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. 

Want more coverage of major youth hockey events around the world like Federal District Championships? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news! 

‘09 Swedish club goes undefeated in district playoffs

No. 18 Flemingsbergs IK (21-0-0) has been one of the top teams in Sweden this season. They have fared well against all types of competition, never looking too far ahead on the task at hand. With district playoffs taking place last weekend, it was no shock to see that their incredible winning streak to start the season kept rolling. 

The team went 4-0-0 en route to their first district championship in program history. Not an easy task, as included in their schedule were matchups against fellow Swedish-ranked No. 2 Täby HC and No. 4 SDE Hockey

After dispatching Vasby IK HK and Göta Traseberg IK in their first two games, the stage was set for the meeting with SDE. After Flemingsbergs opened the scoring just over three minutes into action, the rest of the period was a special teams battle. The next four goals of the period would all be tallied on the power play, with Flemingsbergs taking a 3-2 lead into intermission. 

It was a lead they would not relinquish, but the remainder of the contest would be a back-and-forth affair with both sides trading goals. SDE got the score as close as 5-4 with about a minute left in regulation before Victor Nordberg would add the sixth and final goal of the contest just 13 seconds later. Nordberg led all skaters with three points as well. 

Täby reached the championship after winning all three of their preliminary games as well. Given the strong defenses and goaltending each side possessed, it was a fairly uneventful title game with Flemingsbergs coming out on top, 1-0. The lone goal would come from the stick of Daniel Grypishyn, as it was unassisted and while on the penalty kill. 

The final matchup was really a stage for the goaltending to steal the spotlight, with Anton Blohmé turning aside all 14 shots he faced while in net for Flemingsbergs. Jurjis Rodicevs, in net for Täby, stopped 21.

In total, Flemingsbergs found the back of the net 14 times and only allowed six goals across their four games, a goal differential of plus-8, tied with that of Täby. The two teams had the only positive goal differential numbers in the playoffs. Accounting for a large part of that offensive output were Dante Bergfors and Ludvig Schnüzel, who compiled seven points and six points, respectively. 

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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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Marlboros, Flyers, Mid-Fairfield and Little Caesars split championships between U.S. and Canadian teams

The International Silver Stick finals in Whitby, Ontario, CAN., brought together a remarkable collection of youth hockey talent for its four age groups. It is one of the longest standing and most iconic youth hockey tournaments in all of North America. After this weekend, four teams — two from Canada and two from the U.S. — were able to add their names to the history books.

Toronto Marlboros Take 2007 Division

The field for the 2007-born teams at Whitby was incredibly deep, but in the end, it played out as the rankings indicated it would. In the tournament finale, it was the Toronto Marlboros, ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 17 in the world, taking on the Bishop Kearney Selects, ranked No. 2 in the United States and No. 5 in the world. The Marlboros took advantage of the opportunity to make a world-wide statement, defeating their American foes 4-1 to win the prestigious Silver Stick and cap off a perfect trip to Whitby.

In an age group featuring 11 ranked teams in their respective countries, it was a battle each and every game for the Marlboros — and they got some help along the way, too. Toronto started with a 5-0 win over the Huron-Perth Lakers, followed by 9-1 and 5-2 wins over the Niagara North Stars and Barrie Colts, respectively. They wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 7-4 win over the Central Ontario Wolves in the Marlboros’ last game against unranked competition.

Things got a lot more interesting in the quarterfinals, as the No. 1 ranked Marlboros found themselves sharing the ice with the No. 4 ranked Mississauga Rebels. The Marlboros prevailed 4-2, securing another Top-10 showdown with the No. 8 Southern Tier Admirals in the semifinals.

There, it was a nailbiter, as the Marlboros eventually prevailed 3-2 for their date with the BK Selects.

