Teams of the Month

Nov 30, 2022 | Peter Rossi

Vilho Vantahalo, forward for 2007-born Finnish youth hockey team Tappara readies for puck drop.
Photo from leijonat.fi | Credit: Hanna Heinonen

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. 

Want more news from the top teams in youth hockey? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, highlights and more!

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