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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Sisu Mustonen blazes 11-game point streak for KalPa

KalPa Keltainen’s current spot as the No. 9-ranked team in Finland among 2008-born teams can largely be attributed to the charge up front on offense by Sisu Mustonen

His 49 points across 11 contests not only lead his squad, but are also the most among peers in his group. Bringing a balanced attack, Mustonen’s 24 goals and 25 assists have helped transform KalPa from a bubble team at the outset of the season into one of the premier clubs of their birth year.

Mustonen tallied two goals and seven assists in a 16-2 win against Jokipojat Musta back on Oct. 23, his best outing of the season to date. If the points keep piling up for Mustonen, KalPa will reap the rewards of his stellar play with their continued climb towards the top of the Finnish rankings. 

‘06 Shattuck-St. Mary’s driven by Lee, Galanak

With No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s deep into its schedule for the 2022-23 season, two names have continually popped up on stat sheets.

That’s forwards Ryker Lee and Jack Galanak.

Lee has accumulated 28 goals and 58 points throughout the club’s first 28 games. A potent driver of play in the offensive zone, his approach to scoring has been at the heart of the team’s current nine-game win streak. Most importantly, the native of Wilmette, Illinois, does not let his aggressive play on the forecheck serve as a detriment to the team, as he has only been penalized for six minutes. 

While Lee brings balance to SSM’s attack, Galanak’s role is primarily that of playmaker. With 34 assists to his name, Galanak has made a living off serving up picture-perfect passes to his fellow Sabres. 

These two like-minded players steering the program’s explosive attack has led to a plus-134 goal differential for Shattuck.

Bear, Samels’ consistency aides ‘07 RHA Winnipeg

RINK Hockey Academy Winnipeg rank No. 10 among Canadian-based 2007 teams. A prominent force in their ability to remain among the top teams in their age group has been the dependability of Connor Bear and Avery Samels

It is often said that consistency is the ultimate factor in determining success. Bear’s performance in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CCSHL) through 11 games this season is a proper case study of that statement. 

Averaging 1.64 points per game, Bear has tallied seven goals and 18 points, which lead the team. Tied with Bear is Samels, whose offensive numbers include six goals and 12 assists.

While the accumulation of their points have been pivotal to the club’s success, what is more impressive is the clutch moments they have come in. 

The duo has combined for three game-winning goals. Additionally, Samels stands out with his performance on special teams. Leading Winnipeg with five power-play points, he has even made opponents pay on the penalty kill, striking for two shorthanded goals as well. 

The stability that both of these players bring to Winnipeg’s all-around offensive game is impressive. If they can continue, fellow CCSHL teams won’t be the only ones keeping an eye on them. 

‘10 CSKA Moscow’s undefeated run propelled by Siniken

CSKA Moscow is the No. 1 ranked team among 2010-born squads, and a large reason for that has been the astounding play of Nikita Siniken. 

Riding a 15-game point streak, Siniken has collected a staggering 27 goals and 59 points, which stand as tops among his teammates. In 14 of those games, Siniken tallied a minimum of three points.

Simply put, no one at his age level is even coming close to producing the numbers he has been putting up. CSKA should continue to dominate the scoreboard and build upon what is an already impressive 22-0-0 record. Siniken will obviously be a major factor in the team’s success as well.

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London Jr. Knights debut amongst the best teams in the world

They’ve been one of the most talked about teams on WHH social media channels, yet the 2007-born London Jr. Knights remained unranked through the first two months of the season. That was largely due to the team’s strength of schedule — or lack thereof — through the early stages of the season. 

While the Jr. Knights came out of the gate with an eight-game win streak, they claimed just one win over a team currently ranked in the Top 10 in Canada. That was a 7-2 drubbing of No. 10 RINK Hockey Kelowna on Oct. 7th. 

London has several shared opponents with teams ranked ahead of them in Canada. For instance, the Jr. Knights lost 4-3 in overtime to unranked Burlington Eagles. That’s the same team that No. 1-ranked Toronto Marlboros defeated 10-0 a week earlier. Additionally, London had tied unranked Chatham-Kent Cyclones 4-4 two weeks after No. 7 Southern Tier Admirals defeated the shared opponent 8-0.

