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.
Shattuck, Caesars Meet in ‘07 Top 25 Clash
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.
Nacka looks for separation from Täby
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.
‘09 Jr. Canadiens look to even season series vs. Don Mills
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.
‘10 Moscow showdown between Spartak, Dynamo
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.