Each week from now through the end of February, the CO Hockey Hub will highlight the top teams in select divisions, identify squads making big jumps in the CO Hockey Hub Now Rankings and spotlight classifications with competitive races in the chase for state tournament bids.
We begin this week with Boys 12U B and Colorado Girls Hockey League (CGHL) 15U.
It’s rare to have two unbeaten teams in a division at this point in the season, but that’s the case in Boys 12U B, where Colorado Springs Black (24-0-2 ) holds the top spot in the rankings with a 96.83 rating and Durango (6-0-1) is second with a 94.93 rating.
They do not meet in the regular season, so if they maintain their current courses, a potential battle of undefeated teams could take place in March at the CAHA state championship.
Colorado Springs got off to a slow start, posting two ties with division foes in the first three games. One of those ties was to Littleton Black (22-5-1), which is third in the rankings at 92.86, while the other was to No. 6-ranked Hyland Hills Orange (14-4-4, 91.66).
Since Oct. 6, Colorado Springs has averaged seven goals per game — an offensive output that has helped the team win 23 consecutive games. Its season goal differential of 5.85 is nearly double that of the next highest in the division: Durango's 3.00.
The race for a top-four spot in the final rankings is also hotly contested as nine of the 22 division teams have a rating of 90 or higher. The difference between third and ninth in the rankings is a mere 2.6 rating points.
Lakewood Red (20-5-2) lands at No. 4 in the rankings with a 92.43 rating while Arvada Gold (19-6-1, 91.96) rounds out the top five.
Pueblo (16-7-2, 90.65) is No. 7 and followed by No. 8 Hyland Hills Black (15-6-1, 90.65) and No. 9 Vail Blue (7-3-1, 90.26).
Hyland Hills Black has played a tougher schedule than the five teams above it in the rankings and is on an eight-game winning streak. With all eight wins coming by multiple goals — and seven by four scores or more — Hyland Hills Black could be a team primed for a move up the rankings.
Two squads have separated themselves from rest in this division, but it's worth keeping an eye on the remaining eight teams as the final two spots are likely up for grabs.
Vail (14-1-0) owns a 95.57 rating and is just a few points ahead of Boulder Hockey Club (17-4-0), which is at 93.00. The eight remaining teams have at least four losses and a sub-90 rating.
Vail and BHC provided great entertainment when they played on back-to-back days earlier this week. BHC and its stingy defense slowed Vail's vaunted offense to record a 1-0 victory on Jan. 19. It was Vail's first lost of the season, but team did not stay down long, bouncing back the next day to defeat BHC 1-0 in overtime.
Could the rubber match come at the CAHA state tournament? We’re less than two months from finding out.
Vail has scored three or more goals in every game prior to meeting BHC, and its 3.13 average goal differential tops the division.
BHC’s goal differential is just 2.00 — not a surprise for a team that prides itself on defense and boasts a division-best six shutouts.
New Mexico (8-5-1) is third in the division rankings with an 88.54 rating. While climbing the rankings may be difficult for New Mexico, a sweep of Vail did wonders for its chances of a coveted top-four finish.
Colorado Springs (6-6-0, 86.41) sits in fourth place, residing by a very slim margin ahead of Hyland Hills (7-7-2, 86.26). Sixth-place Steamboat (7-9-1, 84.37) is also in the mix.
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