Compuware rises in the ‘06 and ‘07 U.S. rankings

People should get used to seeing Compuware amongst the best the U.S. has to offer in youth hockey. With a solid showing since our last rankings release, the 2006 and 2007-born squads for the Plymouth, Michigan program have both entered the chat for the World Rankings

Ranked No. 16 in the world among ‘06 teams, Compuware (20-7-2) is on a five-game winning streak dating back to Nov. 20. Most notably included in this stretch were two key victories over No. 10 Chicago Mission and No. 19 Windy City Storm.

John Delverne led the way for Compuware, tallying a goal and two assists in regulation. His second assist would be on the game-tying goal by Cameron Springer halfway through the third period. After a scoreless overtime, the stage was set for Luke Osburn, who netted the only goal in the shootout to cement the win. 

On a seven-game win streak of their own, the No.10 U.S.-ranked ‘07 Compuware team (20-12-0) outscored the Cleveland Barons, Belle Tire and Fox Motors 13-2. With a focus on offense for both birth years, the ‘06 unit has a plus-65 goal differential compared to the plus-45 differential for the ‘07 squad. 

‘08 KalPa returns to Top 10

KalPa Keltainen bested KalPa Musta (16-4-2) 8-0 back on Oct. 27. For the top two teams of their group among 2008-born Finnish clubs, most were expecting a more even matchup. 

On Nov. 24, the two sides met for a rematch that would see Musta avenging that October defeat with a 6-3 win. They have also used that previous loss as a stepping stone for their current nine-game winning streak. That streak, coupled with the victory over Keltainen, slotted them back into the Top 10 in Finland. 

Even more impressive was the defensive effort by Musta to keep the top three scorers of the group — all from Keltainen — from doing major damage on the scoresheet. Holding the top offensive players from nine teams to just four points (1G, 3A) is a solid day’s work. 

It will be a dogfight to finish atop the group as the season rolls along, and we are more than curious to see how things shake out when the dust settles. 

‘09 Huron-Perth, As de Quebec enter ‘09 conversation

With a stellar record of 7-1-0 over their last eight games, the ‘09 Huron-Perth Lakers (25-6-1) have made enough noise to place them back into the Top 10 among Canadian teams at No. 9. Overcoming opponents such as the No. 10 Toronto Marlboros, Ottawa Myers Automotive and Oakville Rangers, their lone blemish was a 2-0 loss to No. 1 Don Mills Flyers

Heading into that eventual loss, the Lakers were unbeaten in their last eight contests. Rebounding quite nicely, they have gotten back in the win column with defeats of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers and Hamilton Huskies

Shifting focus to Quebec, No. 14 As de Quèbec (19-3-2) is a fresh face not only in the Canadian rankings, but the world rankings as well. With an incredible 15-game winning streak ended on Nov. 27, they will look to get back on track against Blizzard AAA on Dec. 10. 

Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 200, 2010 and 2011 birth years.

Moscow wins two of three national tournaments in Russia; Central takes U15

The Russian Federal District Championships concluded over the weekend. The annual tournament features all-star teams from seven of the country’s districts (Central, Far Eastern, Northwestern, Privolzhsky, Ural, Siberia, Southern), its two major cities (Moscow and St. Petersburg) and an honorary member from Belarus. Separate tournaments are held at the U14, U15 and U16 age groups.

The tournament is similar in structure to that of TV-Pucken in Sweden or the Youth Olympic Games in Canada. It has a Little League World Series feel to it as teams represent the various regions of the country. Top youth hockey players from several winter clubs are selected in an all-star team type of way. For instance, players from Dynamo Moscow and CSKA Moscow clash repeatedly throughout the winter season. However, for a 10-day stretch each November, they set their rivalries aside to represent Moscow on the national stage. Similar situations occur in St. Petersburg and throughout the other districts in the tournament field.

Moscow Finally Makes it Past St. Petersburg

In the previous two ‘07 Federal District Championships, Moscow came up just short both times at the hands of St. Petersburg. In 2020, Moscow’s lone loss in the U14 tournament was a 5-3 decision to eventual champion St. Petersburg. Again in 2021, the two clashed on the final day of the U15 tournament, and again St. Petersburg was victorious 7-4.

In the 2007 birth year’s third and final Federal District Championship tournament, Moscow finally broke through. Not only did they knock off St. Petersburg 4-3 in the semifinal, they won big over the Central District to win tournament gold.

After losing on the opening day of the tournament to Siberian District, Moscow went on to win its next six games by an average margin of victory of 4.6 goals. Ivan Ryabkin and Ivan Arkhipov led the way offensively for Moscow. Both have been standout forwards this season for the No. 2-ranked team in the world, Dynamo Moscow. Ryabkin has 22 points in 11 games and Arkhipov has 18 points in 15 games.

At the tournament, they continued that success. Ryabkin recorded at least one point in every game of the tournament. Additionally, Arkhipov posted multi-point games against Belarus, Northwestern and Central. 

While it was the first time Moscow won the 2007-born Federal District Championship, the district had won the U16 tournament twice in the past four years. The ‘06s won it last year, and the ‘03s won in 2018. 

Secondary Scoring in the Semifinal

While heavy hitters like Ryabkin and Arkhipov helped get Moscow to the final four, it was depth players that ultimately exorcized their tournament demons. 

Mikhail Melikov put Moscow on the board first with a strong move to the net and a follow-up attempt on his own rebound. After back-to-back goals by St. Petersburg gave them the lead, it was Nikita Esipov who tied it back up at 2-2.

Before the end of the second period, though, St. Petersburg would regain the lead for the second time.

With 11:43 left in regulation, Ryabkin won an offensive-zone face-off cleanly back to Roman Rizvanov. Rizvanov — who had several scoring chances throughout the game — quickly corralled the puck and fired it into the net before goaltender Victor Levchenko could react.The game headed into the late stages tied at 3-3.

Just over a minute later, Esipov carried into the zone, cut into the slot and sent a backhand shot over Levchenko’s shoulder to give Moscow the 4-3 lead. Esipov only had one goal in pool play, yet came up with two huge tallies when Moscow needed it most. They would hold onto that lead down the stretch to ultimately eliminate St. Petersburg and advance to the championship.

