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Herrera, Shmakov Call Their Shots; Mustangs Deliver in Home Opener

Steffen Bell

Ogden Mustangs Broadcaster

OGDEN, Ut. -- Ogden alternate captain Daniel Pfalzer liked what he saw from this version of the Mustangs during a special evening in Ogden as fans poured into the Weber County Sports Complex.

Tucker Thorstad took notice and followed Pfalzer's example.

The two combined for six points while Andrey Shmakov, Deven Boldway, and Randon Striplin made significant contributions in a 5-2 win over the Northern Colorado Eagles.

"It's just a great experience to be here again, be a leader on the team and lead by example," Pfalzer said. "I give it my all on the ice, but I couldn't have done any of it without my teammates."

Thorstad, a local second-year forward, provided a punch on the power play late in the first period and added an assist when his wrist shot from inside the blue line was stopped, but the rebound went right to the stick of Pfalzer to put the Mustangs ahead 1-0.

"I needed to get myself into the game," Thorstad said. That first goal from [Pfalzer] really got me going. The two quick goals in the second and the hits kept the energy high for the rest of the game."

Thorstad, named USPHL Premier: West Region Player of the Week this morning, added two more assists, three hits, and seven shots on goal in 12:45 time-on-ice.

Striplin began the game backing up Antonio Tarantino. However, 3:38 into the contest, he entered in relief after a minor tweak to Tarantino.

"It was unfortunate what happened to [Tarantino], but it was exciting for me to get the opportunity to play and earn a win for everyone here," Striplin said. "The boys did a good job eliminating high-quality chances, and fortunately, the switch happened early on, so I felt ready since warm-ups were just minutes before that." The Michigander delivered with a 29-save effort in front of the raucous Mustang faithful and earned his first regular-season junior hockey win.

Ogden and NoCo traded barbs early in the second period before another major penalty spelled doom for the visiting Eagles.

Cade Herrera notched his team-leading third goal of the season after Jake Meure and Cameron Hawks combined on a great effort that led to Herrera finding the back of the net.

Boldway, 2020-21 Mountain Division All-Star, announced his return to Ogden with a quick wrist shot that beat the goaltender's glove 38 seconds after the Herrera goal. His first goal of the season was the game-winner as NoCo would score twice in the third, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

Opening night was important, especially for forwards Herrera and Shmakov. The pair scored three of the Mustangs five goals, but their billets, the McNally family, were the only thing on their mind as they celebrated each time.

"We were going to win," Shmakov said. "Everyone was pumped-up to play in front of our crowd and get a win for our billet family. Scoring for them felt amazing."

The McNally's, long supporters of the team, recently lost their eldest son. Naturally, the players, organization, and fans in attendance offered their condolences, but nothing was as impactful as Shmakov's first goal.

The '01 Russian winger rifled a shot through a double-screen and into the top corner. Then, he turned and pointed to the sky.

"This one was for our family."

Game Notes:

Jack Jones (C) and Pfalzer (A) have officially been announced as team captains this season. Boldway returned to Ogden after playing with the Aberdeen Wings (NAHL). The Mustangs are 3-1-0-0 and are currently 1st in the Mountain Division and T-8th USPHL Premier. Ogden's nine power play goals lead the league.

Schedule Notes:

Friday, October 1st vs. Utah Outliers | 7:15 PM

Regular Season Home Opener | The Ice Sheet | Ogden, UT

Friday, October 2nd vs. Provo Riverblades | 7:15 PM

Regular Season Home Opener | The Ice Sheet | Ogden, UT

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Go Mustangs!


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