Each week 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.
The top four teams in the final rankings for each division earn a spot in the CAHA State Championship. All teams not qualifying for the state tournament are eligible to participate in the Avalanche Cup, which is a part of the CAHA State Championship Series.
The CAHA State Championship and Avalanche Cup placements will be revealed March 2. The state tournament is March 13-15 and the Avalanche Cup is March 6-8.
We continue our spotlight coverage this week with a look at the Boys 10U B and CGHL Girls 10U divisions.
With three dominating performances over the weekend, Durango 10U B has done just about all it can do to earn the top seed in this 24-team division — the largest in the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association. With its regular-season league schedule in the Continental Divide Youth Hockey Association completed, Durango just has the Presidents Day weekend tournament in Colorado Springs remaining. However, these tournament games will not count toward the CO Hockey Hub state rankings because every opponent will be from out of state and/or an A-level team and only games against Colorado opponents in the same classification are used to calculate the rankings.
Durango has been dominant all season with a 140-35 goal differential, which averages out to an eye-popping margin of 7.0 goals per game. So it is no surprise that Durango has scored five or more goals in every game and seven or more in 14. But this squad is not all about offense. Durango has done it on defense, with four shutouts this season. It’s added up to Durango boasting a 15-0-0 overall record. The team has a 78.9 strength of schedule — the lowest in the division — and improved its rating from 97.53 entering last weekend to 97.71 afterward.
Durango has played a mix of Western Colorado Hockey League and CDYHL teams. The only two games it played against opponents in the 10U rankings came against No. 24 Grand Junction (1-8-0 overall record, 68.02 rating), which Durango won 7-0 and 9-0.
While the top spot may be a forgone conclusion, the three remaining places atop the rankings are still yet to be decided, meaning there's hope for those teams wanting to secure a state tournament bid.
Littleton has a chance to send two teams to state with Littleton Black sitting in second and Little White on place behind in the rankings.
Littleton Black (24-2-0, 95.59) has played the fifth-toughest schedule and is tied with No. 5-ranked Pueblo (24-5-3, 93.00) for the most victories in the division in victories. It could add to the win total and increase its ranking by defeating No. 14 Lakewood Red (10-13-0, 84.79) and making a successful run in its home tournament this weekend, where it will play Colorado teams Summit Lightning Blue, Summit Lightning White and division foe Hyland Hills Black (13-8-2, 88.21). It could potentially play more division teams in the semifinals and finals, including Littleton White.
Littleton Black won the two-game series against its intra-association rival with a 9-1 thrashing on Oct. 6 and a 1-0 overtime goalie duel Nov. 17.
The losses, however, haven't lessoned Littleton White's chances at a state bid as the team is in good shape to maintain its spot in the rankings, where it’s more than a full point clear of fourth. Little White (21-3-1, 94.32) has lost only once since Nov. 17 while 13 of 14 wins in the span have been by three or more goals. It also leads the division with nine shutouts.
Little White will also see both Summit Lightning teams in the weekend tournament and also has two Colorado Competitive Youth Hockey League games remaining.
The battle for the fourth and final spot could be nip and tuck as Denver Country Club Black (10-2-0, 93.30) and Pueblo continue jockeying for position.
Denver CC Black is in fourth place despite playing the second-fewest games of any team in 10U B, but it’s made them count. Its average goal differential of 5.0 is second-best while its 85.86 strength of schedule is in the upper half when compared against those of its division foes. Each of its two losses were by one goal, including one to division power Littleton Black. Eight of its wins were by four or more goals.
Denver CC Black wraps up its schedule this weekend at the Foothills All American Classic. It’s scheduled for four preliminary games, including against a pair of division teams in No. 19 CO Rampage Navy (4-14-2, 77.59) and Grand Junction.
Pueblo is also nearly through with its schedule. It will be at the Presidents Day weekend tournament in Colorado Springs, but unlike fellow participant Durango, Pueblo has a chance to pick up victories that count toward the rankings. One of its pool-play games is against No. 8 Aspen (14-5-1, 91.33). It could also meet No. 15 Colorado Springs (11-15-1, 84.54) in bracket play.
Arvada Gold (22-6-3, 92.23) has had a spectacular season playing the division's toughest schedule, but the No. 6-ranked team may need some help make the top four. Its final game is against No. 11 Hyland Hills Black (13-8-2, 89.16).
CO Rampage White (14-5-0, 91.81) is ranked seventh and has two high-quality wins against Littleton Black. It also only has one game remaining against No. 9 Northern Colorado Youth Hockey Blue (13-5-1, 90.67).
There are only four teams in this division, but it’s one of CAHA’s more competitive groupings from top to bottom. Each team has a rating between 90.00 and 80.00 — an uncommon occurrence in the rankings this late in the season.
All these 10U teams are eligible for the state tournament, but seeding is far from locked in.
Boulder Hockey Club (BHC) leads the way with a 7-4-2 record and a 89.23 rating. It has played well in the clutch as evidenced by its record: Just three games over .500 despite a 0.38 average goal differential. BHC is 4-1-2 in games decided by one goal.
It won what is proving to be a critical four-game series with CO Select Blue, picking up 5-0 and 3-2 victories to go with a 2-2 tie and a 3-1 loss.
CO Select Blue (5-5-2, 86.49) is ranked second and leads the division with a .67 average goal differential and 38 goals. That’s 12 more goals than BHC in one fewer game. It has four games remaining on the schedule, all against boys teams from the Colorado Recreational Hockey League. These will not count toward the rankings.
While CO Select Blue will rue its series with BHC, it can take pride in winning three of four against intra-club rival, No. 3-ranked CO Select White (4-5-2, 85.44). These teams have otherwise been fairly even throughout the season.
CO Select White went 2-1 against a Hyland Hills team that rounds out the rankings.
Hyland Hills (4-6-2, 83.98) may feel like it could just as well contend for a state title, as it proved itself with a split with BHC over the weekend. After registering a 2-1 victory and 5-2 loss, Hyland Hills boasted a 2-1-1 record in the season series with BHC — one that included three games decided by tie or one goal.
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