Week 22 MHR Games of the Week
By Scott Lowe - MyHockeyRankings.com
Each week going forward we will try to highlight some of the upcoming weekend’s top matchups based on our most recent MYHockey Rankings. If you have a matchup to recommend to us for a given week, please don’t hesitate to send your suggestions to Scott@MyHockeyRankings.com. Photos are always appreciated and will be used when possible either to highlight the preview on the website or via our social media accounts. And we are always trying to build our library of hockey photos from around the continent.
Here are your Week 22 top matchups:
The Northeast Pack features many of the top U.S. boys' programs competing between the ages of 14 and 18U. Their playoffs are already underway in Pittsburgh and are featured this week. Last year, 12 of the league’s 20 teams spread out over the four age groups were ranked among our MYHockey Rankings Top 10 in the U.S. at the Tier 1 level.
USA Boys 15U Tier 1 – Northeast Pack Playoffs
#4 South Kent Selects Academy vs. #6 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite
Friday, Febuary 21 at 3:00 p.m. EST
UPMC Sports Complex – Pittsburgh, Pa.
The NE Pack’s first and fourth 15U seeds face off on the opening day of the playoffs as Selects Academy and Pens Elite meet for the third time this year. These two teams split their first two meetings, with Pens Elite winning, 5-4, Nov. 16 and Selects earning a 2-1 win Dec. 15. Selects earned the top seed with a 7-0-4 record in league play, while Pens Elite finished fourth at 3-5-2. The loss to Pittsburgh was one of only eight so far on the season for South Kent, which is 51-8-3 overall and has outscored its opponents, 307-115. They are unbeaten in their last 10 games (8-0-2) dating to a 4-3 overtime loss to Canada’s No. 8 Vaughan Kings Dec. 29. Selects had won 11 straight prior to that setback. Pens Elite is 29-14-6 overall, having outscored its foes by a 178-115 margin. They are 7-5-2 in their last 14 outings and posted a 1-2-1 mark in its last five games, all against NE Pack opponents. Two of Pittsburgh’s losses have come at the hands of top-ranked Honeybaked. Pens Elite is 8-9-3 in its last 20 outings.
USA Boys 16U Tier 1 – Northeast Pack Playoffs
#3 North Jersey Avalanche vs. #6 Buffalo Jr. Sabres
Friday, Febuary 21 at 5:30 p.m. EST
UPMC Sports Complex – Pittsburgh, Pa.
The NE Pack’s second and third 16U seeds face off on the opening day of the playoffs as the Avs and Jr. Sabres meet for the fourth time this year. Oddly, after a hard-fought 2-2 tie Nov. 15, the Avs won the net two meetings by a combined score of 17-2. They met most recently on Feb. 9, with North Jersey skating to a 9-1 victory. The Avalanche are 40-8-9 overall and have outscored their opponents, 279-106. They are unbeaten in their last four outings (3-0-1) since a 6-0 loss to fifth-ranked Mount St. Charles Feb. 7. North Jersey is 8-1-3 in its last 12. The ties have come against No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite (twice) and the No. 33 New Jersey Titans. Prior to that recent 12-game stretch they fell to 11th-ranked South Kent Selects Academy and tied Mount St. Charles right on the heels of a 12-1-3 run. The Avs have not played either of the nation’s top-two teams and were 6-3-7 in the NE Pack to finish four points behind Mount St. Charles and six in front of the Jr. Sabres. Buffalo is 31-10-7 overall and has outscored its foes, 210-123. The Jr. Sabres knocked off No. 11 Selects Academy, 4-3, Feb. 9 following the 9-1 loss to the Avs and are 11-7-2 in their last 20 contests. Prior to that Buffalo posed a 20-3-5 mark from the begging of the season through Nov. 16.
