Tuesday night's matchup was always one that most looked at and questioned: Is this real?
In a rare mid-week rivalry game featuring two high-scoring teams in the Ogden Mustangs and Utah Outliers, the visitors claimed victory in a very intense matchup. Throughout much of the first and second periods, both sides were playing a very tight game, not wanting to be the one to cede the opening goal of the game.
The Mustangs were continuously peppering shots on goal all evening and just missing the back of the cage. One of the better scoring chances coming in the first period where Shane Gilbert intercepted an outlet pass at center ice, entered the attacking zone, and cut to the middle where he found Gleb Krivoshapkin for a one-time shot from the right faceoff circle. That shot would get blocked by the Outliers goaltender, but the rebound came right back to Krivoshapkin for another great opportunity that just could not quite beat the shoulder of the netminder.
Travis Allen (9-3) saw about half of the total shots that his teammates put on goal for his counterpart (51-26). However, the scoring chances on the Outliers attempts seemed to create balance as Allen had his work cut out for him.
This save was huge as David Sudbrink was denied just seconds prior on a nifty chip around the defensemen for a quick wrister that trickled over the crossbar.
The Outliers struck first with 6:35 left in the 2nd period with an impressive play that saw their winger Xavier Erickson take a big hit from Nico Hemming before Miroslav Hradecky played the puck off of his skate before beating Allen on the far side.
With under 2:00 minutes left to play, the Outliers were able to breakout quickly with a 2-on-1, and Jett Arminen beat Allen with a wicked wrist shot to make it 2-0 going into the final period.
In the 3rd, the Outliers again found themselves on an odd-man rush and cashed in to increase their lead to three with 15:09 left in the contest. The Mustangs never gave up as they continued to get pucks to the nets and finally found the back of the net with a dominant shift by Hemming, Sudbrink, and Aidan McAleer.
After Gilbert was able to gain the zone and then get a change, this line was able to hold the puck for one minute and eight seconds. Johan Zollner's shot from the point would eventually bounce to Sudbrink, who made sure the goaltender had no chance and cut the lead back down to two.
The Mustangs had a marvelous opportunity on the penalty kill later in the period as Gleb Shlyaiger intercepted a pass at center ice but was unable to connect with Krivoshapkin on a 2-on-0, but the puck just skipped off the blade.
The frustration was apparent for the Mustangs. Anyone looking at the stats sheet would wonder how this game got away from them, but sometimes the bounces don't go your way.
Out of the seven matchups against Utah this year, the Mustangs still hold the series advantage 4-2-1-0. Overall, this group is 27-3-1-0 on the season. They will look get back on track in this weekend's series against Northwest Division foe Seattle Totems.
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