Shuffling in the standings in multiple birth years as season nears its end
The 2008-born No. 23 Los Angeles Jr. Kings, fresh off stellar showings at the T1EHL Playoffs and Pacific Districts, enjoyed a pleasant bump in the rankings. Downing some of the best teams their birth year has to offer provided the Jr. Kings a track to maneuver their way up the Top 10 U.S. teams. A run of play highlighted by holding off No. 25 Dallas Stars Elite in the 15O division TIEHL title game.
After falling out of the top spot in our last rankings, No. 1 Little Caesars is back at the top of the ‘07 Top 25 thanks to crucial victories over No. 17 Shattuck-St. Mary’s and No. 10 U.S.-ranked Compuware by a combined 19-0. Since their last loss — a 2-1 overtime defeat to No. 20 Long Island Gulls back on Feb. 2 — they have rattled off six consecutive wins.
But they are not the only team back in first place. Pittsburgh Penguins Elite settled back in as the No. 1 squad among 2011 programs by taking care of business against fellow Top 10 opponents. With recent wins against No. 2 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers, No. 8 Rochester Coalition and a two-game split with No. 5 Little Caesars, Pens Elite has proven once again they are the team to beat in the age group. With an impressive week of their own, the South Shore Kings nabbed the No. 10 spot, having beaten the likes of the Jr. Rangers twice and No. 9 Philadelphia Hockey Club.
No. 9 Anaheim Jr. Ducks and No. 10 Philadelphia Hockey Club are back in the ‘09 Top 10 after extended absences. With wins over No. 8 Dallas Stars Elite and No. 2 St. Louis Blues, the Jr. Ducks bolstered their resume enough to be back among the elite after spending the last rankings out on the bubble. Not seeing a spot in the Top 10 since back on Sept. 28th, Philadelphia slid back in as winners of their last 12 as well.
Jokerit, Kärpät up their stock in Finland
No. 8 Jokerit held their own in three major ‘07 matchups, including a two-game set against No. 1 Kiekko-Espoo. Lauri Kouhia and Rasmus Kämäräinen each collected four points in a 5-2 victory in the first tilt against K-Espoo. In the second, Kouhia and Kämäräinen notched multi-point games once more, but Jokerit dropped a thrilling 6-5 decision in the shootout. The team rebounded with a winning effort against No. 9 Ässät, 6-3 the next time out.
In the 2008 age group, No. 7 Kärpät Musta raised eyebrows with multiple Top 10 victories. First, they dispatched No. 8 Kärpät Valkoinen, 6-3. Next, a 4-1 winning effort against No. 9 KalPa. Taking care of the teams previously ahead of them usually leads to good things, and Musta is a prime example of that fact.
Not to be outdone, but there was one other Finnish club that worked its way back into the Top 10 among ‘08s. KJT Haukat Blue, absent from the Top 10 since Nov. 9th, paved their way back in with three wins; two of them against ranked programs. Handling No. 6 Pelicans Turkoosi and No. 1 HIFK, provided enough of a lift to get them into a No. 10 placement.
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.