The transitive property is far from the only measuring stick used by the rankings committee. However, it is utilized in the absence of head-to-head matchups. That, coupled with the team’s weaker schedule compared to its Canadian counterparts, had kept London out of the Top 10… until today.

A record that has swelled to 16-2-1, and performances that suggest the Jr. Knights are clearly the best team in ALLIANCE Hockey and have propelled the squad into the Canadian Top 10.

London will likely get a shot to prove itself against other ranked teams at the end-of-season OHL Cup. The top four teams from ALLIANCE earn an automatic bid to the U16 tournament in Toronto. The Jr. Knights should certainly expect to be in attendance, and will have plenty of opportunity to see how they stack up against Ontario’s best.

Södertälje Shoots Up The Sweden Rankings

Unranked through the first two months of the season, Södertälje climbed to No. 2 in Sweden, and No. 22 in the world after winning the Folke Filbyter Cup.

It is a monumental jump, but for good reason. 

They tied No. 1 Nacka HK 3-3 and tied No. 4 Linköping HC by the same score, all within a 24-hour span. Then, followed it up with a 2-1 over Linköping and a 4-3 win over No. 3 Täby HC. Four games with Sweden’s best, and Södertälje not only proved it belonged, but showed they were the best of the bunch with a Folke Filbyter championship.

They will be in action again at the Folke Lindström Cup during Holiday Break next month. That tournament is expected to have No. 6 Boo HC, No. 7 Malmö Redhawks, No. 8 Mälarö Hockey, and No. 10 Djurgårdens IF in attendance as well. 

Seven New Teams Crack the ‘08 World Rankings

Södertälje wasn’t the only 2008-born team to make a statement.

In fact, seven ‘08 clubs in total joined the mix among the Top 25 in the world. Canadian teams Elgin-Middlesex Canucks, Oakville Rangers and York Simcoe Express return to the Top 25 after a one-month hiatus. 

EMC is 20-1-1 overall, with 11 of those wins coming since the team fell out of the Top 25 in October. They also collected two wins over American Top-10 team Little Caesars 3-2 and 5-3 last weekend.

Oakville is another team that’s faced some international competition during its four-week absence from the Top 25. They tied the No. 1 team in the U.S., Chicago Mission 5-5 in Detroit at the Little Caesars Showcase. That weekend, the Rangers defeat American No. 6 and host team Little Caesars 4-3 as well as a 4-3 win over No. 10 Pittsburgh Vengeance.

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.

Big winners from the 2022 Shanahan International Tournament

Running for more than a decade now, the Shanahan International Tournament has brought top teams from Canada and the U.S. together for November hockey action. 

The 2022 edition of ‘The Shanahan’ didn’t disappoint, either, as a few U.S. programs were able to make the trek across the border. Here’s a look at how each of the divisions played out:

The 2008 York Simcoe Express wrapped up a tournament title with a victory over the North Central Predators in the U15 championship game. It was the final push to bump the Express into the Top 10 in Canada, as they move all the way up to No. 6 in our latest Canadian rankings.

York Simcoe started with a pair of 3-1 games. First, it was a win over the Toronto Titans and then a 3-1 loss to the Kingston Jr. Gaels. That lone loss of the tournament led to an offensive explosion in the next game. The Express found the back of the net eight different times in a 8-2 beatdown of the Ottawa Valley Titans.

They wrapped up preliminary-round play with a 2-1 win over the London Jr. Knights. In the semifinals, they played Ottawa Valley once again, and the Titans shrunk the final score from 8-2 down to 4-2.

In the championship, it was a nail-biter, but York Simcoe prevailed 1-0 over the North Central Predators. Finn Kearns scored the lone goal between the two clubs for the tournament-clinching tally.

Brayden Boyle and Jackson Halloran led the Express in scoring for the tournament. Both recorded six points for a point-per-game average at the Shanahan. 

Riley Barkey and Colin Ellsworth split time between the pipes; Barkey finished with a 3-0-0 record and a 1.67 goals-against avearge. 

Ryder Cali of the North Central Predators led the U15s in scoring with eight points in six games. Kingston’s Maxim Dube and J.C. Lemeiux both had seven points in five games, as did Ottawa Valley’s Jordan Perrier.

