Week 12 MHR/LiveBarn Games of the Week
Even though the winter holidays are still a couple weeks off, we already have entered youth and minor hockey holiday tournament season.
The Paul D. Merritt Holiday Classic in Rhode Island has become an annual event that attracts some of the top 15U, 16U and 18U boys’ teams in the United States. So, we head to New England this weekend for one of our MHR/LiveBarn Week 12 Games of the Week. Mount St. Charles, which has multiple teams ranked among the nation’s top 10, hosts the event, which includes more than 20 clubs traveling from locations as far away as Colorado and Illinois.
Our featured Paul D. Merritt Holiday Classic game is a 16U tilt between a pair of teams ranked among the United States’ overall top-30 in the 15U/16U division. The North Jersey Avalanche are the fifth-ranked Tier 1 national-bound 16U team and No. 8 overall in the 15U/16U rankings, while their opponent, South Kent School Selects Academy is No. 29 overall. Other teams competing in the 16U division include No. 6 (Tier 1 national-bound) Mount St. Charles, No. 46 Westchester Express, No. 25 Windy City Storm, No. 63 Colorado Rampage, No. 102 Maine Nordiques and No. 45 Team Illinois.
The University of Michigan and the United States National Development Program are co-hosting a holiday tourney in Ann Arbor, Mich., and we are highlighting a pair of 2009 top-12 teams this week as No. 3 Dallas Stars Elite takes on 12th-ranked Florida Alliance at Michigan’s Yost Arena Saturday.
Our third featured game this week is another great border battle as Canada’s top-ranked Independent Prep team, St. Andrew’s College, hosts USA No. 4 Culver Academy for a pair of 18U Prep Hockey Conference contests Saturday and Sunday. The Prep Hockey Conference includes six of North America’s top-ranked school-affiliated hockey programs.
And finally, for our last Week 12 Game of the Week we head out to Western Canada for a U18/Prep Canadian Sport School Hockey League matchup between the Nos. 2- and 3-ranked teams in the region as Burnaby Winter Club Academy hosts Yale Hockey Academy Friday night. Six of Western Canada’s top-10 U18 teams compete in the CSSHL.
Week 10 MHR/LiveBarn Featured Games of the Week
#5/8 North Jersey Avalanche vs. #29 South Kent School Selects Academy
Level: USA Boys 16U Tier 1
Date: Saturday, December 10
Time: 8:00 a.m. EST
Location: Brown University Meehan Auditorium – Providence, R.I.
Event: Paul D. Merritt Holiday Classic
The North Jersey Avalanche, ranked among the top-10 USA National Bound and overall 16U teams, take on South Kent Selects Academy, ranked 29th among all 16U teams in the nation, as part of the Paul D. Merritt Holiday Classic hosted by Mount St. Charles in Rhode Island. The Avalanche bring a record of 27-7-0 to the tournament and have outscored their opponents, 174-64. They are on a two-game losing skid, having dropped games to the No. 20 New York Saints and No. 19 Jr. Flyers in their most recent outings. North Jersey has recorded wins over the Nos. 10, 12, 14, 15 and 22 teams this season in allowing fewer than two goals per game. The Avs are 7-3 in their last 10 outings. South Kent is 18-12-1 heading into the tournament and holds a 124-90 scoring edge over its opponents. They also dropped their two most recent games, falling to the second-ranked New Jersey Rockets and No. 9 Bishop Kearney selects after splitting a pair of contests against No. 20 Seacoast Performance Academy. They are 1-3-0 in their last four games but had won five straight before that.
#3 Dallas Stars Elite vs. #12 Florida Alliance
Level: USA Boys 2009
Date: Saturday, December 10
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Location: Yost Arena – Ann Arbor, Mich.
