‘08, ‘09 Penguins Elite teams jump up world rankings
For a majority of the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite youth hockey program has had several teams among the Top 10 of their respective birth years.
The No. 16 ‘08 squad found a spot in the World Rankings for the first time this season. A sound 7-2 victory over No. 20 Bishop Kearney Selects played a role in that. Xavier Lieb tallied five points (2G, 3A) and Michael Ferentino notched two goals of his own. Even more impressive was Chris Nichols turning aside 27 of 29 shots he faced, holding the normally dynamic Selects offense in check.
For the No. 12 ‘09 Pens Elite, they too found themselves newcomers to the World Rankings. They put their scoring to the test against No. 9 U.S.-ranked Little Caesars and No. 13 Chicago Mission. Both contests were passed with ease by scores of 5-1 and 7-1, respectively. Both wins were also rebounds back into the win column for PPE, as each came after a defeat.
SKA Silver Lions boost profile among ‘06 Russians
No. 4 SKA Silver Lions gutted out an impressive 6-4 final against No. 5 SKA Strelna, raising them in the Russian and World Rankings. It was also the final contest in the five-game regular season series between the two clubs. Strelna had won the previous two meetings in overtime, so the Silver Lions were able to grab a much-needed win in the finale.
Splitting a two game set with No. 8 Salavat Yulaev was enough for Metallurg Magnitogorsk to claim the No. 10 spot. It is their first time among the Top 10 in Russia for this campaign. Salavat took the first game, with Metallurg securing a 2-1 win in game 2.
‘10 Markham, North Shore lead number of clubs to crack Top 10s
The Top 10 for 2010-born Canadian teams saw two new clubs join the fray. No. 9 Markham Majors and No. 10 North Shore Winter Club have found success in recent weeks.
In the midst of a six-game winning streak, the Majors managed back-to-back wins against the North York Rangers and No. 5 Don Mills Flyers last week. Shutting out one of the best attacks of any Canadian program is no easy feat, but credit to the Majors for finding a way.
North Shore replaced a fellow Western Canadian club, the Semiahmoo Ravens, in this week’s rankings. The two teams met for the fifth time this season, with the Ravens falling 8-4. It was the first victory in the series for North Shore, with Semiahmoo winning three others. The two sides tied 3-3 on Nov. 27.
The Rochester Coalition experienced a boost into the No. 9 spot among 2011 U.S. teams with a sweep of the No. 2 Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers. The Coalition have had the Rangers’ number all season, winning all three games they have faced off in by a combined score of 11-6. Rochester is in the midst of a three-game win streak that the two victories against Mid-Fairfield kicked off.
Heading overseas, Kärpät Valkoinen has entered the chat for 2008-born Finnish squads. Off to an undefeated 5-0-0 record in the continuation of group play, their latest sets of wins came across some stiff competition. First was a 4-3 win against No. 10 Kärpät Musta before shutting out No. 9 KalPa.
Atte Toivonen led the way with four points (2G, 2A) across the two games. Lukas Kärenlampi nabbed a 38-save shutout against KalPa and stopped 37 of 40 against Musta.
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.