Cyclones Blow Through U14 Division

The Upper Canada Cyclones prevailed in the championship game of the U14 division, claiming a Shanahan International Tournament title with a 5-2 win over the Mississauga Reps.

Their tournament run started nearly the same way it ended, as they beat the Reps 5-1 in their first game on Friday. After that, the Cyclones topped the Hamilton Huskies 7-3 before dropping their lone game of the tournament Saturday. They fell to the No. 5 ranked team in the world, Toronto Jr. Canadiens 4-0.

Upper Canada rebounded with a 5-3 win over the Niagara North Stars Saturday evening to wrap up preliminary-round play. In the quarterfinals, they snuck past the Mississauga Rebels with a 3-2 win in overtime, before topping the Windsor Zone 5-4 in the semifinals.

The Reps had pulled off the upset of the tournament when they beat the Jr. Canadiens in a shootout in the semifinals, but they ran out of steam and fell to the Cyclones in the final.

Brody Robertson led the Cyclones in scoring with 10 points in seven games, while Carter Cuglietta had nine. 

Connor Haffner finished with a 3-1 record and a 3.25 goals-against average between the pipes; crease partner Beckett Campbell was 3-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA.

The Reps’ Cannon Thibodeau led the tournament in scoring with 13 points in seven games, while a pair of Jr. Canadiens — Noah Laus and Kingston Harris — had nine points in five games.

Jr. Canadiens Continue Dominance of 2010 birth year

In the 2010 birth year, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens emerged at the top of a crowded Shanahan Invitational field. 

There are three teams in the Canadian Top-10 Rankings who competed in the U13 division: the No. 1 Jr. Canadiens, No. 4 Don Mills Flyers and No. 9 Barrie Colts. Three other teams have been ranked previously or are knocking on the door in the Soo Greyhounds, Markham Majors and London Jr. Knights

Ranked No. 1 in Canada and for good reason, the Jr. Canadiens’ lone blemish on the weekend was a Friday 4-4 tie with the Greyhounds. Other than that, it was all additions to the win column for the Toronto squad. They topped Ottawa Valley 5-2, the Ajax-Pickering Raiders 5-0 and Barrie 5-0 to round out the preliminary rounds.

In the semifinals, they blanked the Don Mills Flyers 3-0, and in the finals, it was nearly the same, as the Jr. Canadiens beat the Markham Majors 4-1.

Unranked American Squad Tops 2011 Teams

Little Caesars crossed the border and claimed the Shanahan Invitational title at the U12 division. The 2011-born Michigan squad thrived against Canadian competition.

They were perfect through the preliminary round, beating Lambton Jr. Sting 4-0, Brantford 99ers 5-1, Niagara North Stars 6-1 and North York Rangers 5-2. 

Things were tighter in the elimination rounds. Caesars prevailed 4-3 over the Mississauga Reps in the quarterfinals. Then in the semifinals, they needed overtime to top the Rochester Coalition 5-4. In the title game, however, it was all LC, as they beat the Upper Canada Cyclones 4-1 to finish off a perfect tournament outing in Canada.

The 2012 birth year featured some top-notch competition, as well. The impressive finals matchup between the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and Toronto Marlboros went to the Jr. Canadiens in a 5-2 final.

The 2013 group featured a Little Caesars team capturing the title, as well. The 9U Michigan squad topped the Soo Jr. Greyhounds 3-1 in the final.

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More than 500 teams expected to be in the Chicago for CCM World Invite

The party starts Thursday, while the games officially start on Friday. This weekend, Chicago will be the busiest city on the planet when it comes to youth hockey. Roughly 528 teams will be in the Windy City for the annual CCM World Invite.

A total of 10,032 players will be playing in a combined 1,210 games from Nov. 4-6, as the tournament continues to claim the honor of the largest youth hockey event in the world. 

Because of those grandiose attendance numbers, most age groups are split into as many as three sub-divisions — Supertacks, Jetspeed and Ribcor. This provides a competitive balance for all teams involved. Because of this, our focus is narrowed to the Supertacks Divisions that include elite and top-level AAA teams.

A Loaded 2009 Division of Top Teams

We’re starting with the 2009 birth-year because it reads like a USA Hockey Nationals lineup, not a November tournament.

