The regular season final is upon us as the Mustangs host the rival Utah Outliers for the final time before the playoffs begin. Ogden returns from an extended break after games against West Sound were cancelled due to the team folding earlier this season. Both teams carry impressive winning streaks into their final matchup before playoffs.
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 44-3-1-1. The Mustangs currently lead the WSHL standings with 135 points and have a league-best goals scored (334 GF) and allowed (71 GA). The 334 goals scored are also a franchise record. They are currently owners of a 17-game winning streak that began on Jan 10th. Since their last loss, the Mustangs have scored 25 power play goals and 5 shorthanded goals while also converting a penalty shot for a goal. They are the fourth least penalized team with 676 PIM this season.
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 36-9-2-2. They are currently fourth in the WSHL with 114 points. The Outliers 287 goals scored is good for third while their 80 goals scored against is fourth. Utah is coming into this contest with a winning streak of their own that is also now at 17 games. Oddly enough, Seattle was also the last team to defeat them with a victory coming in OT. 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. The Outliers are currently the second-least penalized team in the league with just 575 PIM this season.
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 79th 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 54-19-5. The Mustangs currently lead the head-to-head series this season with a 4-2-1-0 record. 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. Forwards Nikita Andrusenko and Andrei Shmakov lead the way for the Outliers with 61 points. Forward Jett Arminem is tied for 2ndin goals with 27. Defenseman Jakub Lelek is the top-scorer on the backend for the Outliers. He has 12 goals and 38 assists in 40 games this season. 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. McCloskey is now the all-time leader in games played for the Outliers with 160. Swedish goaltender Oscar Wahlgren has remained solid in net for the Outliers while posting a record of 23-8-2. He currently has a 1.61 goals-against average, and .936 save percentage this season. He has allowed eighteen goals on 230 shots and a 2-4-1 record against the Mustangs this season.
For the Mustangs, Shane Gilbert remains at the forefront of this Mustangs attack with 93 points and is 3rd in the WSHL for scoring. Bryson Bartell (82 points) has moved within ten points of Gilbert with the help from a ridiculous 10-game scoring streak that totaled 25 points. Lukas Vacin is the leaders in goals scored for Ogden with 42 now. He is also the owner of an 8-game scoring streak that now sits at 20 points. Harry Gulliver and Bartell will play in their final two regular season games after stellar 4-year careers with the Mustangs. We will see them finish 2nd and 3rdfor all-time regular season games played for the Mustangs. David Sudbrink has 8 goals in his last 4 games (including two hat tricks). Johan Zollner, Emil Svartbro and Caleb Dolman all have active 10-game point streaks along with Bartell. Zollner’s 48 points is tops for the defense of the Mustangs and 4th among defensemen in the WSHL. 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 17-3 record, .944 SV% and 1.18 GAA.
Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes
Mustangs special teams statistics: Powerplay – 54/203 – 26% (1st) Penalty kill – 181/201 – 90% (2nd) The Mustangs are second in the WSHL with 22 shorthanded goals this season.
Outliers special teams statistics: Powerplay – 34/187 – 18% (9th) Penalty kill – 148/167 – 88% (6th)
Northwest Division Standings
Ogden Mustangs – 135 points
Utah Outliers – 114 points
Seattle Totems - 67 points
Bellingham Blazers - 59 points
Southern Oregon Spartans – 14 points
West Sound Admirals – 0 points - Defunct
Overall WSHL Standings
Ogden Mustangs – 135 points
Edson Aeros – 126 points
El Paso Rhinos – 126 points
Utah Outliers – 114 points
Fresno Monsters – 102 points
Hinton Timberwolves – 99 points
San Diego Sabers – 96 points
Northern Colorado Eagles – 94 points
Dallas Snipers – 89 points
Pueblo Bulls – 86 points
This week and weekend’s Northwest Division matchups
Ogden Mustangs vs. Utah Outliers
Seattle Totems vs. Southern Oregon Spartans
Bellingham Blazers vs. Southern Oregon Spartans
Bellingham Blazers vs. Seattle Totems
Keys to the Game:
Stick to Our Game
Rivalry games can sometimes cause teams to lose focus and play a different way. These two clubs bring the best and the worst out of each other at times with five of the seven games decided by a single goal; however, both teams have well over 100 PIM against one another even though both are in the top-4 for least penalized teams on the season. The Mustangs will need to stick to their game and keep the pressure on the Outliers.
Ogden does a fantastic job of controlling the game with a heavy forecheck and a swarming defense. The last time these two teams faced one another, the Outliers scored three goals on three different odd-man rushes on the counterattack. This does not always spell doom, but on a night where Utah's goaltender was great, they have to limit these chances.
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