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.
Nilsson aims to collect more points in ‘07 meeting with Södertälje
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.
Edge, Xtreme collide in ‘08 Western Canada showdown
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.
Spartak, Dynamo look for separation among ‘06 Russian standings
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.
Jokerit, Ilves clash in ‘07 Finnish group play
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.
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