Central District Dominates Field of ‘08s

A district that includes the country’s capital city of Moscow does not actually pull players from the city limits itself. Moscow — and St. Petersburg, for that matter — fields its own team in the tournament. So, the Central District pulls the majority of its players from surrounding programs like Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (10), Vityaz Podolsk (eight) and Mikhailov Academy (five). All three of those programs are ranked among the top 10 teams in Russia. Players like Victor Fedorov, Matvey Kotkov and Nikita Daryavin showed just why their winter season clubs are ranked so highly. 

The Central District went 5-1-0 in group play, with the lone loss coming 3-1 against Moscow in the second game of action. Finishing atop Group B, Central earned a first-round bye and top seed in the elimination rounds, along with the Ural Federal District on the other side of the bracket.

In the quarterfinals, Central put a hurting on the Southern District 10-4, scoring three unanswered goals three different times. The semifinals followed a similar pattern, as Central thumped St. Petersburg 9-2, with seven different players recording a goal.

Chalk eventually won out in the bracket, as the top team in Group A, Ural, moved on to meet the top team in Group B, Central. However, in a matchup of best on best, Central still proved to be dominant with an 8-3 win in the final.

Alexey Vlasov Tops All Skaters

Fedorov finished as the leading scorer for Central with five goals and 12 points. However, SKA-Yunost Yekaterinburg forward Alexey Vlasov led all skaters in the tournament with 14 points while representing the Ural District. Vlasov opened up the tournament with a five-point performance against the Southern District. He quickly added a hat trick in a win over Far-Eastern District the next day. Then, Vlasov closed out the tournament with five points in Ural’s last two games against Belarus and Privolzhsky District.

While he may have trailed Vlasov in points, Fedorov did prove to be the only skater to tally a point in every game. He factored in on 35 percent of the team’s offensive in the tournament. 

Ural District’s Nikita Fedotov led all defensemen in points with seven. All of those came in the form of assists, as he distributed the puck well to produce offense. In fact, Fedotov tallied three assists in Ural’s 4-3 win over Privolzhsky District, setting up the game-tying goal and game-winning goal 10 minutes apart.

Moscow’s Vladimir Selivanov and Central’s Dmitry Borichev had matching 1.54 goals-against averages. Selivanov has played 15 games this season for world-ranked No. 16 Dynamo Moscow; they are 8-7-1 overall. Borichev backed Central in all five of the seven tournament games. He’s allowed a total of 18 goals in 10 games this season between the Federal District Championships and his regular-season action with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Moscow Wins For First Time In Five Years

The Moscow District, while one of the most dominant hockey regions in the country, had not won a Federal District Championship at the U14 age level since 2018 when the ‘05s won. Undefeated throughout the entire tournament, Moscow District out-scored its opponents 49-6 in group play. Moscow produced seven of the top 10 scorers in the tournament. Nazar Privalov and Dmitry Savin led the way with 13 and 12 points apiece. They were bested only by Sergei Skvortsov of the Privolzhsky District, who produced 14 points. 

Moscow’s depth was on full display, with Artem Mishin, Bogdan Vasilevsky and Daniil Ermolov helped propel Moscow to dominant wins over the Southern District, Ural District and Far-Eastern District. Moscow, along with the Central District, finished as the top two seeds for the playoffs after pool play.

Once there, Moscow continued its dominance with a 10-1 win over Siberia in the quarterfinals. In the final four, Moscow faced the Ural District — a team it had beaten 8-1 five days earlier. Victorious in the rematch, it set the stage for a championship game of best on best, as the top team from Group A finally clashed with the top team from Group B. Moscow capped off its impressive performance with its eighth victory of the week over Central District, and most importantly, a Russian national championship.

Daniil Martynov — who plays for world-ranked No. 3 CSKA Moscow during the regular season — earned best goaltender of the tournament. His CSKA teammate Nazar Privalov was named top forward of the tournament after scoring five goals and 13 points. Artem Mate was awarded top defenseman honors and will return to action for No. 4-ranked Spartak Moscow this weekend. 

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Top ‘06 American teams meet for first time this season

When looking across the premier youth hockey teams in the United States, two names that pop up frequently are Shattuck-St. Mary’s and Chicago Mission. Two storied clubs who have already met at the ‘07 and ‘08 age groups will finally collide at the ‘06 level this weekend. 

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Saturday, December 10 @ 2:00 PM ET

For No. 1 SSM (31-1-1), this season has gone just about as well as one could hope thus far. There are just two blemishes among their incredible record, a 6-5 overtime loss to the No. 10 Dallas Stars Elite on Oct. 8 and a 3-3 tie with the Boston Jr. Eagles on Oct. 22. Since the tie, they have rattled off 13 consecutive victories.

However, throughout all their games, they have yet to play the No. 10 Mission. Making up for lost time, the two will stand against each other on the ice with a two-game series beginning Saturday.

Shattuck has numerous players throughout their lineup with impressive stat lines, including six goals and 30 points from Brandt Harpe alone. But the team’s best strength is between the pipes, led by goaltenders Jack Hirshorn and Harry Boettinger

Between the two of them, the duo has only let in 60 goals across all contests. Statistically, you’d be hard pressed to find a better tandem in youth hockey. Hirshorn has collected a 1.79 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and four shutouts. Additionally, Boettinger has amassed a 1.98 goals against, .918 save percentage and two shutouts. 

The biggest challenge for Chicago (18-6-4) will be trying to solve these two goaltenders as they will likely be seeing both in the two-game set. One thing Mission has done well up to this point in the season is score, recording a plus-52 goal differential. If there is one club who can solve SSM’s goalies, it’s them. 

Chicago hopes these two games can be a jumping off point for a strong month of December. It was an up-and-down November for them, as they went 2-2-1. 

Pete’s Pick: SSM is one of the strongest ‘06 teams in the world, and they have done most of the talking with their on-ice results. I expect Chicago to put up a fight, but the depth and goaltending of Shattuck is just too much to overcome in two games. Shattuck takes two very close games.

