-4 tie back in December, jumping out to a 4-0 lead before Shattuck rallied from behind. I don’t see Shattuck playing from a deficit again — at least not by four goals — so I’ll take the Sabres as winners in both games.
The No. 20 Mississauga Rebels (28-8-9) will try to finally get in the win column against the No. 9 Toronto Jr. Canadiens (34-8-3) in their third game of the season on Sunday.
|Sunday, January 29 @ 2:15 PM EST
Scotiabank Pond 4
After skating to a 2-2 tie in their first tilt back in October, the Jr. Canadiens bested the Rebels 5-3 on Dec. 17. Unbeaten in their last four outings, Mississauga will aim to end Toronto’s impressive 12 game unbeaten streak. While on paper this may be looking like a David versus Goliath meeting between two ‘07 programs, Mississauga has held their own against some Top 10 teams in Canada. A highlight of their season was edging out No. 1 Toronto Marlboros, 2-1 in the early weeks of the schedule.
Pete’s Pick: Mississauga has given some top teams headaches this season, and this game shouldn’t be any different. But talent-wise, the Jr. Canadiens hold a significant advantage, and they take this one 4-1.
Craig’s Pick: Jr. Canadiens are the better overall team, but Mississauga to me appears to be a more consistent bunch. You know what you’re going to get from this group on a nightly basis. Toronto can run a bit hot and cold, and may very well come out firing. However, I’m gonna take the Rebels’ consistent approach, as they catch the Jr. Canadiens on an off night. Rebs run 3-2 in this one.
With the continuation series well underway in the next stage of group play in Finland, two 2009 programs prepare to continue their season series. Currently up 2-1 after three games, No. 7 Kärpät Valkoinen (19-4-1) will hope to squash No. 9 Kärpät Musta’s (19-3-2) attempt to even the season series on Sunday.
|Sunday, January 28
It is a crucial time to be playing the best hockey of the season, and that is the case for these programs. Each is off to a 4-0-0 start in the continuation series of group play. All signs are pointing to fireworks when they clash.
Offense will be on full display in this meeting. At the end of the initial group stage, the two leading scorers hailed from these clubs. Musta’s Joona Väkeväinen totaled 27 goals and 49 points, with Valkoinen’s Niklas Helppi 31 goals and 44 points close behind. Both players have picked up where they left off just a few games into the next batch of group games. In two games, each player has recorded nine points. Kantola Leevi of Musta leads all skaters with 12 points.
Pete’s Pick: I’m inclined to go with Valkoinen here, but I think Leevi’s performance to begin the next stage of group play will get them over the hill and even the season series up. Musta takes a 3-2 final.
Craig’s Pick: I gotta imagine games like these are so exciting for Kärpät — and other clubs that divvy up players into multiple rosters — when you field two teams, and they’re uber competitive and evenly matched head-to-head. In the spirit of good competition, I like Musta to even the season series as well.
Each week, World Hockey Hub highlights a few of the most exciting upcoming games in youth hockey. Two of the top 2007-born teams in the U.S. kick off our slate of games to watch this week. Shattuck-St. Mary’s plays host to Little Caesars on Friday in a Top-25 tilt. The next day, Dynamo Moscow and Dynamo Spartak tangle in a Top-10 matchup between 2010s in Russia. The week concludes with a double-header on Sunday. First, a matchup in Sweden between Nacka and Täby. Then, a clash in Canada between Toronto Jr. Canadiens and Don Mills Flyers.
2007-born No. 15 Shattuck-St. Mary’s (24-10-3) will kick off the second half of its 2022-23 season with a three-game set against No. 2 Little Caesars (47-3-2).
|Friday, January 13 @ 7:00 PM MST
Shattuck-St. Mary’s Ice Arena
Caesars likes to score…a lot. With a plus-189 goal differential, it has been nearly impossible for any team to slow down their offense. As a result, this series will come down to the ability of SSM’s goaltending to keep the puck out of the net.
Grayson Hanggi and Garrett Glaser have pretty much split duties between the pipes this season. Glaser has seen action in 19 games compared to Hanggi’s 18. The stat lines for both are also similar. Hanggi has compiled a 11-5-2 record, with a 2.12 goals-against average and .906 save percentage with two shutouts. Glaser is 13-5-1, with a 2.02 goals-against and 9.19 save percentage, with three shutouts.
