Hockey is back in Ogden for the beginning of the new year and the Mustangs are ready to begin a new decade with a highly anticipated matchup against the rival Utah Outliers. A very tight contest is to be expected as all but one contest this season has been decided by a single goal.
Game Notes are compiled by the Ogden Mustangs broadcasting and media Director, Steffen Bell. Catch the Mustangs live during the games via Black Dog Hockey.
Mustangs this Season
The Mustangs come into the weekend with a record of 27-2-1-0. The Mustangs currently sport the best points percentage in the WSHL and 2nd in total points. The Mustangs finished the Las Vegas Showcase with a 2-1 record defeating Provincial Division teams Edson and Hinton before falling to Mid-Western Division foe El Paso on the final day. This group has registered nine goals in a single period three times this season. In six games against the Outliers this season, the Mustangs have scored 17 goals with 10 coming in the 2nd period alone.
2019 is the ninth season of Mustangs hockey. Head coach Jake Laime is in his eighth season. The Mustangs won division championships in 2014, 2015, 2018, and last season in 2019. Total points earned and team winning percentage increased each of the first six seasons. For the past seven seasons, the Mustangs have been considered in the top tier of teams in the WSHL, with deep runs in the playoffs each season, but are still looking for their first league title. The Mustangs have established themselves as the top producer of NCAA commitments in the WSHL. They had nine players commit from last season’s roster and have had 40+ overall, including Matus Spodniak’s NCAA DI commitment to American International College.
Outliers this Season
The Outliers come into the weekend with a record of 17-9-0-1. The Outliers return to regular season play after losing their first 2 games at the Las Vegas Showcase to Edson and El Paso before closing out their week with a victory over Fresno. 5 of their last 7 games have been decided by just one goal. They are 3rd in scoring (172 GF) behind only Ogden (224 GF) and El Paso (174 GF) The Outliers are not quite as big up front as last season, but have a lot of size on defense. Expect to see lots of physicality there.
2019 is the fourth season of Utah Outliers hockey. After rebranding and moving locations a couple of times, it is the ninth season of the Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Outliers are coming off of back-to-back highly-successful seasons. They had 33 wins last season, and a franchise-best 39 wins two seasons ago, which included a trip to their first ever Thorne Cup Finals. The Outliers are still searching for their first division title but have come so extremely close to doing so. In both of the past two seasons, the Mustangs have defeated the Outliers for division titles. In the five total division-final matchups between the teams, four of them have gone to overtime. The Mustangs have won all four. The Outliers are coached by Paul Taylor, who’s in his fifth season with the team.
Now in the ninth season of matchups, Tuesday will be the 78th all-time meeting between the Mustangs and this Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Mustangs lead the all-time series 54-18-5. The Mustangs currently lead the head-to-head series this season with a 4-1-1-0 record and undefeated at home. Five of the games this season have been decided by a single goal. In a flashback to last year, the Mustangs won 3-2 on a double-overtime, division-championship-winning goal from Kerry Kruzel.
Players to Watch
For the Outliers, they will look to create balance throughout their lineup while also proving to be a tough matchup physically. Forward Ben Doherty continues to lead the way for the Outliers with 58 points. Defenseman Jakub Lelek has pushed his way to 2nd in scoring for his team and in the WSHL among defensemen with 37 points. One of the strengths of this Outliers team is their defense corps. Lelek and Brad McCloskey continue to be ironmen for their club as they have remained in the lineup for every game this season. Swedish goaltender Oscar Wahlgren has remained solid in net for the Outliers. He currently has a 1.68 goals-against average, and .932 save percentage this season. He has allowed seventeen goals on 180 shots and a 1-5 record against the Mustangs this season.
For the Mustangs, Shane Gilbert leads this Mustangs attack with 61 points and is 3rd in the WSHL for scoring. Gleb Krivoshapkin will make his return after playing with Team Ukraine at the IIHF World Championships. He currently has 42 points in 22 games for Ogden this year. The line of Bryson Bartell, Zach Pires and Lukas Vacin will look to continue their absolutely dominate stretch since being placed together. The have combined for 60 goals, 60 assists and 126 points since Vacin re-joined the Mustangs in late October. The depth of this forward group will be on full display as they are completely healthy and have key additions. The 3rd and 4th lines will be interesting to see as Harry Gulliver, David Sudbrink, Aidan McAleer, and Hayden Masterson can lead those lines with their combination of skill and grit. The defensive unit is led by the top defensive pairing of Oliver Wieringa and Christian Phinney. Johan Zollner and Ramil Talipov continue their impressive 2019-20 campaign by currently sitting at 4th and 5th in scoring among defensemen in the WSHL with 34 and 35 points, respectively. Travis Allen remains as the #1 goaltender in net and has been nothing short of spectacular since joining this Ogden group. He now boasts a 9-2 record, .945 SV% and 1.45 GAA.
Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes
Mustangs special teams statistics: Powerplay – 30/118 – 25% (2nd) Penalty kill – 123/135 – 89% (2nd) The Mustangs are tied for No. 1 in the WSHL with 17 shorthanded goals this season
Outliers special teams statistics: Powerplay – 23/115 – 20% (9th) Penalty kill – 88/101 – 87% (8th)
Northwest Division Standings
Ogden Mustangs – 83 points
Utah Outliers – 52 points
Seattle Totems - 38 points
Bellingham Blazers - 31 points
Southern Oregon Spartans – 11 points
West Sound Admirals – 0 points - Defunct
Overall WSHL Standings
El Paso Rhinos – 84 points
Ogden Mustangs – 83 points
Edson Aeros – 66 points
Hinton Timberwolves – 64 points
Oklahoma City Blazers – 59 points
Fresno Monsters – 58 points
Northern Colorado Eagles – 55 points
Utah Outliers – 52 points
Pueblo Bulls – 46 points
This week and weekend’s Northwest Division matchups
Utah Outliers at Ogden Mustangs
Seattle Totems vs. Ogden Mustangs
Utah Outliers at Bellingham Blazers
Keys to the Game:
Keep Them Rolling
With the return of Krivoshapkin and newly acquired forward Sudbrink, Coach Laime has built a very impressive lineup and will look to continue to roll his forward lines. Each line showcasing fast, physical, skilled and determined players that will wreak havoc throughout the game.
The Mustangs will once again look to dominate time on attack by taking away the neutral zone. In their last matchup against the Outliers, the Mustangs stifled any counterattack by clogging the middle of the ice with pressure from the forecheck and defenseman picking up any forward attack by the Outliers. This resulted in a consistent pressure and limited chances for their opponent.
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