Craig’s Pick: Shattuck and Mission have nine shared opponents this season. In those games, Mission has an average goal differential of plus-2.16 whereas Shattuck has a plus-4.9 goals per game. The transitive property isn’t always a perfect predictor tool, but in this case, I think Shattuck is way too much for Mission to handle. Clean sweep for SSM with a pair of decisive wins.

‘07 Don Mills out for revenge vs. Mississauga

Back on Nov. 21, the No. 18 Mississauga Senators (18-15-2) shut out the No. 20 Don Mills Flyers (18-10-1), 6-0. It was the first matchup of the season between the two, and served as an eye-opener for the Flyers. 

Now, just a few weeks later, they will have the opportunity to return the favor when these two clubs square off on Tuesday. 

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Tuesday, December 6 @ 8:25 PM ET
Victoria Village Arena

The Senators are coming off a 4-1 win over the No. 9 U.S.-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Don Mills was also victorious in their last time out; a 4-3 win against the Toronto Nationals. With these programs close together in the Top 10 for Canada, this tilt could play a role in rankings implications. As a result, both teams should expect to receive a less than warm reception from the other, which could lead to some great action on the ice. 

Pete’s Pick: I’m tempted to go Don Mills here, but Mississauga beat them soundly last time they met. I could see them putting up more of a fight here with one game’s experience under their belt, but Mississauga wins this one, 5-2. 

Craig’s Pick: These two teams are much more evenly matched than Game 1’s first result of 6-0 would suggest. Nine of Don Mills’ losses have come at the hands of just six teams. Of those six opponents, DMF has turned around to beat three of them. It’s bold, but I’ll take a shot on the Flyers to make it four with a win over the Sens. 

‘08 Tappara, Pelicans look to carve out spots 

No. 3 Tappara Sininen (15-2-4) and No. 6 Pelicans Turkoosi (11-8-2) will face off for the third time this season on Sunday. And if the first two games are any indication, this one will boil down to whoever gets the favorable bounces. 

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Sunday, December 11

Tappara is one of the hottest teams in Finland. Unbeaten in their last 11, they have had solid wins against other Top 10 teams in their group such as No. 4 JYP and No. 7 Tappara Musta. Not to be outdone, the Pelicans too have wins over JYP and Tappara Musta, but also defeated Sininen in their first outing back on Oct. 8. 

In the second matchup, both sides played to a 2-2 tie.

Tappara brings in three of the top 10 scorers of their group into the contest. Jonatan Seppä(20G, 15A), Eemil Mattanen (11G, 14A), and Viljam Kivimäki’s eight goals and 24 points lead the way. 

Behailu Pussinen’s seven goals and 15 points is the most for the Pelicans, with Romeo Mikkonen (7G, 7A) and Joakim Koivunen (6G, 7A) close behind. 

Pete’s Pick: The season series has been very close, and this game could go in favor of either opponent. That being said, I like Tappara’s offense slightly better in this one and feel that could be the factor that boosts them to a victory, 3-2. 

Craig’s Pick: What’s weird about their first two matchups, is that the leading scorers from both teams were only mildly effective. A secondary assist from Romeo Mikkonen on one end; a power-play assist from Eemil Mattanen on the other. If one of the big dogs doesn’t step up and dominate this matchup, then the scales tip in favor of whoever has better depth. That, to me, is Tappara Sininen in another low-scoring contest.

CSKA, Vityaz hope for some separation among ‘08 clubs

The Top 10 among 2008-born Russia has a cluster of teams jockeying for position. No. 5 CSKA Moscow (17-6-2) and No. 7 Vityaz Podolsk (17-5-0) are right in the thick of things, with a big matchup scheduled for Saturday. 

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Saturday, December 11

Back on Sept. 22, CSKA defeated Vityaz, 4-1, helped largely by a goal and assist from Igor Poss. Nikita Gromakov has totaled 16 goals and 20 points on the season, trailed by Poss (8G, 8A) and Nikita Ovcharov (9G, 10A) for the team lead. 

Vityaz will aim to counterpunch their attack with the trio of Gleb Pugachev, Maxim Seldemirov, and Makar Dudar. Pugachev’s 15 goals and 33 points sit atop the club. Seldemirov’s 13 goals and 30 points and Dudar’s nine goals and 26 points round out the top three. 

CSKA got back in the win column last weekend after four consecutive losses with a 5-0 victory over Khimik. Vityaz was shut out by Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, 4-0. 

Stemming from this game, there should be some clarity into the middle of the field for Russian ‘08s, which could lead to some movement in the overall rankings. 

Pete’s Pick: CSKA seems to have gotten through a rare rough patch and is back to their winning ways. Some adversity is never a bad thing, and they clearly learned to clean up a few things as a result. They win 5-1. 

Craig’s Pick: This is a weird one because most of the country took a one-month hiatus for Federal District Championships. So it really comes down to who can get back into a rhythm the quickest after the extended break. I’ll go with Vityaz here, but I don’t like it due to the coin-flip nature of the matchup already and so much uncertainty after the long layover.

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One youth hockey club from each of the five major countries that owned November

During the month, there have been some clubs that have stood above the rest. We look at a few programs across all countries and birth years to see who has established themselves as the “best of the best.”

FINLAND: 2007 Tappara

A 7-1-0 month further secured No. 11 Tappara’s spot in the world rankings and at the top of the ‘07 Finnish rankings. Overcoming Top 10 Finnish clubs like No. 6 Luukko, No. 7 JYP, No. 8 TPS and No. 9 Ilves proves that they are truly one of the premier teams of their birth year. 

The team’s two leading scorers, Vilho Vanhatalo and Eetu Orpana, also lead all group players when it comes to putting up the points. Vanhatalo’s 16 goals and 44 points sit slightly above Orpana’s 18 goals and 37 points. Two other skaters from Tappara also are included in the Top 10 in scoring, Juho Kuisma (15G, 19A) and Joonas Rajala (14G, 15A). 