Both should see action across the three games, and are preparing to face massive amounts of rubber thrown their way from the Motor City boys.
Before the long holiday layoff, Shattuck took two out of three against the No. 10 U.S.-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite.
Pete’s Pick: To come out of a holiday break against the top team in your birth year is a daunting task for anyone. And Caesars just hasn’t lost that often. Just their third loss all season came against the Toronto Marlboros at the Marlies Holiday Classic. It might take a game or two for Shattuck to shake off the rust as well. Pulling off a sweep is tough no matter how talented a team is, so I will give SSM the chance to take one game, but Little Caesars takes the series, 2-1.
Craig’s Pick: Shattuck has only lost three games at home all season. Lots of teams at every age group have traveled to Faribault, Minnesota, to take on the Sabres, just to fall in defeat. It’s a tough barn to win in. However, I actually think Caesars does it not once, not twice, but three times this weekend. LC may be the pound-for-pound best youth hockey team in America. There’s multiple high-level prospects on this team, and I don’t know that anyone in the country can compete with them right now. Series sweep for Caesars.
No. 8 Nacka HK (19-4-4) and its leading scorer Oliver Sundberg will face fellow ‘08 Swedish foe No. 12 IFK Täby HC (21-6-1) on Sunday.
|Sunday, January 15
Sundberg has put up six goals and seven points thus far into group play. Trying to counteract that production will be Max Johanssén of Täby, who currently sits at five goals and eight points.
Those two will try to fill the back of the net, but will have to contend with two of the best goalies in order to do so.
Statistically, Täby’s David Eriksson and Nacka’s Gustav Stengård are the second and third best goalies of their birth year in Sweden, respectively. The numbers for each jump right off the stat sheet. Eriksson has gone 2-1-0, with a 1.67 goals-against and.924 save percentage. Stengård has manned the crease for five games, going 3-1-1 with a 1.42 goals-against and .916 save percentage.
It will be the first time these two teams will meet since Täby bested Nacka, 2-1 in the semifinals at the Folke Filbyter Cup back in October. In that game, Stengard started for Nacka, making 38 saves on 40 shots. Caspar Lampe was the goaltender for Täby.
Pete’s Pick: Given the talent in net for this one, I expect a hard-fought, low scoring game. With each goalie knowing who is on the other end of the ice, the ability to make the necessary saves will be paramount. Stengard and Nacka get the best of Täby in the revenge game, 3-1.
Craig’s Pick: These two clubs are very evenly matched. They follow one another in our World Rankings, and they’ve played each other to one-goal games this season. Viggo Björck scored a pair of goals in their October matchup to give Täby the 2-1 win. I think the outcome again rests on his shoulders. Björck gets on the scoresheet, Täby wins (again). Nacka holds him at bay, and they win. Björck and Täby to win again, this time by a 4-2 finish.
For the fourth time this season, No. 1 Toronto Jr. Canadiens (32-8-1) will lace up the skates against No. 3 Don Mills Flyers (38-4-4) eager to tie the season series up.
|Sunday, January 15 @ 1:55 PM EST
Scotiabank Pond 1
The Flyers have gotten the better of the Jr. Canadiens in the first two matchups of the season, by scores of 5-2 and 4-1. In their most recent battle on Dec. 13, Toronto shut out the Flyers, 3-0. Each club has put up at least 150 goals to date, and has not allowed more than 50. With tight defensive units and potent offenses, one of them is bound to cancel the other out.
With the Flyers entering the contest unbeaten in their last nine and the Jr. Canadiens winners of four straight, fans can expect the very best from each team as they hope to continue their success into the start of the New Year.
Pete’s Pick: While the Flyers have been playing stronger competition as of late and getting wins, I think the Jr. Canadiens come out with a little extra fire wanting to tie up the season series. They take a high-scoring 4-3 final.
Craig’s Pick: I wouldn’t wanna face either of these teams at the moment. They’re No. 1 and No. 2 in Canada for good reason. The Jr. Canadiens have suffocated just about every opposing offense they’ve faced… Except one. Don Mills is one of two teams this season to score four or more goals on the Jr. Canadiens, and they’ve done it twice. The Flyers might not tally four goals, but I do think they win. I’m feeling a 3-2 finish here.
No. 10 Dynamo Moscow (15-9-0) hopes to finally end up in the win column in their third game against No. 5 Spartak Moscow (31-7-0) this weekend. Spartak has won the previous two matchups, outscoring Dynamo 11-6.