Six of the top 10 teams in the country are slated to compete in the World Invite. The No. 1-ranked Chicago Reapers will look to defend home ice, while being challenged by No. 2 St. Louis AAA Blues, No. 4 Windy City Storm, No. 6 Little Caesars, No. 7 New Jersey Rockets and No. 10 Chicago Mission.

An added bonus? The Huron-Perth Lakers, ranked No. 9 in Canada, crossing the border to join the crowded field.

Big games appear on the calendar rather quickly, as Little Caesars and New Jersey Rockets square off at 2:55 p.m. on Friday. Elimination rounds should be where the most drama happens, as these top teams will likely clash in playoffs.

Too Many Teams For One Division

Continuing down in age groups, the 2010 birth year has so many participating clubs that they made Supertacks Crosby and Supertacks Ovechkin Divisions. The 2010 Supertacks Crosby has the highest-ranked teams competing, and there are three from the American Top 10. The No. 3 Chicago Mission, No. 4 Anaheim Jr. Ducks and No. 10 Chicago Fury will clash in the top 2010 division. 

American teams like Florida Alliance, South Shore Kings and Top Gun Elite will travel from across the country to challenge the top group. Additionally, the Sun County Panthers join the mix from Canada. The trio of top-rated teams will have plenty of hurdles to clear if they want to win a World Invite title.

International Opponents In Illinois

In the 2011 Supertacks Division, the hometown Windy City Storm is the only ranked competitor — they check in at No. 5. The K&B Slovakia Stars surely don’t want to waste a trip all the way across the globe though. There are plenty of storied programs showing up in Chicago, as well. The 16-team field contains the Los Angeles Jr Kings, Sun County Panthers, Chicago Mission, St. Louis AAA Blues, Belle Tire, Oakville Rangers, among others.

Going back up the age groups, the 16U Supertacks field is wide open. None of the teams are ranked, but that doesn’t mean it’s a group to sleep on. Minnesota and Michigan both show up with all-star teams of high school hockey players in Minnesota SDP and Michigan Hockey Advancement, while the Wenatchee Wild and Elgin-Middlesex Canucks represent the Canadian contingent. There’s also three California teams in the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, Golden State Elite and Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs.

Home Cooking For Chicago Mission

The 15O age group — split into Crosby and Ovechkin divisions — has some ranked teams, on the other hand. In the Crosby Division, No. 1 ranked Chicago Mission looks to win a tournament without leaving home, while No. 3 Mount St. Charles arrives in the Windy City looking to make some noise. Those two will be challenged by No. 5 Little Caesars, and a bevy of other squads looking for some hardware. Watch out for Minnesota SDP, Minnesota Blue Ox and Team Wisconsin, among others.

And to round things out, the 2008 age group is led by No. 2 Chicago Mission. They are the only ranked team out of the 16 participants, but nonetheless, they will have challenges. The Burlington Eagles, Lambton Jr. Sting, and Markham Waxers all come in from Canada, while in-state rivals Chicago Fury and Team Illinois will try to make things rough, too.

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Jr. Kings, Sun County Panthers, Jr. Flyers and Dallas Stars Elite shine against top competition

More than 100 teams showed up in Boston, Massachusetts, USA this past weekend for the Eastern Exposure Cup. The top teams in each birth year played in the Blue Division, and that’s where our attention is focused. Many divisions featured some interesting crossover battles between top American and Canadian teams.

Los Angeles Jr. Kings Take 2008 Division

The 2008 Blue Division went to the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, a squad that was named world champions earlier this calendar year. One team slated to compete in the Eastern Exposure had a higher ranking than the Kings, but they ended up sorting that one out on the ice.

The Jr. Kings squared off with the No. 3-ranked Windy City Storm in the ’08 Blue Division final. The boys from Hollywood pulled off a 2-0 victory to finish the tournament with a perfect 5-0-0 mark.

Los Angeles also beat Ottawa Myers Automotive 6-0 and the CT Wolfpack 2-1 in preliminary-round play before topping the Ottawa 67’s 3-2 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, they played the Boston Jr. Eagles to a 1-0 final score, before the big showdown with Windy City in the final.