Continued numbers  like this from these players will only further serve as a testament to the immense talent this team possesses. It could lead to bigger things for them not only individually, but for the program as well. 

UNITED STATES: 2007 Little Caesars 

The world-ranked No. 4 Little Caesars had one of the hottest stretches of the month, going 13-0-1. In both installments of the World Hockey Hub Rankings this month, they stood firm at the No. 1 spot in the country. 

In the midst of a 34-game unbeaten streak dating back to Aug. 28, they have been able to take care of matchups against both fellow U.S. teams and Canadian counterparts. Besting the likes of No. 14 Chicago Mission and No. 23 Los Angeles Jr. Kings, the boys from the Motor City proved that they are going to be a handful for months to come. 

CANADA: 2011 Toronto Jr. Canadiens

Currently ranked as the No. 1 team in the world among 2011-born teams, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens experienced a very successful November. A 15-2-1 record that culminated in a 6-0-0 run for the AAA division championship at the 2022 Playstation Platinum Cup

The Jr. Canadiens carved through a schedule consisting of two victories over the No. 12 Vaughan Kings and a tie against No. 25 Toronto Red Wings. Their lone blemish was a loss to No. 13 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers. That 4-2 defeat snapped an 11-game unbeaten streak for the Jr. Canadiens.

SWEDEN: 2009 Flemingsbergs IK

World-ranked No. 18 Flemingsbergs IK picked up where they left off after securing a win in its final game before the postseason and secured their district championship. Playing to a 4-0-0 record, they cemented their trophy with large wins over Top-10 teams in the country, No. 2 Täby HC and No. 4-ranked in Sweden SDE Hockey

With an overall undefeated record of 21-0-0, they show no signs of slowing down. With more months like this one, FIK could be enjoying the view from the top of the rankings for quite some time.

RUSSIA: 2008 HC Balashikha

A 9-0-1 record for the month propelled HC Balashika to the top of the 2008 Russian and world rankings. However, it was not their amount of wins so much as it was the teams they defeated that have impressed the most. 

Their first major wins were against No. 6 Mikhailov Academy, 2-1 and No. 8 Spartak Moscow 4-3 in overtime, both on Nov. 10. Then, they followed that up with a 5-2 victory over No. 9 CSKA Moscow just two days later. Statement games that catapulted them up from their former ninth-ranked position.

Leading the way has been the productive duo of Nikita Kartashov (33G, 31A) and Petr Tortev (25G, 22A). Balashikha has also reaped the benefit of Daniil Rakitin, a transfer from Atlant Mytischi, who has added seven goals and 19 assists. 

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American Thanksgiving is circled on the calendar for both U.S., Canadian teams

It is regularly the single busiest weekend of youth hockey on the calendar each year. American Thanksgiving tends to treat hundreds of teams in North America to plenty of holiday hockey. From spending time with family to trying to snag the best Black Friday deals, games and tournaments schedules are strategically placed throughout the extended weekend. 

A multitude of cities throughout the United States celebrate Thanksgiving with dozens of tournaments. Here are some of the most notable coming up this weekend. 

International Silver Stick

It may take place in Canada, but several American teams have come to compete in the International Silver Sticks tournament. Beginning Nov. 24, teams from the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 birth years will take part in this year’s tournament in Whitby, Ontario, CAN. Each age group will be split into groups of five teams to settle on seeding before the playoff rounds. 

For our purposes, we will focus on the 2007, 2009 and 2011 programs. 

Of the six groups in the ‘07 age group, four stand out for having multiple teams in the World Rankings

Group 1 will feature No. 13 Bishop Kearney Selects and No. 8-ranked among Canadian teams Halton Hurricanes. Group 2 will see two ranked clubs from Canada, No. 6 Toronto Jr. Canadiens and No. 7 Southern Tier Admirals and battle for supremacy. Group 3 standouts include No. 22 Mississauga Senators, No. 9-ranked Canadian London Jr. Knights, and No. 9 ranked in the U.S. Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Rounding things out in Group 5 is No. 17 Don Mills Flyers and No. 5 in Canada York Simcoe Express.

Group 3 for the ‘09 table will have its fair share of close games, with the No. 7 U.S. ranked Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers set to face off against the likes of No. 11 Sun County Panthers and No. 16 Toronto Titans

For the 2011 age group, Group 4 will include matchups such as No. 9 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and No. 22 Middlesex Islanders. Rounding things out is Group 5 are two of the top U.S. teams in No. 6 Penguins Elite and No. 17 Chicago Reapers

CCM Shootout

The 16U division of the CCM Shootout, presented by 200×85, will take place from Nov. 25-27 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA. 

Eight teams will square off in a round-robin style format, earning two points for a win and one point for a tie. All teams will be in action during the first day, with Victory Honda and the South Hills Panthers kicking things off Friday morning. 

Other teams taking part are the Chicago Bulldogs, Gilmour Academy, Markham Islanders, PAL Jr. Islanders, Anaheim Ice Dogs and Biggby Coffee.

Some of these programs have already seen action against one another during the regular season, so that familiarity should lead to exciting and emotional tilts. 

Smashville Girls Showcase

The top Tier-I and Tier-II girls teams in North America will head to the Music City for the Smashville Girls Showcase this weekend. 

14U, 16U and 19U teams will each be divided into two groups per birth year. The hometown Nashville Jr. Predators will be in attendance for all birth years. The 14U team enters with a 6-7-0 record, the 16U team with a 7-4-2 record and the 19U team with a record of 4-6-2. 

As an added addition, the Smashville Women’s Hockey Collegiate Showcase will be running concurrently, bringing even more opportunities to watch and learn from some of the best female players in the world. 

The Collegiate Showcase will feature Northeastern University, Princeton University and Cornell University

The Nation’s Cup

Another 200×85 sponsored event, the 2022 CCM Nation’s Cup has the distinction of having the most unique format out of all the tournaments listed here. Not only that, but big bragging rights will be on the line to determine who will be crowned winner between the USA and Canada. 

126 teams from the 2008 through 2013 birth years will take part in a four-game round robin format, accumulating points for their respective country. This part of the proceedings also plays a crucial role in seeding for the next round. 