Saturday, January 14
Despite not being able to keep the high-octane attack of Spartak in check in their first outing, Dynamo kept things close in a 5-4 loss on Oct. 22. In that game, Spartak’s leading scorer Artem Korolev got the scoring started in what was a back-and-forth contest all game. For any hope of getting their first win of the season against Spartak, Dynamo will have to contain Korolev’s insane production, currently at 38 goals and 74 points.
Arseniy Rychagov (5G, 14A) and Yegor Groza (5G, 9A) will try to combine their efforts to boost Dynamo.
Pete’s Pick: Spartak has simply been one of the more dominant Russian squads of their birth year, and I don’t expect them to drop this result. They handle Dynamo in a 4-1 win.
Craig’s Pick: Eleven goals against in their previous two games. For Dynamo Moscow to win, they’ve got to do something they haven’t done yet. Stop — or even just slow down — Spartak’s offensive attack. I believe Dynamo can trade goals with Spartak; they’ve done it already this season. However, that also proved to be an ineffective approach. I just don’t think Dynamo is strong enough defensively to beat Spartak here. I’m gonna roll with the favorite to win its third game of the season series.
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. This week’s action features plenty of international matchups from tournaments like Champions League in Florida, Marlboros Holiday Classic in Ontario and Folke Lindström Cup in Sweden.
There will be plenty of first-time meetings and intriguing matchups when play begins at the second-annual Champions League in Coral Springs, Florida, this Wednesday. Eight 2009-born teams from Europe and North America will take to the ice in the hopes of being crowned champions.
Day one will see one of the premier teams in Slovakia, HC Slovan, going up against Tappara.
|Wednesday, December 28 @ 5:45 PM EST
Pete’s Pick: This will pit top talent against top talent, with both programs being popular names in their respective countries. Tappara mainly has their players divided into different squads throughout group play, such as Tappara Sininen, Tappara Musta etc. Bringing the “cream of the crop” onto one team to go against the best from other European teams should be a recipe for success. I expect high offense and both goaltenders for each side to be working overtime in this one, an eventual 5-4 win for Tappara.
Craig’s Pick: I’m very curious to see how the Finns stack up in this international tournament. Last year, Kiekko went 0-6-0 as the lone representative in the event from Finland. I think Tappara — and Kiekko in its return trip to the tournament — fares better this time around. However, I like Slovan to win the matchup here in a scrappy one, 4-2.
On the second day of action, Mountfield HK will battle Kiekko-Espoo in a game that is sure to keep the scorekeepers busy. Mountfield enters competition as one of the best youth hockey teams in the Czech Republic. Countering their top-tier talent will be a roster full of the best Finland has to offer.
|Thursday, December 29 @ 8:00 AM EST
Pete’s Pick: Kiekko-Espoo Blues I and II hold down the top two spots in the Top 10 of ‘09 Finnish teams. Compiling a team of the best players from those two rosters, as well as No. 8 K-Espoo EPS 1, and you are bound for success. If K-Espoo brings even just half the top scorers that make up those blues teams, Mountfield is in for a long morning. With both offenses possibly canceling each other out, this one will come down to goaltending. K-Espoo wins in a high-scoring 5-4 affair.
Craig’s Pick: The Czechs typically tend to play a balanced style of hockey between skill and toughness. Kiekko-Espoo may out-skill Mountfield in this matchup, but the Czechs are just a little bit grittier here. I’ll take Mountfield in a 3-2, grind-it-out type of game.
From Dec. 27 – 29th, 2008-born teams will take part in the 2022 Folke Lindström Cup. Some of the very best the country — and birth year — has to offer will be in action, as four clubs in the Top 10 will take to the ice.
Overall, 10 teams will be split into two groups of five. Group A houses most of the premier teams like No. 5 Boo Hockey, No. 7 Djurgärdens IF, and No. 9 Mälmo Redhawks. The only ranked team in Group B is No. 6 Mäläro Hockey.
Flemingsbergs IK and Rögle BK — two bubble teams — will also be participants in group A and B, respectively. A strong performance by either could increase their chances of cracking the Top 10.