Event: University of Michigan USNDP Holiday Tournament
A pair of top-10 AAA USA boys’ 2009 birthyear teams head to the home of the University of Michigan and United States National Development Program as part of a holiday tournament featuring some of the top clubs in the United States. The Stars take a 25-12-0 record with them to Michigan, having outscored their opponents 180-91 heading into the tourney. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season; Florida won the first contest, 4-3 in a shootout, way back on Aug. 26. Dallas dropped its most recent contest, 2-1, to the top-ranked Chicago Reapers Nov. 20, and is 1-2-0 in its last three games. That little skid comes on the heels of a four-game winning streak and a stretch in which the Stars went 5-6-0. They had won eight straight before that. In addition to the setback against the Reapers, Dallas also dropped close games against the second-ranked St. Louis AAA Blues, the No. 7 Boston Jr. Eagles, No. 21 Honeybaked and No. 7 Chicago Mission recently. There also was another one-goal, overtime loss against the top-ranked Reapers. Dallas has played the sixth-toughest schedule in the country to date. Florida Alliance is 14-9-2 heading into the weekend and holds a 103-73 scoring advantage over its foes. They have dropped their last two contests, including a 2-1 loss to the No. 2 Blues Dec. 4, and are 4-4-2 in their last 10. Florida has played a top-10 schedule in terms of difficulty, with three of those four recent losses coming against the Blues and one of the ties vs. the No. 7 Mission. They have beaten the Nos. 3, 10 and 11 teams this year.
#1 Canada Prep St. Andrew’s College vs. #4 USA Culver Academy
Level: Canada/USA Boys 18U/Prep
Date: Saturday & Sunday, December 10 & 11
Times: 4:00 p.m. & 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: La Brier Family Arena – Aurora, Ontario
Event: PHC regular-season series
Stream: St. Andrews YouTube Channel
Two of North America’s top school-affiliated programs face off north of the border in a pair of Prep Hockey Conference tilts. St. Andrew’s is MHR’s top-ranked Canadian Independent Prep team, while Culver is No. 4 in the USA Tier 1 18U National Bound rankings and No. 3 in the USA Independent Prep rankings. St. Andrew’s enters the weekend series on the heels of a two-game PHC road split against USA No. 1 Shattuck-St. Mary’s. That left the Saints at 2-3-0 in league play and four points behind both Culver and Shattuck in the PHC West Division standings. St. Andrew’s is 11-7-0 overall and has outscored its opponents, 92-65. The Saints’ Jonathan Castagna and Jack Pridham are tied for third in PHC scoring. Castagna has seven assists to lead the league in that category, while Pridham has five goals and two helpers. Culver is 3-0-0 in league play and 12-4-0 overall. The Eagles have outscored their opponents, 46-31 overall and 11-5 in PHC contests. They have won seven of their last eight outings, dating to a 2-0 loss to top-ranked Shattuck Nov. 5. Prior to that, Culver beat No. 6 Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, 3-2, in overtime. Benjamin Barrett is one of the leaders of a balanced Eagle offensive attack with 1-3-4 in PHC games, while Lawrence Keenan (3-1-4) and Philippe Lalonde (1-3-4) also have contributed four points apiece. Goalie Vaughn Makar tops all PHC goalies with a 1.50 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in two league starts.
#2 Burnaby Winter Club Academy vs. #3 Yale Hockey Academy
Level: Western Canada Boys U18/Prep
Date: Friday, December 9
Time: 10:45 p.m. ET
Location: Burnaby Winter Club = Burnaby, B.C.
Event: CSSHL regular-season game
It’s a battle of top-three MHR Western Canada AAA U18/Prep boys’ teams in the hotly contested CSSHL, as Burnaby Winter Club Academy hosts Yale Hockey Academy. Although these teams are ranked second and third, respectively, in the strong CSSHL they are battling to move up in the standings. BWCA is 11-3-0 with a shootout win in league play, good for fourth place and 34 points, while YHA sits in ninth place with a 9-5-0 league mark and 29 points. Burnaby is 12-3-0 overall and has outscored its opponents, 65-36. They are the third ranked Canadian Prep team and have won two straight games – and eight of their last 10 – heading into Friday’s contest. These two teams have met twice before, with Yale earning 6-3 and 4-2 victories. YHA has only played league games to date, outscoring its opponents, 65-36. The Lions have won three straight and six of their last seven. Forward Ryder McIntosh leads BWCA with 20 points in CSSHL play on six goals and 14 assists, while Ty Coupland has added 6-12-18 and Carter Lundie has 9-7-16. Liam Payne is the team’s top goal-scorer with 10 markers. Both Burnaby goalies have been strong; Aidan Fischer is 6-2-0 with a 2.00 GAA and .923 save percentage, and Massimo Urbani is 6-1-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .926 save percentage. For Yale, Charles Valliant has 9-12-21 to lead the way offensively. He paces the team in goals, while Luke Cozens has added 6-12-18 and Ben Kindel has contributed 5-11-16. Ethan Eskit is 6-5-0 in goal with a 2.55 GAA and .930 save percentage.