Top-10 Matchups Between U.S., Canadian Clubs

Bishop Kearney’s route to the finals featured a few Top-10 showdowns, as well. They took down the No. 10 ranked Halton Hurricanes in their last round-robin contest before beating the No. 7 Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the semifinals.

The Jr. Canadiens had been responsible for the London Jr. Knights’ early exit. The No. 4-ranked Knights were bounced in the quarters by the Jr. Habs in 5-0 shutout fashion.

Meanwhile, it was the Toronto Young Nationals recording a perfect 4-0-0 record in preliminary-round play that caused chaos for some of the top-ranked teams. They started the Silver Stick tournament with a 2-1 win over the No. 3 ranked Don Mills Flyers which eventually led to Don Mills not making it to the elimination rounds. The Young Nationals did the same to No. 6 York Simcoe Express.

Meanwhile, the Marlboros are carrying their Silver Stick back to Toronto while surely moving up in the worldwide rankings after surviving the Whitby gauntlet. The four top scorers in the Silver Stick tournament all suited up for the Marlboros — Lev Katzin had 13 points in seven games, while William Moore had 12, Aidan Lane and Matheas Stark finished with 11 apiece.

Cooper Dennis recorded 11 points in seven games for the Bishop Kearney Selects, while Joshua Avery registered nine points in only five games. Even more impressive was Ryan Roobroeck hitting the nine-point mark in only four contests. 

Don Mills Flyers Dominate ’09 Division

It was another battle of ranked clubs from two different countries in the finals of the 2009 division at the Whitby Silver Stick. Once again, the Canadians got it done, this time with the Don Mills Flyers beating Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 2-1.

Don Mills entered the tournament the favorite, as they are currently ranked No. 1 in Canada and No. 5 in the world by the World Hockey Hub. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, checked in at No. 10 in the U.S. rankings.

It was another stacked tournament field, as seven of Canada’s top 10 teams in the birth year made the trip to Whitby. Additionally, two ranked American programs in Pittsburgh and the No. 8 Mid Fairfield Jr. Rangers.

The final was actually a rematch of the preliminary round, as Don Mills and Pittsburgh were the two top teams in Group 5. In that contest, the Flyers blanked Pittsburgh 5-0.

That also ended up being the only ranked opponent for the Flyers in their run to the final. They took care of the North York Rangers 3-1 in the quarterfinals and Huron-Perth Lakers 2-0 in the semifinals.

The Lakers took down the No. 8 Toronto Marlboros in preliminary-round play, and in the quarterfinals, they eliminated No. 10 Ottawa Myers Automotive with a 3-1 victory.

The No. 4 ranked Sun County Panthers ran into trouble in the round robin, falling to the No. 6 Toronto Titans 3-0 in their first game, and the unranked Niagara North Stars 5-3 later in the same day.

Meanwhile, Pens Elite were responsible for bouncing the No. 2 ranked team in all of Canada, as they beat the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 3-2 in the semifinals before running into Don Mills for the finale.

Mid-Fairfield Makes its way to the 2011 Championship

Another cross-country showdown between highly ranked squads, but this time, the Americans won. In the 2011 title game at Whitby Silver Stick, it was Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, ranked No. 2 in the U.S., beating the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, ranked No. 1 worldwide and in Canada, by a final score of 4-2.

The two programs highlighted a field that featured the No. 1 ranked teams in both the U.S. (Pittsburgh Penguins Elite) and Canada (Jr. Canadiens). Four top-five teams from Canada were competing, with the Elgin-Middlesex Canucks, Vaughan Kings and Oakville Rangers joining the Jr. Canadiens. Three top-five teams from the U.S. crossed the border for the tournament, as well, in the Penguins, Mid-Fairfield and No. 4 ranked Chicago Reapers.

The Path To Silver Stick History

The Jr. Rangers had a challenging path to their Silver Stick title, as they started with a 5-4 win over the No. 5 ranked Oakville Rangers. They dropped their second game of the tournament, however, losing 2-1 to the Quinte Red Devils.