Here are a few matchups to keep an eye on this week…
Pete’s Pick: Back on Dec. 8, Boo edged out a 2-1 win over their current group opponent Djurgärdens. There is sure to be some carry over from that tilt, with the latter club wanting to get revenge for the loss. These two teams are the second game of the first day of the tournament, so early fireworks are to be expected. The winner in this one could get a nice boost in confidence for the rest of the tournament. Djurgärdens brings two of the top leading scorers in group play into the contest, Nick Travergård and Lexus Zahn. They nab a win in this one, 3-2.
Craig’s Pick: Boo has won both games against Djurgärdens this season, albeit by one goal each time. However, they outshot DIF by a noticeable margin both times and Leon Andersson backstopped them to victory in September and again two weeks ago. Djurgärdens has to go prove to me they can get pucks past Andersson. Until I see it, I’m riding with Boo by a 3-1 finish. Also, keep an eye out for forward Dante Islercelik. He’s got an assist in four of Boo’s last five games and factored in on three of the team’s five total goals against DIF this season.
Keeping things on day one of the schedule, Boo has their second game against Flemingsbergs.
Pete’s Pick: With this being both team’s second game of the day, this one will come down to whoever finds that last bit of energy in their legs. Flemingsbergs is off to a 6-0-0 start to their group, and come into the tournament feeling good about their game. Sharing a division with a split squad of Boo, there will be some familiarity between the two programs in regards to who they see on the ice. While a full squad of Boo’s top players may put up more of a fight, I expect Flemingsbergs to skate away with the victory here, 5-2.
Craig’s Pick: Yea, I like Flemingsbergs here too. They just beat Boo a week ago 6-3 in Group Play. While it was a split squad for Boo, it still featured names like Leon Andersson, Dante Islercelik, Erik Lanestrand and at least six other players that will also be skating in the Lindstrom Cup this week. Flemingsbergs for the win, but I don’t think they put up six goals a second time, 3-2 final.
For a full schedule and results of the tournament games, click HERE.
The Toronto Marlboros will be heating up the holiday season with their annual Marlboros Holiday Classic. Teams from the 2007 to 2010 birth years will be in attendance.
And with a tournament of this size, there are bound to be some exciting cross-border matchups that should keep fans on the edges of their seats.
First up from the 2007 birth year is a U16 contest between No. 8 U.S.-ranked Buffalo Jr. Sabres vs. Canadian No. 4-ranked Don Mills Flyers.
Pete’s Pick: Here’s the most interesting thing about this matchup…neither team has played an opponent on the other side of their border this season. With no previous head-to-head matchups, these two programs enter this one with some uncertainty about their foe. Things might start slow in a feeling-out process, but once the competitive juices get flowing, the fun will begin. This one could be decided by the flip of a coin, but give me Don Mills taking the win, 4-2.
Craig’s Pick: The Jr. Sabres have lost eight of their last 10, and four have been to teams ranked ahead of them in the U.S. Rankings. They desperately need to get back on track, and I think they could rack up a couple wins in the tournament. I just don’t think it happens here against DMF. I’ll take the Flyers 4-1, with a strong showing in this matchup and the tournament as a whole.
In the 2009 birth year, No. 8 Canadian-ranked Huron–Perth Lakers square up against Ottawa Myers Automotive. It will be the second time the two sides will battle, with the Lakers emerging victorious in a 3-1 game back on Nov. 27.
Pete’s Pick: I expect Ottawa to play hard in this one, as they are sitting as one of the bubble teams just outside the Top 10. Like many teams across the tournaments listed here, a strong showing could do wonders for their position moving forward not only in HEO play, but in the world rankings as well. A fact that will not be lost on these players. It will be close and hard fought, but the Lakers snag a second victory, 4-1.
Craig’s Pick: Huron-Perth has proved to be the better of the two teams for the majority of this season. They proved so back in November, and I think they do so again here. Andrew Menlove and Vaughn Barr have a combined 1.65 goals-against average this season, and gave up just one goal to Ottawa Myers last time out. That tandem should force multiple offenses to struggle this weekend, and help HP to another 3-1 win.
Stay up to date on the latest scores and information about the Marlboros Holiday Classic HERE.
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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.
This week’s matchups have a recurring trend: revisiting exciting matchups from earlier in the season. The No. 4 Toronto Titans (26-3-4) will face off against the No. 10 Toronto Marlboros (26-7-3) on Friday for the second time.
|Friday, December 23 @ 8:40 PM ET
Etobicoke Ice Sports 3
Back on Nov. 7, the two sides skated to a 2-2 draw. Using that result as a springboard, the Titans would go on to win their next seven games before falling 4-1 to No. 10 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Following that loss, they are back on a current five-game unbeaten streak.