Once the new standings have been calculated, action will kick back up for a fifth and final game. The top Canadian team will square off against the top American team. Canadian second seed plays American second seed, and so on. Every time a team wins a game, they accrue points for either the U.S. or Canada. The country with the most points at the end of the tournament will be awarded the Nation’s Cup. 

Wishbone Classic

Rounding out festivities this weekend is a World Hockey Events exclusive. The Wishbone Classic will take place in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA with teams from the 2009 through 2013 birth years. 

This is one of the premier Tier-2 tournaments in New England on the calendar this season. As a result, some programs are bringing multiple teams to the event. 

The Seacoast Spartans (2009-2013), Valley Jr. Warriors (2010, 2011, 2013) and Dynamo HC (2012-2013) will all be participating in multiple birth years. 

Of course, these are just a few of the many events going on around this time. Be sure to check out a complete list of Thanksgiving weekend tournaments HERE

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York Simcoe Express, London Jr. Knights crack ‘07 Top 25

After building up a strong resume to get into a Top 10 spot in the Canadian rankings, the No. 24 London Jr. Knights have taken another step into the Top 25 teams in the world. 

Rattling off six straight victories against teams such as the Huron-Perth Lakers and Waterloo Wolves, the Jr. Knights find themselves sitting at No. 5 with a 22-2-1 record. A boost in the Canadian rankings that also carried them into the top 25.

Rounding out the Top 25 for ‘07 programs is the No. 25 York Simcoe Express (17-4-3). A current four-game unbeaten stretch not only boosted them in the latest world rankings, but have them holding down the middle of the Top 10 for Canadian-squads.

‘07 BK Selects make their move

The No. 5 Bishop Kearney Selects broke out the brooms in an impressive three-game sweep of No. 9 Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Bishop Kearney outscored Shattuck 9-3 over the series, affording them not only bragging rights but the opportunity to state their case as one of the premier U.S. teams of the 2007 birth year. 

BK will look to continue their current six-game unbeaten streak into the upcoming Silver Stick Tournament this weekend, where they will go head to head against some of the best of the U.S. and Canada. 

Yugra Yukior builds resume among ‘06 Russian peers

No. 7 Yugra Yukior edged out No. 12 Salavat Yulaev twice in overtime to jump ahead in the 2006-born Top 10 Russian rankings. 

Given that the victories were both by a goal, beating a ranked opponent twice in one weekend is a good case to prove you belong among the elite. Yulaev was also a perfect 10-0-0 on the season before the matchups with Yukior. Proving that the wins were no flukes and stand as a testament to the skill Yukior possesses. 

Watch out for Yukior to continue its climb up the Russian and world rankings, if leaders such as Egor Skutin, Egor Murashev and Kirill Sukharev keep producing. Next up is a two-game set against Traktor Chelyabinsk before going head to head against No. 10 Russian-ranked Avangard Omsk

New No. 1’s among ‘08 clubs

No. 5 Shattuck-St. Mary’s had a big boost from their former No. 25 spot in the 2008 world rankings thanks to three-game sweeps of No. 13 Chicago Mission and No. 14 Bishop Kearney Selects. 

The Sabres can attribute a large portion of their success to incredible goaltending from Xavier Wendt and Michael Iliff. Just look at the numbers alone. Wendt has collected a 1.31 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, compared to 1.00 goals-against and .940 save percentage for Iliff. 

There was a lot of movement among the Top 10 in Russia, leading to a shuffling of clubs both in the Russian and world rankings. No. 1 HC Balashikha came out on top against No. 8 Spartak Moscow and No. 9 CSKA Moscow. Victories that not only catapulted them to the top of the country, but also as the new leader worldwide, where they unseated CSKA. Also experiencing raised profiles in the latest rankings are No. 6 Mikhailov Academy and No. 7 Rus Moscow.

Overseas, the ‘08 Finnish rankings received two new additions in No. 7 Pelicans Turkossi and No. 10 Kiekko-Espoo I. The Pelicans nabbed big wins against former No. 8 HPK Oranssi and No. 5 JYP. They also skated to a 2-2 tie with No. 4 Tappara Sininen. K-Espoo shut out previous No. 7-ranked KJT Haukat Blue 4-0 to slide into the last spot among the Top 10. 

Be sure to check out the complete world rankings, including Top 10s by country and World Top 25s for each of the 2006, 2007, 2008, 200, 2010 and 2011 birth years.

Minnesota, Massachusetts the first districts to issue automatic bids

It may only be November, but a few teams can already start making travel arrangements for the 2023 USA Hockey National Championships in April.

Massachusetts crowned its 15O, 16U and 18U Tier-I state champions this past weekend. They join Minnesota as two hockey powerhouses that award national bids well before the other 11 districts in the country.

15O River Rats Are Nationals Bound

The Neponset Valley River Rats captured the 15O title in the Massachusetts Hockey State Championships after entering the weekend tournament the No. 2 seed. They and the No. 1 seed Boston Jr. Eagles had byes into the quarterfinals, which meant avoiding a Friday contest before a jam-packed weekend.

The River Rats took care of business in the quarters, beating Patriot Hockey 7-1. Four players — Joseph Marchi, Jake Assad, Thomas Anderson and Anderson Kilbourne — found the back of the net in the first period alone. That allowed Neponset Valley to quickly assume control of the contest and coasted into the semifinals.

There, things were tighter. The Cape Cod Whalers had the score tied 2-2 in the third period, thanks to a pair of goals from Giacomo Caliri. The River Rats’ Collin Rowe, however, scored two goals in the contest as well, and his second strike broke the 2-2 tie. Michael Munroe finished things off with a late one to give Neponset Valley a 4-2 win.

In the final, it was smoother skating, as the River Rats took down Militia Hockey 5-1, with five different players scoring for the champs.

Top 2007 Performers In Massachusetts

Despite having one game less than most of his peers, Munroe led the weekend in scoring, as he tallied two goals and seven points in three games. Anderson and Marchi both had four points in total.

