Big wins lead to movement across multiple birth years
2007-born No. 16 Chicago Mission made a huge statement with a 7-0 takedown of No. 17 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, boosting them up a spot in the U.S. and World Rankings. It was the biggest deficit Shattuck has experienced yet this season, proving that no team in the Top 10 for American programs is safe. After two solid wins against No. 25 Mount St. Charles, No. 20 Long Island Gulls too enjoyed a nice bump in the Top 25 for ‘07 teams.
Two ‘09 programs raised their standing as well in the respective Top 10s of their countries.
No. 12 Boston Jr. Eagles secured victories over No. 13 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite and No. 22 New Jersey Rockets. Overseas, No. 7 Dynamo St. Petersburg was led by top scorer Kiril Khristoforov into two matchups against teams directly ahead of them in the Russian standings. They passed with flying colors, defeating No. 8 SKA St. Petersburg and No. 9 SKA Strelna, 5-2 and 6-3, respectively. By passing them, Dynamo also secured the final spot in the Top 25 of ‘09 teams.
No country or birth year experienced more movement than ‘07 Finnish squads. Overall, seven teams switched positions, with the largest move from Lukko from No. 9 to No. 7. Ässät also re-entered the chat and settled into a Top-10 spot after missing out in the last rankings.
Mid-Fairfield, Nacka Crowned as New No. 1’s
Nacka HK recorded a 3-1-0 stretch since the last rankings update, with no win proving more vital than a 6-1 romp of No. 2 Täby HC. The victory propelled Nacka as the new No. 1 among ‘07 Swedes. It was a dominating performance right from puck drop. Täby netminder Vincent Österlund was peppered with 35 shots the entire contest, and three skaters from Nacka recorded multi-point performances. Standing out were Olle Jöstedt (1G, 2A), Olle Därth (1G, 1A) and Matiss Zilitis (2A). Felix Tolke stood firm in his crease, holding back the usually explosive offense of Täby to just the one goal on 25 shots.
The Top 10 of 2011-born U.S. clubs also experienced a shift at the top with the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers overtaking Pittsburgh Penguins Elite for the No. 1 crown. Both teams faced off against a healthy dose of Canadian competition, often against the same opponents. But when it came time to square off for U.S. bragging rights, Mid-Fairfield edged out a 3-2 win. The victory was the sixth in a row for the Jr. Rangers, while it also snapped the Penguins’ win streak at six.
Cracking the Top 10 Rankings
Hermes Punainen has not been a name frequently heard this season around the ‘08 World Rankings. Playing in Finland, they compete in a stacked group with teams such as No. 4 JYP, No. 7 Kärpät Valkoinen, No. 8 Kärpät Musta and No. 10 KalPa. A bubble team for a majority of this season, a big series or victory could finally allow Hermes to leapfrog into the Top 10. With two crucial wins over KalPa, the time finally came with Hermes making its mark at No. 9. A fellow Finnish team that also played their way into the Top 10 conversation was 2009-born Ilves Florida. They have been off to a pleasant start in the continuation of group play.
Another bubble team hovering around the ‘09 Top 10 for the U.S. has been the Florida Alliance. With two solid showings against No. 4 Penguins Elite and No. 8 Dallas Stars Elite, they squeezed their way into the fray, earning the No. 10 spot.
Two 2011 teams from the U.S. and Russia built up their resumes enough to cross the line from bubble to ranked distinction. No. 10 Chicago Mission defeated the likes of No. 6 Chicago Reapers, former No. 7 Windy City Storm twice and split a two-game set with No. 5 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies. Success that resulted in them taking the No. 10 position. An overtime victory against No. 1 Dynamo St. Petersburg gave No. 10 SKA St. Petersburg enough juice to make it into the top tier of Russia.
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, 2009, 2010 and 2011 birth years.