There, Keegan Davis and Tyus Sparks scored first-period goals, and a late tally from the Storm wasn’t enough as the Kings prevailed 2-1.

Sparks led the team in scoring with eight points in five games. Logan Stuart had seven, and Noah Davidson had five. 

Sascha Pitaev and Oliver Kanat split time between the pipes. Kanat played in three games to a 1.00 goals-against average and one shutout. Pitaev, meanwhile, played in two games and finished with a 0.50 goals-against and one shutout, as well.

Sparks led the tournament in scoring, as well. A pair of Windy City Storm forwards — Nathan Hauad and Jack Hextall — both had seven to match Stuart.

Sun County Panthers Bring 2009 Championship Back To Canada

The Sun County Panthers — ranked No. 3 in Canada — scratched and clawed their way through the 2009 Division, emerging victorious with a 4-2-0 record.

After starting things off with a 4-3 win over Florida Alliance, the Panthers dropped a 3-2 decision to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights in their second game of Friday’s action.

Saturday started with another tough outing for Sun County, as the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers beat them 6-3. 

In the elimination rounds, however, Sun County sorted things out. First, they topped RSG Academy 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Then, in the semifinals, they were able to get some revenge, topping Mid-Fairfield 3-2 to advance to the finals.

A date with the United States’ No. 9 ranked Boston Jr. Eagles served as the 2009 Blue Division finale. There, the top-ranked Canadian team in the field tangled with a Top-10 U.S. team. Sun County played its most complete game of the weekend, blanking the hometown squad 3-0. 

Sun County found success in Beantown with a balanced attack on offense. Standout forward Jaakko Wycisk recorded nine points in the team’s six games. He was the only player on the Panthers’ roster to register more than a point per game. Alexander Lisi recorded five goals and five total points, while Eamon Edgar had three points in the six games. Jordan Maine led the scoring from the blue line, leading the Panthers’ defensemen in scoring with three total points.

Daniel Cinelli took care of the majority of the crease duties; he registered a 1.75 goals-against average and one shutout over his four games.

Trevor Daley, Jr. led the ’09 Blue Division in scoring with 10 points in only five games, while the aforementioned Wycisk was second in the scoring race. Brady Scali of RSG Academy had eight points in only five games.

Five players had seven points — Don Mills Flyers forward Caiden Clair, Florida’s Harrison Hecker, Jr. Eagles’ Carter Meyer, Mid-Fairfield’s Braydon Sisco and Florida’s Reese Tracy

Aside from Sun County’s Cinelli, Boston’s Daryn Szabo led the goaltenders with a 1.56 goals-against average and one shutout in six games played.

Szabo, and the Jr. Eagles, deserve an extra tip of the cap for running through a gauntlet of ranked teams on their way to the finals. Their tournament experience included three games against World Top-25 teams. It started with a 3-2 win over the No. 18 Toronto Marlboros. Then, the Jr. Eagles dropped their second game 3-1, against the No. 4 ranked Don Mills Flyers. On Saturday, Boston rebounded with a 4-0 win over No. 25 Windy City Storm and a 5-3 win over unranked Ottawa Myers Automotive in the quarters.

In the semifinal, they got revenge on Don Mills, taking down the top Canadian ’09 team by a final score of 4-1.  

Top-ranked Jr. Flyers Fend Off All Challengers

In the 2010 Blue Division, the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers took care of business. Entering as the only team in the field ranked, the Jr. Flyers had a tall task at hand of proving their standing. They did just that with a perfect 6-0-0 record against all challengers on the weekend.

On Friday, they posted a pair of 5-0 blankings against Kuper Academy and the Long Island Gulls. Saturday, the shutout streak continued, as they beat the New Jersey Rockets 4-0. In the first playoff game, they gave up a goal — four, in fact — but scored seven of their own to take down the Toronto Nationals.

In the semifinals, Philadelphia had a rematch with the Gulls, and this time it was a 4-0 final. To wrap things up, the Flyers took down the North Jersey Avalanche 7-3.

Bo Christini led the Flyers in scoring with 11 points in six games. Colin MacCormack had nine, and T.J. Petropoulos had eight. Andrew Devyatkin, Henry Albu and Matty Lynn all had six points across the six games.