Mid-Fairfield bounced back with a huge 2-1 win over the No. 3 Vaughan Kings on Saturday morning, however, and they wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 2-1 win over York Simcoe Express.

In the quarterfinals, they took care of American foe Little Caesars 5-1. That led to back-to-back games with teams ranked No. 1 in their respective countries. Mid-Fairfield beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 4-3 in the semifinals before the aforementioned 4-2 win over the Jr. Canadiens in the final.

Little Caesars Adds Another Silver Stick Championship

Little Caesars prevailed in the title game of the 2013 birth year, as they won an All-American battle with Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, 7-3.

Little Caesars dominated from start to finish in their run to the youngest Whitby Silver Stick division title. On Day 1, they recorded 10-0 and 11-3 wins over the Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and Oakville Rangers, respectively. 

The next day, they beat the South Shore Kings 6-1 and the Toronto Young Nationals 7-2.

In the elimination rounds, it was more routs. Caesars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 8-0 in the quarterfinals, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 7-3 in the semifinals, and Mid-Fairfield 7-3 in the final.

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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.

‘06 Russian teams continue season series

Fresh off a 5-0 victory against HC Balashikha, No. 14 Spartak Moscow (12-3-2) has its sights set on No. 5 Dynamo Moscow (10-3-0). The two teams have clashed once already this season, and Sunday’s matchup serves as the de facto tiebreaker. 

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Sunday, December 4

Spartak has relied on its potent offense to propel them through a recent stretch of success. Averaging five goals a game during their current six-game win streak have opponents trying to figure out how to stop them. Their attack can be attributed to the leadership of Silantiy Kozhushko and Ivan Kosarev. Kozhushko, known for being more of a playmaker, has collected 18 points, using incredible vision to find teammates anywhere on the ice. Kosarev sits closely behind with five goals and 15 points. 

Aiming to prevent them from finding the score sheet will be Dynamo’s goaltending duo of Sergey Vyskrebentsev and Ilya Podsukha. While getting a majority of the starts in net, Podsukha has garnered a 1.52 goals-against average with Vyskrebentsev sitting at a respectable 2.51 goals against. 

The season series is tied between these two programs, with Spartak taking the first game 6-2 and Dynamo edging out a 4-3 shootout victory back on Oct. 2. Ivan Ryabkin came up big in that one for Dynamo, as he netted a goal in regulation and the lone shootout tally. Bogdan Kiselev also added a goal and two assists for Dynamo. 

Pete’s Pick: Spartak has been playing great hockey lately, and I expect them to continue their hot streak heading into this matchup. While the goaltending for Dynamo is solid, they boast more depth up front offensively and will use that to their advantage. Spartak takes a close one 3-2.

Craig’s Pick: These two teams stack up super close. I like Dynamo’s goaltending situation just a little bit better than Spartak. Top forward Ivan Ryabkin plays a major factor in this one with multiple points, and Spartak gets a stellar performance out of whichever goaltender man’s the net. Spartak defeats Dynamo for the second time this season, 4-1. 

‘09 KalPa, KooKoo suit up for two

If KooKoo Black’s (10-2-2) recent six-game unbeaten streak is a sign that the team is firing on all cylinders, then KalPa P Black (10-2-0) will have its hands full. KooKoo, ranked No. 8 among 2009-born Finnish teams, will take on No. 4-ranked KalPa in a two-game series on Saturday. 

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Saturday, December 3

The play of KooKoo’s leading scorer, Aapo Vainikka has helped them jump to the first overall spot in Group F. Dynamic on both sides of the puck, he has notched 16 goals and 30 points through 14 games, sitting just outside the Top 10 scorers of his group. 

While Vainikka’s numbers are impressive, KalPa counters with the two leading scorers of their group, Veeti Pisto and Luukas Kokkonen. Pisto has found the back of the net an incredible 21 times over 14 games, and has added 25 assists as well. Kokkonen has struck for 21 goals and 37 points. 