Canada Girls 20U Tier 1
#6 Oakville Jr. Hornets vs. #16 Ottawa Lady Senators
Sunday, February 23 at 2:15 p.m. EST
Cardelrec Recreation Complex – Stittsville, Ontario
It’s the last weekend of play in the PWHL, and teams are jockeying for final positioning in the regular-season standings as the fifth-place Hornets take on seventh-place Lady Senators with just two points separating the teams through 36 games. Sixteen teams make the PWHL playoffs, with the first two rounds featuring best-of-five series. The teams are re-seeded in the quarterfinals, with the highest remaining seeds facing the lowest-remaining seeds to determine the semifinalists. The round-robin semifinals determine the two teams that play for the Alumni Cup. At 19-10-4-3, Oakville is one point behind Kingston for fourth place, one point ahead of sixth-place Burlington and two in front of Ottawa, so there still is much to settle. These two teams met once previously, on Sept. 29, with Oakville earning a 4-1 victory. The Hornets are 31-12-6 overall and have outscored the opposition, 126-63. They enter the weekend on a five-game winning streak and are 9-2-1 in their last 12 outings. Ottawa is 29-17-6 overall and owns a 110-86 scoring advantage over its opponents. The Lady Senators have won four straight, five of six and are 6-4 in their last 10. Sara Boucher leads Oakville and ranks 11th in the league scoring race with 15 goals and 14 assists, while defender Claire Tyo paces Ottawa with 6-19-25. Oakville’s Katie Sweeney is the PWHL’s second-ranked goalie with a 1.26 goals-against average. Ottawa’s Kayle Osborne has posted a 1.67 GAA.
USA Girls 14U Tier 1
#1 East Coast Wizards vs. #4 North Shore Vipers
Sunday, February 23 at 1:20 p.m. EST
Edge Sports Center – Bedford, Mass. on LiveBarn
The top-ranked Wizards enter this game looking for revenge coming off a 5-2 loss to the Vipers Feb. 16 in their last game. East Coast is 5-2-1 in NEGHL play, two points behind the first-place and fifth-ranked Boston Junior Eagles (5-1-3) and a tied for second place in points with the Vipers (4-2-3). This is the sixth meeting of the two teams this year, with the Wizards holding a 3-1-1 advantage despite last week’s loss. East Coast owns a pair of 6-1 wins and a 4-2 victory to go along with a 4-all tie. Overall, the Wizards are 34-5-2 and have outscored their opponents, 177-42. Prior to last weekend, when they also fell to the No. 15 Bay State Breakers, the Wizards had just three losses on the year and had not lost in their previous 30 contests (28-0-2). North Shore is 22-9-3 overall and holds a 124-62 scoring advantage against its opponents. The Vipers beat the Wizards and tied the Jr. Eagles in their last two outings and are 13-5-3 in their last 21.
Western Canada Boys Bantam
#6 St. George’s School vs. #9 Pursuit of Excellence
Saturday, February 22 at 5:00 p.m. EST/Sunday, February 23 at 4:30 p.m. EST
University of British Columbia – Vancouver, B.C.
The No. 6 and No. 9 teams in Western Canada – ranked 15th and 23rd, respectively, overall in Canada – meet for a pair of key CSSHL games at UBC. St. George’s is 12-10-2-1 in CSSHL Bantam Prep play, good for 41 points, while POE is six points ahead in the standings at 15-9-1-0. This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams, with St. George’s having won by a 7-2 margin Nov. 16. Andrew Cristall is the offensive leader for St. George’s with 34 goals and 23 assists in 22 league contests, while Arjun Bawa has added 16-21-37. Taisetsu Ushio leads Pursuit with 20 goals and 16 assists, with Alex Edwards and Ryder Ritchie each having recorded 26 points. POE’s Jesse Sanche has a 2.64 GAA and .900 save percentage, while Jaiden Sharma of St. George’s has a 4.35 GAA and .891 save percentage. St. George’s is 29-18-0 overall, has outscored its opponents, 210-174, and has dropped its last two games to top-ranked Yale Hockey Academy, 6-2, and Pacific Coast Academy, 3-2, in a shootout. Prior to the recent two-game skid, St. George’s had won six of its previous eight. POE is 40-14-0 overall and has won three straight, outscoring its opponents 21-7 in the process. Pursuit’s last loss was by an 8-0 score to No. 1 Yale Hockey Academy Feb. 8. That setback ended a three-game winning streak, and POE is 11-2 in its last 13 contests.