The Flyers’ goaltending duties were split between Charles Liu and Bryan Schwartz, and they were both dominant. Liu finished with a 1.00 goals-against average and two shutouts in three games, and Schwartz finished with a 1.33 goals-against average and two shutouts in three games, as well.

North Jersey’s Christopher Pinko led the field in scoring with 12 points in six games; teammate William Losauro had 10. Ty McGroarty of the Philadelphia Hockey Club had eight points in five games.

Dallas Stars Elite Outlast All Other Ranked Teams

There were four Top-10 U.S. teams in the field of teams at the 2011 Blue Division. The Dallas Stars Elite were the lowest ranked of four heading into the weekend, but that may need to change.

With a 4-2-0 record, the Stars took home the ’11 title, capping it off with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Jr. Kings.

The Jr. Kings weren’t ranked at the time, but they did plenty of the heavy lifting. First, they defeated U.S. No. 3 Boston Jr. Terriers in the semifinals. Then, the knocked off U.S. No 2 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers in the semifinals. They also took down the Stars in preliminary-round play.

For the Stars, it was wins over the U.S. No. 7 Middlesex Islanders, No. 8 Philadelphia Hockey Club and Lehigh Valley Phantoms along the way. Easton Scott led the Stars in scoring with 10 points in six games;  Ethan Zhang had five and Payne Deloach had four. Brooks Del Signore played in four of the games for the Stars, registering a 3.08 save percentage along the way.

A pair of Mid-Fairfield forwards led the tournament in scoring in Jackson Liao and Peter Lyden. They both scored 15 points in only five games. 
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One youth hockey club from each of the five major countries that owned October

With the 2022-23 season well underway, 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.”

UNITED STATES: 2009 St. Louis AAA Blues

The ’09 St. Louis AAA Blues experienced a fantastic month of October, going 12-2-0. They’ve held firm in the top two spots among U.S. teams since the rankings began for this season. The Blues have fared extremely well against most competition. A statement highlighted by their two-game sweep of No. 22 Dallas Stars Elite just two weeks ago. 

Other highlights include two victories against No. 25 Windy City Storm. St. Louis also split two contests with a Top-10 U.S. team, the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, a 6-4 loss and 5-3 win. 

CANADA: 2008 Vaughan Kings

Finding themselves ranked the No. 1 team among Canadian ‘08 clubs, the Vaughan Kings almost went unbeaten in October. The lone ‘blemish’ of their 12-1-0 record for the month was a 3-2 overtime loss to the North York Rangers on Oct. 2. 

While the Kings began the month with a stretch of games against Canadian teams, the latter half of the month saw a change. Vaughan has faced off against some of the best the U.S. has to offer as well. Cross-border matchups are always exciting, and Vaughan showed they can handle even the top teams from another country. 

Taking part in the Little Caesars Invitational, they went 5-0-0 en route to the championship. They beat the likes of American ranked No. 6 Little Caesars, No. 10 Pittsburgh Vengeance, and No. 2 Chicago Mission.

SWEDEN: 2010 Viggbyholms IK

Viggbyholms IK has been lights out since the start of the youth hockey season, playing to a 16-0-1 record. While they did not have a busy month of October, their performance has been undeniable. 

Kicking off their games with a modest showing at the Farsta Games, they collected back to back gold medals at the Nicklas Backstrom Cup and Nordic Youth Trophy, going undefeated at both. 

FINLAND: 2007 Kiekko-Espoo

With group play in full swing in Finland, Kiekko Espoo’s ‘07 team has gotten off to a stellar start. A 10-0-0 month has added to their overall 14-1-1 record. 

Some may say that they have yet to face the top teams in their group, but you can only play the games that are scheduled. In October, they handled matchups against KalPa, Jokipojat, K-Vantaa, HYRI and HIFK. Aided by their explosive offense, which tallied 27 goals across six games, while only allowing seven.

An offense that is ignited by the two-way play of forwards Aapo Vanninen (6G, 15A) and Aleksi Kilpeläinen (11G, 9A). 

Ranked No. 1 in Finland and No. 10 in the world, they are still the team to beat. 