The Marlboros are riding high on a 12-game winning streak, with six of them coming during a championship run of the U14 division at the 2022 Vaughan Kings Classic.
With each program feeling good about its game, this is one of the more intriguing games to keep an eye on. Both love to pile the pucks in the net, while not giving much in their own defensive ends. Substantial goal differentials will be brought to the table as well; plus-83 for the Titans and plus-74 or the Marlboros.
Pete’s Pick: You can’t get much closer than these two teams, and this was the hardest one to try and figure who comes out on top. Despite probably still feeling good about that gold medal from the Vaughan Classic, the Titans have had a tougher schedule the past few weeks and have come out relatively unscathed. It will be a nailbiter, but they edge out a 3-2 win.
Craig’s Pick: Such a tough matchup. These are two teams that religiously show up every single time. You don’t see the Marlboros getting run out of the rink this season and the Titans’ worst outing is a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. They both just battle and compete hard, and I expect this matchup to be as close as the first. Give me the Titans by the thinnest of margins.
World-ranked No. 17 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (11-6-0) will look to get revenge on No. 7 Krylia Sovetov (13-5-1) for a 6-3 loss they suffered back on Oct. 23. The teams will meet for the second game of their season series on Christmas Day.
|Sunday, December 25
The mood, however, will be anything but merry.
And Lokomotiv will be feeling good about themselves, coming in fresh off a 4-2 win against No. 4 Spartak Moscow.
Vitaly Korolyuk (7G, 12A) and Ivan Kirilin (14G, 4A) lead Krylia Sovetov’s production. Both showed how hard their strong offensive game is able to contain as they each garnered a goal and assist in the 6-3 victory.
In an attempt to counter, Lokomotiv will continue to rely on Vadim Dudorov (5G, 18A) and Andrey Elezov (10G, 8A). The team’s third-leading scorer, Alexey Elblaus (7G, 9A), was held to just one assist by Krylia’s stifling defense.
Pete’s Pick: I think that Krylia has a bit more firepower throughout their lineup as demonstrated in their last win vs. Lokomotiv. I expect them to nab a second win in the season series, in a much closer 5-4 game.
Craig’s Pick: Both goaltenders for Krylia are solid. Ivan Shantsev was in net for the 6-3 win, so he’s already proven he can lead Krylia to victory over Lokomotiv. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Vladimir Pechenin get the nod either, as he’s coming off a strong performance against No. 1-ranked CSKA Moscow in a 3-2 overtime loss. Either way, I think goaltending is good enough to get Krylia the dub.
No. 4 Dynamo Moscow (12-4-0) hopes that a meeting with No. 5 CSKA Moscow (10-4-2) will solidify their spot in not only the Russian Top 10 but also in the Top 25 World Rankings.
|Thursday, December 22
It has been a split season series thus far, with each team having a 5-2 win in their pocket. After squaring off in their first two tilts in August and September, they have not faced each other since. Thursday’s matchup will be an opportunity to rekindle old feelings in what will surely be an emotional game.
For Dynamo, Mikhail Melikov (2G, 1A) and David Dubinin (1G, 2A) have led the way in the previous contests. In total on the season, Melikov has collected 17 goals and 30 points. Dubinin has tallied seven goals and 15 points. Danil Shishkin, the team’s third leading scorer with four goals and 14 points, has been held relatively quiet.
CSKA’s big three on offense have been showing up on the scoresheet. Roman Risvanov (22G, 6A) and Nikita Esipov (6G, 22A) each have 28 points. Nikita Mikhailov, who has found the back of the net three times in the previous two games vs. Dynamo has tallied seven goals and 12 points this season.
Pete’s Pick: With both sides pretty much even on offense, I think this one comes down to goaltending. German Dobrovolsky backstopped Dynamo in the first game and they went with Kirill Golubev in game 2. CSKA will most likely continue to roll with Petr Andreyanov between the pipes, as he has started both games prior. Going back to Dobrovolsky will give Dynamo a little extra boost in confidence to take a 4-2 win.
Craig’s Pick: The ‘Big 3’ get it done for CSKA. Risvanov and Esipov in particular have been playing great hockey. Both are coming off strong showings at the Federal District Championships last month that featured top players in the country. I like CSKA convincingly, 5-2.