Both players have also seen some playing time among U15 KalPa Musta’s club as well, showing that they have the talent to play up an age group.

Pete’s Pick: While KooKoo is riding a hotter streak, KalPa’s schedule has consisted of tougher opponents. However, KooKoo decisively beat KalPa E Keltainen earlier this season by scores of 5-1 and 9-1. KooKoo takes both games in a tight series.

Craig’s Pick: I think we’ll see a split in this one. Both teams have shown they’re the two best clubs in Group 4. KooKoo Black and KalPa Black appear to be sizably better than the seven other teams in their group. I fully expect them to trade blows in a heavyweight bout for group supremacy. Each team earns a dub this weekend.

Kings, Red Wings collide in 2011 Top 25 matchup

The No. 12 Vaughan Kings (22-5-1) and No. 25 Toronto Red Wings (13-7-5) will face off for the first time this season on Friday.

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Friday, December 2 @ 6:30 PM
Chesswood Arenas

Vaughan is eager to get back in the win column, as they were bested by the No. 1 Toronto Jr. Canadiens 6-1 last time out following a solid showing at the 2022 International Silver Sticks Tournament. The Red Wings have been unbeaten in three, settling for a 3-3 tie with the North York Rangers in their last tilt. 

The key to this game will be if Toronto’s defense can hold up to the explosive ability of the Kings to find the back of the net. A plus-93 goal differential is what most opponents have to contend with from Vaughan, compared to a plus-28 goal differential of Toronto. It will be a “bend, don’t break” mentality from Toronto. If they can weather the storm, a total team effort will be needed in order to take advantage of a key opportunity to build their resume. 

Pete’s Pick: Vaughan boasts one of the most prolific scoring corps of their birth year, and they will easily cruise past Toronto in this one 5-1.

Craig’s Pick: “Not so fast, my friend!” North York, Ontario, becomes Upset City on Friday. That’s right, the Kings are just 1-4-0 in their last five games against Top-25 teams. They played a lot of hockey — and a lot of good hockey — last weekend at Silver Sticks. This feels like a let-down spot to me, and the Red Wings take advantage, 4-2.

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One Team From Every Group With A Chance To Win The Tournament

A tournament that dates back to 1957, the International Silver Sticks is one of the oldest and longest running youth hockey events in North America. This season, some of the top teams from the United States and Canada clash at the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 birth years. They compete with the hopes of winning one of the most unique trophies in the sport; a full-size silver hockey stick. One hundred AAA-level teams will compete in the top divisions of the tournament. We dive deep into the field to offer one team from each Group with the potential to win the whole thing.

2007 Division

It’s called 15O in the U.S., and U16 in Canada. At the end of the day, they’re all 2007-born players. This year’s field consists of 30 teams, three of them from below the 49th parallel. The No. 2 Bishop Kearney, No. 9 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and unranked Cleveland Barons join a field that consists of the top nine teams from Canada. That’s right, from No. 1 Toronto Marlboros and No. 2 Don Mills Flyers down to No. 10 Halton Hurricanes, the 2007 division is stacked.

Group 1: Three teams have a legit shot at winning this group of five. Unranked Vaughan Kings could play spoiler, but it will come down to the matchup between Bishop Kearney and Halton. The Hurricanes have lost outright just once since September. They stay hot and win the group.

Group 2: This should come down to No. 7 Toronto Jr. Canadiens and No. 8 Southern Tier Admirals. The two teams played last month, and the Jr. Canadiens came out on top 3-1 at the Wendy Duffton Memorial Tournament. Nico Addy, Jake O’Brien and the Jr. Canadiens have a deep offense that gives them an advantage here.

Group 3: If the London Jr. Knights want to be talked about amongst the best in the country, they need to have a strong showing here. Ryan Roobroeck is one of the best forwards in the country, and he’s playing like it too. He has 45 goals and 77 points in 25 games for London and he alone could be enough for them to advance to the playoff rounds.

