Marlboros and Titans headline this week’s most important matchups in youth hockey
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.
‘09 Titans, Marlboros Battle in All-Ontario Matchup
This week’s matchups have a recurring trend: revisiting exciting matchups from earlier in the season. The No. 4 Toronto Titans (26-3-4) will face off against the No. 10 Toronto Marlboros (26-7-3) on Friday for the second time.
|Friday, December 23 @ 8:40 PM ET
Etobicoke Ice Sports 3
Back on Nov. 7, the two sides skated to a 2-2 draw. Using that result as a springboard, the Titans would go on to win their next seven games before falling 4-1 to No. 10 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Following that loss, they are back on a current five-game unbeaten streak.
The Marlboros are riding high on a 12-game winning streak, with six of them coming during a championship run of the U14 division at the 2022 Vaughan Kings Classic.
With each program feeling good about its game, this is one of the more intriguing games to keep an eye on. Both love to pile the pucks in the net, while not giving much in their own defensive ends. Substantial goal differentials will be brought to the table as well; plus-83 for the Titans and plus-74 or the Marlboros.
Pete’s Pick: You can’t get much closer than these two teams, and this was the hardest one to try and figure who comes out on top. Despite probably still feeling good about that gold medal from the Vaughan Classic, the Titans have had a tougher schedule the past few weeks and have come out relatively unscathed. It will be a nailbiter, but they edge out a 3-2 win.
Craig’s Pick: Such a tough matchup. These are two teams that religiously show up every single time. You don’t see the Marlboros getting run out of the rink this season and the Titans’ worst outing is a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. They both just battle and compete hard, and I expect this matchup to be as close as the first. Give me the Titans by the thinnest of margins.
‘06 Krylia Sovetov squares off with Lokomotiv
World-ranked No. 17 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (11-6-0) will look to get revenge on No. 7 Krylia Sovetov (13-5-1) for a 6-3 loss they suffered back on Oct. 23. The teams will meet for the second game of their season series on Christmas Day.
|Sunday, December 25
The mood, however, will be anything but merry.
And Lokomotiv will be feeling good about themselves, coming in fresh off a 4-2 win against No. 4 Spartak Moscow.
Vitaly Korolyuk (7G, 12A) and Ivan Kirilin (14G, 4A) lead Krylia Sovetov’s production. Both showed how hard their strong offensive game is able to contain as they each garnered a goal and assist in the 6-3 victory.
In an attempt to counter, Lokomotiv will continue to rely on Vadim Dudorov (5G, 18A) and Andrey Elezov (10G, 8A). The team’s third-leading scorer, Alexey Elblaus (7G, 9A), was held to just one assist by Krylia’s stifling defense.
Pete’s Pick: I think that Krylia has a bit more firepower throughout their lineup as demonstrated in their last win vs. Lokomotiv. I expect them to nab a second win in the season series, in a much closer 5-4 game.
Craig’s Pick: Both goaltenders for Krylia are solid. Ivan Shantsev was in net for the 6-3 win, so he’s already proven he can lead Krylia to victory over Lokomotiv. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Vladimir Pechenin get the nod either, as he’s coming off a strong performance against No. 1-ranked CSKA Moscow in a 3-2 overtime loss. Either way, I think goaltending is good enough to get Krylia the dub.
‘07 Russian clubs meet with Top-25 spots on the line
No. 4 Dynamo Moscow (12-4-0) hopes that a meeting with No. 5 CSKA Moscow (10-4-2) will solidify their spot in not only the Russian Top 10 but also in the Top 25 World Rankings.
|Thursday, December 22
It has been a split season series thus far, with each team having a 5-2 win in their pocket. After squaring off in their first two tilts in August and September, they have not faced each other since. Thursday’s matchup will be an opportunity to rekindle old feelings in what will surely be an emotional game.
For Dynamo, Mikhail Melikov (2G, 1A) and David Dubinin (1G, 2A) have led the way in the previous contests. In total on the season, Melikov has collected 17 goals and 30 points. Dubinin has tallied seven goals and 15 points. Danil Shishkin, the team’s third leading scorer with four goals and 14 points, has been held relatively quiet.
CSKA’s big three on offense have been showing up on the scoresheet. Roman Risvanov (22G, 6A) and Nikita Esipov (6G, 22A) each have 28 points. Nikita Mikhailov, who has found the back of the net three times in the previous two games vs. Dynamo has tallied seven goals and 12 points this season.
Pete’s Pick: With both sides pretty much even on offense, I think this one comes down to goaltending. German Dobrovolsky backstopped Dynamo in the first game and they went with Kirill Golubev in game 2. CSKA will most likely continue to roll with Petr Andreyanov between the pipes, as he has started both games prior. Going back to Dobrovolsky will give Dynamo a little extra boost in confidence to take a 4-2 win.
Craig’s Pick: The ‘Big 3’ get it done for CSKA. Risvanov and Esipov in particular have been playing great hockey. Both are coming off strong showings at the Federal District Championships last month that featured top players in the country. I like CSKA convincingly, 5-2.