Picks and Predictions for the MAHA Showcase

Four matchups to focus on during the first official weekend of youth hockey in Michigan

PeteysPicks
Craig Peterson

September 7, 2023

Max Namestnikov and Rutger McGroarty battle for a loose puck during a face-off at the MAHA Showcase.
Photo by Michael Caples

The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) will host the first of two AAA showcases this weekend at the Buffalo Wild Wings Arena in Troy. Nine AAA organizations — Belle Tire, Biggby, Compuware, Fox Motors, HoneyBaked, Little Caesars, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, Soo Indians and Victory Honda — will be in attendance. With 51 games on the docket at the MAHA Showcase this weekend, I’ve narrowed it down to the four biggest matchups to watch:

15O HoneyBaked vs. Little Caesars
Friday, 12pm EST @ Buffalo Wild Wings Arena

The top two 2008-born teams in the District last season. Caesars held a 3-1-0 series advantage from ‘22-23, led by a strong duo up front in Ethan Garden and Jacob Monks. I believe both of them return to Caesars for the upcoming season and that would tell me everything I need to know to make this pick. They’re 2-0-0 this season already with wins over Team Wisconsin and Ohio Blue Jackets. I expect Caesars to add a few more wins over the weekend at the MAHA Showcase, including this one against HB.

PETEY’S PICK: LITTLE CAESARS

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16U Little Caesars vs. Victory Honda
Friday, 2:30pm EST @ Buffalo Wild Wings Arena

If Caesars has everyone in attendance that’s listed on their roster, this is an easy pick to make. However, as many as seven of those players could be competing for roster spots on respective USHL, OHL and QMJHL teams that selected each of them over the next few weeks. I don’t expect to see names like Evan Jardine, Nick Kosiba or Gavin Lock on the ice. That, coupled with the fact VH has some really nice centers and strong goaltending that I talked about last week. May be a changing of the guard so to speak among 2007s in the state. 

PETEY’S PICK: VICTORY HONDA

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14U OJG vs. Fox Motors
Friday, 5:30pm EST @ Buffalo Wild Wings Arena

Despite finishing No. 4 and 5 in the District, OJG swept Fox in three games last season, suggesting a much larger gap between the two clubs. Both teams were in action at the AAA Kickoff Classic last weekend, with everything going wrong for OJG and everything going right for Fox. OJG lost three consecutive games to Colorado Rampage, Team Wisconsin and Nashville Jr. Preds; all three teams that Fox defeated over the same three-day stretch. ‘22-23 may have been all OJG in this series, but it’s a new season and I’m expecting new results. Fox had nine different goal scorers in the opening weekend of the ‘23-24 season; that is an incredibly balanced offensive attack. I think they start to climb up the District rankings a bit among ‘09 teams this season.

PETEY’S PICK: FOX MOTORS

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15O HoneyBaked vs. OJG
Sunday, 3pm EST @ Buffalo Wild Wings Arena

A rematch of last season’s state championship game that sent OJG to 14U Nationals. HoneyBaked held a 3-2-2 record favored HoneyBaked, but obviously OJG won the most important one. In those seven games, the average margin of victory was just 1.3 goals. HoneyBaked split a pair of games with PPE last weekend while OJG started the season with a 4-1 loss to Team Wisconsin. OJG was a very hard-working squad from a season ago. Not much pretty about the group, but very disciplined and structured throughout all three zones. I do worry that style may not lend itself well to generating offense, which they’d need to do against HoneyBaked.

PETEY’S PICKS: HONEYBAKED

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