Group 4: Toronto Marlboros. That’s it. They’re the No. 1 team in Canada and should be considered one of the favorites to win the entire tournament. They’re 10-2-0 in the last month and should make quick work of pool play opponents. 

Group 5: Don Mills Flyers come in as the highest-ranked team in the field. However, they’ve already lost to pool opponents No. 6 York Simcoe Express 5-3 and unranked Toronto Young Nationals 4-3. The ‘favorite’ ain’t the favorite here; take the Nationals as an underdog in the pool, and potentially in the playoffs as well.

Group 6: It’s unfortunate that the No. 3 Mississauga Rebels and unranked Peterborough Petes open up pool play against each other. Odds are, the playoff bid for Group 6 will be decided on the first day of the tournament. Rebels run wild after an opening-day win and make a push deep into the final day of the weekend.

2009 Division

Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, Middlesex Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite represent the U.S. among the field of 25 teams. MFJR sits at No. 7 in the country and the trio of American teams will compete with No. 1 Don Mills Flyers, No. 2 Toronto Jr. Canadiens, No. 4 Sun County Panthers, No. 5 Toronto Red Wings, No. 6 Toronto Titans and No. 8 Toronto Marlboros.

Group 1: The Jr. Canadiens are the No. 2 team in the country, and should be one of the favorites to win Silver Sticks. The Toronto Red Wings may be the only team to put up a fight in pool play, and that’s a team that the Jr. Canadiens have already defeated 8-1 earlier this season. 

Group 2: Ottawa Myers Automotive has played a tough slate of games this season and competed with the best in the country. They survive a really close, scrappy group where multiple teams finish with multiple wins and multiple losses. Ottawa takes that survive-and-advance mentality into playoffs and may even steal a game there as well.

Group 3: Sun County and Mid-Fairfield will meet for the third time this season, each team with a win apiece. The winner advances to the playoff rounds — and the loser may, as well — but the Panthers win a close one in the final game of pool play to lock up a spot.

Group 4: One more upset to keep an eye on. Watch unranked Huron-Perth Lakers give No. 8 Toronto Marlboros all they can handle on Friday night. It just might be enough for the Lakers to pull an upset and steal an automatic playoff bid out of Group 4.

Group 5: Don Mills Flyers should go 4-0-0 in pool play. They might not get tested until the quarters or semifinal playoff rounds. On one hand, it can be beneficial to cruise into the final four. On the other, DMF runs the risk of an upset when facing the first signs of adversity. Nonetheless, the Flyers should be one of the last teams standing on Sunday.

2011 Division

Once again, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers will represent the U.S. in the 2011 Division just like their 2009-born counterparts. The difference here is PPE is No. 1 in the country and MFJR is No. 2, respectively. If the U.S. has a shot at winning a Silver Sticks tournament on Canadian soil, these two teams may lay claim to it. Five teams in the Canadian Top 10 will stand in their way, making the 2011 Division a close one to call.

Group 1: Mid-Fairfield, welcome to Canada! You get the No. 4 Vaughan Kings and No. 6 Oakville Rangers in pool play. It’s not a great draw for anyone in Group 1, but someone’s gotta survive. Advancing could come down to tiebreakers like goal differential or something wonky. Vaughan doesn’t give up much defensively, so maybe that gives them a leg up in a tight group.

Group 2: U.S.-based Rochester Coalition took top-ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens to overtime last month. They might’ve surprised Toronto in the first go-round but that won’t happen again. Toronto takes care of business in a big way.

Group 3: Little Caesars is a storied program that has had a lot of success throughout this tournament’s history. Expect a strong showing from its only team in the field at any group. However, the automatic bid goes through Halton Hurricanes — a game that Caesars can win, but just not expecting it.