Alfred Farese, meanwhile, took care of the goaltending duties for the River Rats all weekend. In his three games, he allowed only four goals, which gave him a 1.33 goals-against average in the state playoffs.

The biggest upset of the tournament came by way of the 95 Giants, who ended the Boston Jr. Eagles’ weekend plans rather abruptly. The Jr. Eagles were ranked No. 10 in the country and the top seed in the Massachusetts tournament entering the weekend. However, they fell to the Giants in a 1-0 defensive battle in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Joseph Andreozzi scored the only goal of the contest, and it came at the 15:31 mark of the middle period. The Jr. Eagles sent 34 shots towards Giants’ netminder Angelo Evangelista, and he stopped every single one of them. Militia Hockey ended the Cinderella story the next day, however, beating the Giants 3-2 in the semifinals.

16U Little Bruins Win Big At Districts

At the 16U level, the Boston Little Bruins will be representing Massachusetts at nationals after using their No. 1 seed to march through states.

They faced their fare share of challenges in the weekend, starting with a high-scoring Saturday afternoon battle with Boston Hockey Academy. The Bruins needed five, and got six to beat Boston Hockey Academy 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Second-period goals from Grayson Cohen and Jackson Delleo proved to be the difference in the contest. Boston Hockey Academy’s Tyler Kirchner had two goals and an assist, while Gryphon Watson-Bucci had four assists, but their herculean efforts weren’t enough for an upset.

In the semifinals, the Bruins had a much easier time, as first-period goals from Cameron Cooke, Alex Gomes and Joseph Mense put them on the path to an easy 5-1 win over the Valley Jr. Warriors.

It looked like it was going to be more smooth sailing in the championship game, but the Boston Jr. Eagles made things interesting in the final frame. The Bruins scored five goals through the first two periods, but the Jr. Eagles’ Edward Mutryn registered a natural hat trick in the third to make it a nail-biting 5-4 final for the Little Bruins. 

Balanced scoring carried the Bruins to the state title, as Delleo led the way with five points, while Gomes and Dennis Davidson had four. Sixteen different Bruins found the scoresheet over the course of the three games.

Jr. Eagles Punch Ticket to 18U Nationals

At the 18U level, the Boston Jr. Eagles captured the state title, prevailing over the Cape Cod Whalers 3-2 in the final.

Much like the 16U champs, the Jr. Eagles scored by committee en route to their nationals bid, as four players — Jake McManus, Sean Leetch, Cullen Emery and Jonathan Lanza — all led the team in scoring with three points apiece.

Paul Dalessio played all three games between the pipes to pick up three wins and a 1.44 goals-against average in the process.

Shattuck set to represent Minnesota District

Massachusetts isn’t the only major hockey market to be finalizing national bids this early in the season. Minnesota does the same, with the 14U, 15O, 16U and 18U representatives already decided.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s will represent Minnesota at all of the aforementioned age groups, after the 14U, 15O and 16U teams won their Minnesota District titles in the Minnesota High Performance postseason.

At the 14U level, SSM defeated the Polars of District 5 by a 4-0 final. Tynan Lawrence had two goals for SSM, including the empty-netter to wrap things up. Xavier Wendt stopped 18 shots between the pipes for the shutout win.

In 15O play, Shattuck topped the Blue Ox by a final score of 7-1. Alex Donovan registered two goals and an assist, while Andrei Nabokov posted one goal and one assist. Additionally, Grayson Hanggi stopped 20 of 21 shots sent his way.

The 16U SSM squad wrapped things up with a dominating 11-3 win over the Blue Ox.

World Hockey Hub will have continued coverage of all 13 USA Hockey Districts, automatic bids and USA Hockey Nationals. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for more!

Hirshorn, Boettinger among the best duos in youth hockey

Given the amount of games youth hockey teams are expected to play, having strong and consistent goaltending is paramount to success. 

When taking stock of the best youth hockey programs around the world, a common theme is that most of them are equipped with not one goalie who can get the job done, but two. There are a variety of teams throughout the World Rankings whose reliance on multiple and dependable netminders are a common theme. 

We take a look at some of these players whose time between the pipes have propelled their squads to top spots. 

Shattuck-St. Mary’s (29-1-1) is the top-ranked 2006-born team in the world. Standing apart from teams such as No. 2 CSKA Moscow, No. 3 Long Island Gulls and No. 4 Krylia Sovetov they have been a mainstay ahead of the pack. A large result of Shattuck’s stellar performance this season has been the combined efforts of their goaltending duo, Jack Hirshorn and Harry Boettinger

Hirshorn, the first-year Sabre from Tampa, Florida, USA looms large at 6-foot-1 and 200 lbs. A frame that lends itself perfectly to the goaltending position, he leaves little room for opposing shooters to find a hole. On the other hand, Boettinger’s slender appearance may fool even the most skilled offensive forward. Just when they think there is plenty of net to aim at, quick pads and a lightning-fast glove turn away even the most dangerous scoring chances with ease.

Stability brings success

SSM knows they have a great chance of victory with either player in net, which has also allowed for an even balance of their workloads. In 16 games this season, Hirshorn has compiled a 15-1-0 record, along with a 1.79 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. In the 15 games Boettinger has suited up for, he has been undefeated at 14-0-1, with a 1.98 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

Shattuck has been able to record six shutout victories this season, four from Hirshorn and two from Boettinger. 

Both players don’t seem like they will be slowing down anytime soon, so it appears as if teams will have to find new ways to best them or continue to be tormented.

‘07 Pelicans’ ceiling rests on Teva and Väisänen

The Pelicans (13-8-0) know that to remain competitive in a stacked group of fellow ‘07 Finnish teams, their ability to stop some incredible high-powered offenses will be key. 

And with goaltenders like Niklas Väisänen and Joel Teva, they just might be able to do so. The pair has backstopped the Pelicans to a 3-2-0 start to the month. 

Teva has seen more time in the crease, with a .927 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against average to his credit. However, that’s not to take away from what his counterpart has been able to do in game action. Väisänen’s .923 save percentage and 2.01 goals-against average are good for third among all goaltenders in their 13-team group. 