RUSSIA: 2010 CSKA Moscow

Much has been said of the 2010-born CSKA Moscow squad, and rightfully so. What they have been able to accomplish so far this season is nothing short of spectacular, currently sitting with a 21-0-0 record. 

CSKA continued their winning ways against their fellow Russian programs this month. Victories over top Russian teams No. 4 Vityaz Podolsk, No. 2 Spartak Moscow. Wins over Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Krylia Sovetov rounded out October as well.

Look no further than the dynamic duo of Nikita Sinikin (27G, 30A) and Roman Andreev (27G, 22A). Their ability to score seemingly at will has propelled CSKA to their position at the top. 

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Top-10 Finland matchup highlights high-powered offenses in Games of the Week

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.

HPK, Tappara meet in ‘08 clash

Fresh off debuting in the 2008 Finland rankings, HPK Oranssi (8-3-2) will look to prove their position is no fluke when they meet Tappara Musta (9-3-1) for a two-game series this weekend.

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Saturday, November 5 @ 4:45 p.m. EEST

These two teams faced off against one another just last month, with HPK winning an offensive showdown 6-5. A victory that helped boost their profile in the world rankings. Heading into the third period clinging to a 4-3 lead, HPK doubled that margin early in the third period. 

However, Tappara would strike twice in 13 seconds to knot things up 5-5. With just over three minutes remaining in the game, Tuomas Sompii tallied HPK’s sixth goal of the game for the eventual game-winner. 

HPK likes to score in bunches, filling the net for five-or-more goals in four of their eight games thus far. Everi Sipilä’s balanced attack leads all HPK skaters with 18 points (9G, 9A). Nico Cape (6G, 7A), Jimi Koivisto (5G, 5A) and Mico Hjerp (2G, 8A) round out the top of the squad. 

Tappara is supplied with a potent attack of their own, averaging at least four goals across all eight of their matches. HPK will be tasked with shutting down the explosive attack of Petteri Sakki. He has compiled an impressive 33 points (20G, 13A) in just eight games. 

With loaded offenses like these two programs, this game has the makings of being just as explosive as their first meeting.

‘07 cross-border battle between Mount St. Charles, Mississauga

A top-25 matchup kicks things off this week between 2007-born teams No. 18-ranked Mount St. Charles (15-3-0) and No. 3-ranked Mississauga Senators (15-7-1). 

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Friday, November 4 @ 8:00 a.m. ET
LECOM Harborcenter

Mount has yet to suit up for any competition against programs from Canada. The Sens, on the other hand, have already experienced their fair share of American opponents. 

Mount has exclusively played against teams from their country to this point in the season, and this upcoming tilt serves as an opportunity for them to test their talent against a premier team.

Facing off against some of the best from the U.S., Mississauga has skated against ranked clubs such as the Chicago Mission and Little Caesars. In contests against American teams, the Senators have compiled a 2-4-0 record. 

In their last time out, the Mounties swept No. 11 Bishop Kearney Selects in a two-game series. They won 5-4 in overtime on Saturday, and then topped BK again the following day 6-2 in more convincing fashion.

It will be 11 days between games for Mississauga. They haven’t played since a 1-1 tie to Mississauga Reps last Monday. Expect a low-scoring contest here, as the Reps have allowed just 1.83 goals against in their last six games

2010 CSKA Moscow continues to roll 

No. 1 CSKA Moscow (20-0-0) will look to build upon their incredible run of play against No. 9 SKA Strelna (11-5-0) on Tuesday. 

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Tuesday, November 1 

Historically, these two teams have only met eight times, with CSKA emerging as the victor each time. Tasked with stopping the juggernaut will be Strelna’s goaltending duo of Egor Sokolov and Ivan Savin. While they attempt to prevent goals, Daniil Gladikov (10G, 12A) and Timur Kazakov (12G, 9A) will lead the attack on their opponent. 

CSKA’s Nikita Sinikin (27G, 30A) and Roman Andreev (27G, 22A) will be the toughest forwards to slow down. Each skater has been able to seemingly score at will. Both equipped with great hands and lethal shots, they can do damage from anywhere on the ice. 

If Strelna can pull out a win, it will serve as a major point of strengthening its resume. Perhaps more importantly, it can serve as a notice to other teams that CSKA is indeed beatable. 