Group 4: It’s Elgin-Middlesex Canucks’ group to lose, but it won’t come easy. Both Middlesex Islanders and Toronto Titans provide big obstacles to tackle. As long as the Jr. Canadiens aren’t in EMC’s way — they’ve handed the Canucks two of their three losses this season — Elgin-Middlesex has a real shot at winning the entire tournament.

Group 5: If the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite don’t survive pool play, it’s a bad sign for Americans. Pens Elite have played nine games this season against Canadian opponents in preparation for this tournament. They’re 6-3-0 in those games and if PPE can’t make a run here, USA may be shut out of a Silver Stick championship altogether.

2013 Division

It’s the smallest field of teams with just 20, at the youngest age group of the tournament. It’s the most diverse field of the tournament, though, with a third of the teams representing the USA. World Hockey Hub does not provide rankings for this age group, however, there’s one team from each group below with a chance to win it all.

Group 1: Quinte Red Devils
Group 2: Little Caesars
Group 3: Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers
Group 4: Toronto Jr. Canadiens

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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.

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.

‘07 Kiekko-Espoo, Jokerit set for weekend series

No. 8 Kiekko-Espoo (19-2-1) will square off with Jokerit (18-4-0) for a two-game series beginning on Friday. 

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Friday, November 25

Jokerit, the No. 5-ranked club in Finland, enters the weekend as winners of their last six. Leading the charge offensively has been Kalle Kulonummi with nine goals and 19 points and Rasmus Kämäräinen (13 goals, six assists). Rounding out the top three for the Helsinki-based program is Lauri Kouhia (nine goals, eight assists). 

K-Espoo, also winners of five straight, comes equipped with not only the third-best scorer of their group in Aapo Vanninen, but also the top goalie in Magnus Loponen. Vanninen sits behind Oliver Torkki and Matias Vanhanen of No. 4 Finnish-ranked HIFK with 10 goals and 36 points. 

One of the best at stopping the puck, Loponen has backstopped K-Espoo to the top of the group, compiling a 1.33 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. 

For Jokerit, the true challenge will be finding a way to beat Loponen. With evenly spread scoring at the top of their lineup, it will make secondary production among their bottom six forwards all the more crucial. 

Pete’s Pick: If Loponen starts both of these games, Jokerit will have a tough chance for victory. That being said, with balanced scoring throughout Jokerit’s  lineup, that could be their biggest factor of pulling out a win. The games will be close, but I see K-Espoo taking both. 

Craig’s Pick: With games on back-to-back days, you’re likely to see two different goalies get the start for both teams. The tandem of Sakari Savolainen and Pekka Korhonen have been very consistent for Jokerit. It’s a good one-two punch, and I like No. 5 Jokerit to earn a 1-1 split with top-ranked K-Espoo here.

Dynamo aims to prove themselves vs. CSKA

No. 5 Dynamo Moscow (14-6-0) will try to be the first 2010-born team to finally crack the armor of No. 1 CSKA Moscow (23-0-0) when they face off this Saturday. 

It will be the second game of their season series, with CSKA narrowly escaping with a 5-4 victory back in September.

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Saturday, November 26

In that game, Dynamo opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the first period before CSKA rattled off three unanswered goals. Dynamo would respond with three of their own to take a 5-3 lead. CSKA would add two late tallies to secure the win. 

Arseney Rychagov, one of Dynamo’s leading scorers with four goals and 15 points, assisted twice. Matvey Fedorenko found the back of the net as well, sitting second behind Rychagov with six goals and nine points. 

CSKA has arguably not only been one of the best teams among 2010-born Russian squads, but in all of youth hockey. On an unprecedented 23-game win streak, they have fared well against all types of competition. 

The main reason for their torrid start to the season? Goals…and lots of them. 

Averaging close to seven goals per game, no other team has managed to match that rate of production. Look no further than Nikita Sininen and Roman Andreev as the main sparks to the incredible attack. 

