One youth hockey club from each of the five major countries that owned December
Five teams closed out the 2022 calendar year with impressive runs in December. It was a big stretch for 2007-born teams like Kiekko-Espoo, Little Caesars, Toronto Marlboros and Täby HC. Not forgetting the performance from ‘06 Spartak Moscow, either. WHH takes a look at a few programs across all countries and birth years that established themselves among the best of the best in youth hockey.
UNITED STATES: 2007 Little Caesars
2007-born Little Caesars has been on an absolute tear. Heading into the month of December, they were in the midst of a 35-game unbeaten streak. They carried that hot stretch into last month, where they rattled off 11 straight victories. During that time, they bested two Top-10 teams. No. 10 U.S.-ranked Compuware fell 9-3 and No. 7 Canadian-ranked Southern Tier Admirals, defeated by a final score of 4-1.
Riding that momentum, they then were tasked with a semifinal showdown at the Marlies Classic against the No. 1-ranked ‘07 team in the world, Toronto Marlboros. While Caesars may have come up short in the contest, they didn’t go down without a fight, being eliminated 4-3 in overtime. That was only Caesars’ third loss of the season, bringing their overall record to an impressive 45-3-2.
FINLAND: 2007 Kiekko-Espoo
It was generally a slow month across all birth years for Finnish youth hockey, but top-ranked 2007-born Kiekko-Espoo laced up its skates for five matchups. Winners of all five, the highlight of their schedule was a tilt against No. 4 HIFK on Dec. 10.
In a back-and-forth-affair, K-Espoo placed its faith in Aapo Vannine and Tomas Racz, who both tallied a goal and assist each. Across the club’s five victories of the month, they outscored opponents 35-9.
Kiekko now sits at 25-3-1 overall for the season.
CANADA: 2007 Toronto Marlboros
While the victory against Little Caesars was one of the highlights of their December, the Marlboros experienced much more success than that. After kicking off the month with back-to-back losses against No. 10 Mississauga Senators and Vaughan Kings, they got back on track rattling off 12 wins.
Their biggest victories occurred in the Marlies Holiday Classic, where after edging Caesars, the No. 11 world-ranked Halton Hurricanes stood in the Marlies’ way. Staying true to their reputation of an offensive powerhouse, they rolled past Halton 4-1 to nab the gold medal.
Ending the month with a 12-2-0 record and primed with a plus-145 goal differential. The Marlboros will look to continue their extensive win streak into the New Year.
SWEDEN: 2007 IFK Täby HC
No. 12 IFK Täby HC further proved in December that their spot in the world rankings is no fluke.
And that when it comes to ‘07 Swedish teams, they stand out above the rest.
In six games the club had in group play, five were against programs in the Top 10 of Sweden. First, they topped No. 8 SDE Hockey with a 7-4 win. Then Täby topped Solna SK, 4-0.
‘The season of giving’ continued as Täby handed out , a 7-3 decision to No. 9 Flemingsbergs IK. Then, followed it up with a 4-1 showing against No. 2 Djurgårdens IF. Putting a stamp on the 6-0-0 stretch were victories over No. 5 Södertälje and No. 3 Nacka HK.
Viggo Björck and Isac Nilsson stand as the current team leaders in point scoring. Björck tallied six goals and 15 points. Nilsson just behind compiled six goals and 10 points across the team’s six games.
RUSSIA: 2006 Spartak
No. 4 Spartak Moscow did not have the busiest December, but they made sure to get results in the five games they played. Garnering a 4-1-0 record, three of their matchups came against teams not only in the Top 10 of Russia, but among the Top 25 in the world rankings.
A close 3-2 win against No. 5 Dynamo Moscow would kick off their slate of games. But their next meeting with No. 2 CSKA Moscow would be a frenetic, high-scoring affair, with Spartak escaping with a 6-5 win.
No. 18 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl would end Spartak’s eight-game winning streak. The next weekend, Spartak knocked off Lokomotiv 2004 Yaroslavl in a 3-1 decision. One final win, 4-2 over No. 7 Krylia Sovetov, would close out the month for Spartak.
Ivan Kosarev led the team in December with six goals and 13 points. Overall leading scorer Silantiy Kozhushko would pot four goals and nine points.