The duo was holding opponents to one goal in three straight games before a matchup with No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo on Wednesday. Teva’s 33 save-performance was not enough however as their win streak was snapped with a 6-2 loss.

Väisänen and Teva will have an opportunity to help their team get back in the win column as they have a rematch against K-Espoo this Saturday. No matter who is in goal for the Pelicans, they should expect another steady stream of pucks and offensive zone time. 

Raynard, Parker get extreme for ‘08 Northern Alberta

Fresh off a solid showing at the 2022 Rocky Mountain Classic showcase for Western Canadian clubs, Parker Snell proved he is among the best 2008-born players at stopping the puck. 

Being hailed as one of the best goalies at the tournament after going 3-0-0, Snell’s heroics in net did not come as a surprise to his teammates. He has been an essential part of No. 8 Northern Alberta Xtreme’s (12-0-0) undefeated success all season long. In net for seven of the team’s 12 victories, his 1.41 goals-against average and .938 save percentage with two shutouts jump off the stat sheet. 

Donning the pads when Snell gets the night off, Taylor Ranyard proves he is just as capable of his duties in the crease. Winning all five games he has appeared in and statistically almost parallel to Snell, Raynard has put up a 1.40 goals-against average with a .921 save percentage and two shutouts. 

Impressive numbers for both that prove that on any given night, the Xtreme have a solid chance of victory before the puck even drops. 

Want more coverage of the top teams and top players in youth hockey? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube!

Rocky Mountain Classic showcases some of the best U15 teams in Western Canada

At the Rocky Mountain Classic, Calgary Edge School reigned supreme.

In what has become an impressive tournament in the greater Calgary area, the Rocky Mountain Classic brings together top U15 teams in the region. This major event featured the 2008 birth year, with several standouts from the weekend. 

Twenty-four teams entered the fray at this year’s Rocky Mountain Classic, which took place at WinSport Arenas. The venue has served as a home of Team Canada, just outside of the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

Three of the participating teams appeared on the most recent World Hockey Hub rankings for Canada. No. 2 Northern Alberta Xtreme, the aforementioned Calgary Edge School is No. 9 and RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna is No. 10 among 2008-born Canadian teams.

Additionally, other top-tier programs like the Okotoks Oilers, Airdrie Xtreme, Yale Lions, OHA Penticton and more makes Edge School’s feat that much more impressive.

Edge School’s Run To a U15 Tournament Championship

In a tournament that spanned Wednesday through Sunday, Edge wasn’t fazed by having two games on Day 1 – they won them both. First, they took down Okotoks 3-1 in the morning contest; that proved to be the only loss of the weekend for the Oilers. After that, Edge beat OHA Edmonton 4-2 later that day as well.

After dropping their first contest to Edge, Okotoks went on to win its next five games to emerge victorious in the B Championship game.

In their final game of the preliminary round, Edge School wrapped up a top spot in the playoff bracket with a 6-3 win over Red Deer Thursday afternoon. That earned them a quarterfinal date with OHA Pentiction. Edge recorded an 8-2 win, and the scoring spree continued into Saturday’s semifinal. There, the offense rolled past RINK Winnipeg 7-2.

In the final, Edge School ran into Airdrie Xtreme, which assembled quite the tournament resume, as well.

In their first four games, Airdrie allowed only one goal per game, beating RINK Winnipeg 3-1, Burnaby Winter Club 4-1, Valley West Giants 6-1 and St. Albert Sabres 3-1. While they didn’t hold their semifinal opponent to a single goal, they still found a way to win against the No. 2 ranked team in all of Canada, Northern Alberta Xtreme. In the battle of the Xtremes, it was Airdrie prevailing 6-5 in overtime after a wild, wild comeback. Trailing 5-1 in the third period, Riley Boychuk added his second, third and fourth goals of the game to lead a major comeback. After that, Aaron Sawatzky scored the decisive goal in overtime for Airdrie.

In the championship, it was Edge prevailing. The eventual champions built up a 5-2 lead heading into the third period, and Xtreme made another late-game push. It was Boychuk trying to play the superhero role in the final, too, as he scored the last two goals of the game to pull Airdrie within striking distance. However, it was too little too late as the score ended 6-4 in favor of Edge.

Players Riding High At The Rocky Mountain Classic

Cruz Pavao led Edge in scoring through the duration of the tournament. He registered seven goals and 14 points in six games. His teammate Landon Dupont also crossed into double digits; he recorded 10 points in the six contests.

Cole Prelusky recorded four of the six wins between the pipes for Edge. He finished with a 2.33 goals-against average and 91.9 save percentage.

The Rocky Mountain Classic website gives a great look at performances across the tournament. Above all, a pair of Calgary Bisons forwards in Cooper Williams and Rhys Jamieson led the field in scoring, both recording 15 points in six games. After that, Liam Ruck of OHA Penticton and Edge’s Pavao both had 14. Four players — Koy Funk of RINK Winnipeg, Brayden Ryan-Mackay of Yale, Markus Ruck of OHA Pentiction and Joe Iginla of RINK Kelowna — had 12 points apiece.

Carter Esler was the only other goalie to match Prelusky’s four-win total over the weekend. The Okotoks Oilers netminder turned in a 4-1-0 record with a 2.67 goals-against average and 93.4 save percentage. He challenged Prelusky for the unofficial title of ‘top goaltender’ at the tournament.

Calder Barry of RINK Kelowna registered a 3-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and 92.9 save percentage. Parker Snell of Northern Alberta Xtreme also had a 3-0-0 record as well with a 2.00 goals-against average and 91.5 save percentage. 

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‘08 Top 10 tilt between Chicago Mission, Penguins Elite

Kicking off our games to look forward to is a meeting between the No. 13 Chicago Mission (23-4-3) and No. 9-ranked among 2008 U.S. teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite (20-4-0).

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Saturday, November 19 @ 6:50 P.M. CST
International Rink

Both teams are currently enjoying extensive win streaks, with Chicago victorious in their last three and Penguins in their last seven. While Pittsburgh does not boast as dynamic an offense as Chicago, they have recorded a plus-50 goal differential. Compare that to the Mission’s plus-80 goal differential, and it can be seen the two teams aren’t that far off from one another when it comes to attacking.