When looking at the stats the duo has been able to put up, one might think there is a typo at the numbers that pop up on the screen. Sininen’s 29 goals and 63 points and Andreev’s 30 goals and 55 points are spectacular figures. Consistency has been a factor in their ability to pile up the points. Sininen is riding a 16-game point streak, with Andreev’s personal streak at eight games. 

Given the way things played out last time these two went head to head, Dynamo knows they can score against CSKA and skate with them. If they do a better job at game management and tighten things up defensively, they could very well be the first ones to take down CSKA. 

Pete’s Pick: While it would be exciting to see someone finally take down CSKA, there are just too many things going right for them right now. Sininen and Andreev single handedly could take down Dynamo. Even if those two are not a factor, the remaining roster of talent is a tough task to handle for any club. 

Craig’s Pick: CSKA could run the table this year among 2010s. This game — and another matchup next month with Spartak — is among only a few true tests remaining on the schedule. I think Dynamo threatens with a lead early but CSKA’s offense gets them out of trouble with a 5-3 or 6-4 type of win.

Cross-border matchups highlighted at International Silver Stick

With the International Silver Sticks tournament kicking off over Thanksgiving weekend,, there will be plenty of cross-border matchups between Canadian and American teams to keep an eye on.

In the 2009 division, No. 7 U.S.-ranked Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers (20-7-3) are set to battle the No. 11 Sun County Panthers (17-2-0) on Saturday. 

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Saturday, November 26 @ 5:15 p.m. ET
Iroquois Park Sports Centre

Both teams are in the same group for round robin action, along with the Barrie Colts, Niagara North Stars and No. 16 Toronto Titans.

The two teams have split two other games this season, with the Jr. Rangers winning 6-3 on Oct. 29th. The Panthers pulled out a 3-2 victory the next day. With both clubs evenly matched, it will be interesting to see if the fireworks between them continue, this time in a tournament setting. 

Pete’s Pick: Given the fact that Mid-Fairfield was able to put up six goals in their first meeting, they have the ability to put tons of pressure on the Panthers’ defense. While Sun County kept things close in the second game, I see the Jr. Rangers putting up the goals again next time out for the win.

Craig’s Pick: Special teams will be the difference in this one. Three of Sun County’s six goals in the series with MFJR have come on the power play. In the 3-2 win, the Panthers were 2-for-2 on the man advantage while Mid-Fairfield was shut out in four attempts. This game follows a similar trend. I like Sun County to cash in with a couple PPGs and a 4-2 victory. Both could survive pool play and advance to the elimination rounds of Silver Sticks though.

Canucks, Islanders meet in Group 4 matchup

Switching to the 2011 division in the Silver Stick, the No. 9 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks (14-3-2) will lace up the skates against No. 22 Middlesex Islanders (15-4-1) on Friday. 

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Friday, November 25 @ 11:00 a.m. ET
Iroquois Park Sports Centre

The Canucks come into this game feeling great about the state of their game, currently in the midst of winning 10 straight. 

Both clubs tend to score more than allow goals, and their goal differentials are indicative of that. The Canucks bring a plus-54 goal differential into the afternoon while the Islanders have recorded a plus-40 goal differential.

Pete’s Pick: I think the Canucks edge out a win here. Simply put, they are feeling confident in every aspect of their game. Middlesex tends to play in lower-scoring affairs, so if its defense can hold, I can see this being a close one. Regardless, Elgin gets the win. 

Craig’s Pick: This one should be close, and likely low scoring. That favors Middlesex, in my opinion. They are 8-3-1 when producing three or fewer goals offensively. The Islanders are comfortable grinding out games, whereas EMC isn’t quite as battle tested. Nine of their 12 wins have been by three or more goals. If this turns into a dog fight, the Canucks could be in trouble. I like Middlesex to win a scrappy, ugly 3-1 game.

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