2011 Mid-Fairfield, Boston Terriers set for two

Two Eastern Hockey Federation (EHF) foes will take part in a two-game series this weekend at Chelsea Piers in Connecticut. The No. 16 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers (12-0-1) and No. 17 Boston Terriers (11-2-0) — both winners of six straight — come into this contest in the hopes of separating from one another. 

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Saturday, November 5 @ 11:30 a.m. ET
Chelsea Piers

Mid-Fairfield’s plus-91 goal differential is a daunting stat on paper. However, their opponent in the Terriers have a track record of holding their own as well. Boston has built a plus-41 differential over its last seven games, and hasn’t allowed more than two goals against in more than two weeks.

With two games scheduled just three hours apart, tensions between these two could be high on Saturday. The matchups give the youth hockey world back-to-back looks at two top American teams.

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Best from 2008-2011 birth years meet in Boston 

This weekend, 126 youth hockey teams are taking over Boston, Massachusetts.

Their reason for invading Beantown? The Eastern Exposure Cup.

Bringing together top teams from across the United States and Canada, the Eastern Exposure Cup offers a tremendous look at some of the younger birth-years as the hockey season really gets rolling in North America. The 2008 birth-year serves as the oldest group for the Eastern Exposure Cup – individual birth-years go all the way down to 2013. 

Thirteen of those 126 teams appear on the World Hockey Hub’s rankings for the U.S. and/or Canada, and they are all spread out across the 2008-2011 birth-years to offer great insight into who’s moving up and who’s moving down in future rankings. 

Those are the birth-years we’re watching in Massachusetts this weekend, and we’re confident there will be some great hockey on display.

In the 2008 birth-year, two top-five teams will be competing – the No. 3-ranked Windy City Storm and the No. 5-ranked Los Angeles Jr. Kings. It was quite a trip for the Jr. Kings, who carry an unbeaten streak dating all the way back to Sept. 5 into the tournament. Meanwhile, Windy City quickly gets tested by the Long Island Gulls and Ottawa Myers Automotive in Friday’s games alone.

With the likes of the Boston Jr. Eagles, Dallas Stars Elite, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, Ottawa 67’s and more, the ‘08s have a lot of teams to watch this weekend.

At the 2009 birth-year, there are three teams from the latest U.S. Top 10, and three teams from the latest Canadian Top 10 on the World Hockey Hub, which hopefully means plenty of cross-over action for comparison purposes. The No. 4 Windy City Storm, No. 7 New Jersey Rockets and No. 9 Boston Jr. Eagles represent the top American clubs, while the No. 1 Don Mills Flyers, No. 3 Sun County Panthers and No. 5 Toronto Marlboros represent the Canadian teams to beat.

That’s right – three of the top five Canadian teams in ’09 birth-year in one tournament – on the other side of the border. When you consider some of the other teams participating who could very well be in the Top 10 sometime this season – Mid-Fairfield, the Boston Jr. Eagles, the Boston Jr. Terriers, etc. – you can certainly expect some fireworks at the Eastern Exposure Cup.

The ‘09 Jr. Eagles and Marlboros kicked off tournament action last night, with the Jr. Eagles edging out a 3-2 victory in a thriller. 

The 2010 birth-year features just one ranked team in the No. 7 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. Like the other age groups, however, it’s deep in brand names like the North Jersey Avalanche, Seacoast Performance Academy, Team Illinois and New Jersey Rockets, so we’re still expecting stiff tests for the Flyers and great hockey action. 

In the 2011 group, four American squads check in on the WHH rankings – No. 2 Mid-Fairfield, No. 3 Boston Jr. Terriers, No. 9 New Jersey Colonials and No. 10 Dallas Stars Elite. Mid-Fairfield gets quite a challenge with the Quinte Red Devils coming on from Canada for Game 1, the Philadelphia Hockey Club taking them on in Game 2 and the L.A. Jr. Kings showing up for Game 3.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Colonials and the Boston Jr. Terriers play in one of the first games on Friday. Top-10 showdown before most are done stopping by Dunkin’ for their first or second coffee.

Stay tuned for a wrap-up of the Eastern Exposure Cup, as we can’t wait to see how some of these cross-country battles play out.