The danger here for either side is getting into a game where goals are traded left and right. The team that controls play in all three zones will end up in the win column, as a balanced approach will be key. 

Pete’s Pick: Chicago have proven to this point they are the team to beat among U.S. teams of their birth year, and this game should only further solidify that point. While Pittsburgh is certainly capable of keeping things close, the Mission will eventually pull away in a 6-3 win.

Craig’s Pick: I expect this game to be much closer than our WHH Rankings may suggest, with Mission at No. 1 and PPE at No. 9 in the country. Mission has a 3-2-2 record in seven games against fellow Top-10 ranked teams this season. They’re just a bit more battle tested in my book, so I’ll give Chicago the edge over Pens Elite… but it’s really close, 3-2. 

‘06 Lokomotiv eyes move up the rankings 

No. 15 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s (7-3-0) plans to make some noise among 2006-born Russian clubs depending on how they come out against No. 5 Dynamo Moscow (8-3-0) on Sunday, Nov. 20.

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Sunday, November 20

Dynamo bested Lokomotiv 4-1 back in September. Their leading scorer on the season with five goals and 13 assists, Ivan Ryabkin, notched two helpers. Bogdan Kiselev, who sits just behind Ryabkin with eight goals and 15 points, kicked off the scoring in that matchup.

One of the biggest issues for Lokomotiv last time these two met was most of its point leaders were held off the scoresheet. Players such as Vadim Dudorov, Sergey Kudinov, and Alexey Elblaus were unable to crack through the opposition. Getting all three players going in the upcoming game will be crucial for Lokomotiv to even the season series. 

The biggest obstacle they will have to overcome will be between the pipes. Sergey Vyskrebentsev manned the crease in their last game. However, Ilya Podsukha, who has donned the pads for a majority of Dynamo’s games, serves up a pristine 1.30 goals-against average.

Expect both teams to empty the tanks in this one, as they do not meet again until the new year at the end of January. 

Pete’s Pick: Lokomotiv got a late goal to pad some stats last time these two teams met. I expect Dynamo to pick up where they left off, as Lokomotiv’s offense will not be able to crack whomever Dynamo puts in goal. Dynamo takes this one 5-1.

Craig’s Pick: Lokomotiv is playing much better hockey than the last time these two teams met, but I still don’t think it will be enough. Dynamo is a more complete team with higher end scorers in Kiselev, Roman Gorodilov and Ryabkin. I think they open it up even more in the rematch; Dynamo wins 6-2.

‘07 Pelicans look to crack Finnish Top 10

Sitting at 11-5-0 on the season, the Pelicans have a prime opportunity to strengthen their resume among Finnish ‘07 clubs with two upcoming games against No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo (14-1-0) this week. 

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Wednesday, November 16

The first game will take place Wednesday, Nov. 16, serving as the first time this season the two will be facing off against one another. The Pelicans have been a bubble team for much of 2022-23 action, just on the cusp of sliding into the top 10. 

The opportunity to make some noise has presented itself, now all they have to do is capitalize on it. 

Luka Arkko and Juho Piiparinen both lead the Pelicans with 18 points apiece. Both were instrumental in the team’s most recent victories  against KalPa and Jokipojat.

Kiekko-Espoo has handled most of the competition among group play, with a lone blemish being a 7-3 loss to Jokipojat earlier this month. A run of play that has them comfortably atop the table of 2008-born Finnish teams as well as within the world rankings

Since that loss on Nov. 5, they have rattled off three wins, overcoming teams such as KalPa, KJT Haukat, and Jukurit.

Aapo Vanninen, Kiekko-Espoo’s most prolific playmaker, has assisted on 23 goals and has tallied 10 of his own. Just behind his 33 points is Aleksi Kilpeläinen‘s 11 goals and 29 points. 

Pete’s Pick: The Pelicans have slowly been gaining steam as the season has progressed, taking part in some close matchups against the best teams of their group. While I expect them to put up a fight, the overall team talent Kiekko-Espoo possesses will be too much to overcome if this becomes an offensive display. Kiekko-Espoo wins 4-2.

Craig’s Pick: Kiekko is the top team in Finland for good reason. However, they were caught asleep at the wheel yesterday with a surprising 7-3 loss to unranked Jokipojat. There’s no way Vanninen and Kilpeläinen allow that to happen a second time. I think an angry KE squad makes a statement with an 8-1 victory. 

‘07 SSM hits the road for series vs. BK Selects

No. 9 Shattuck-St. Mary’s (17-5-3) will get some bonding time away from their home rink when they head to Rochester, New York, for a three-game series against the No. 13 Bishop Kearney Selects (19-8-6) this weekend. 

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Saturday, November 19 @ 1:00 p.m. EST

In the early stages of the season, these two programs played to a 3-3 tie, proving that their close proximity in the standings is no fluke. Shattuck had an eight-game unbeaten streak end at the hands of No. 5 Chicago Mission last weekend, while Bishop Kearney come in as winners of their last two over the Mississauga Senators and Compuware.

The Selects like to fill up the net, so all eyes will be on the goaltending of Grayson Hanggi and Garrett Glaser for SSM in this one. Their play has led to modest goals-against averages, with Glaser getting the slight advantage of a 1.57 goals-against to Hanggi’s 1.83 goals-against. 

Pete’s Pick: These are probably the games I am most looking forward to this week, as both teams are so similar in their approach to offense, defense and overall roster construction. That being said, someone has to come out victorious, so I see Shattuck taking a very hard fought series 2-1. 

Craig’s Pick: Bishop Kearney has played 16 — yes, sixteen — games against teams ranked in the Top 10 of their respective countries this season. Shattuck, on the other hand, has yet to play a game outside the State of Hockey. I think the travel could play a factor here, and BK being battle tested and at home, gives them a huge leg up. Shattuck is likely traveling 1,000 miles by bus to the Empire State. I’ll take BK to win the first two games and Shattuck to steal the final matchup before heading home.

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