The Ogden Mustangs do not have many records against opponents in the Western States Hockey League that are not in their favor. The Valencia Flyers were one team that was able to boast a positive win-rate against the Mustangs as they traveled to Northern Utah with a record of 5-3-1-0. However, Lukas Vacin and Co. jumped out to big opening frame on Friday evening and never looked back.
The fans at the Ice Sheet on Friday night saw the league-leading Mustangs fly right out of the gates with the opening marker just 37 seconds into the game. The initial goal scored by WSHL November Player of the Month Zach Pires. Just several minutes later, his linemates Bryson Bartell and Vacin would combine for the second goal to give the Mustangs a 2-0 advantage. The Flyers were able to sneak one past Mustangs goaltender Travis Allen before Vacin took over the rest of the period. His next two goals would come just 21 seconds apart before collecting his fourth of the game just 13:24 into the 1st period. The Czech forward would end the night with the first star of the game powered by a five-point effort. Pires, Bartell, and team-leading scorer Shane Gilbert (56 points) would each collect four points. Allen also collected his fifth win of the year by allowing just one goal on 17 shots he faced.
The day two tilt was quite a night for the unsung members of this high-scoring Mustangs club. Nico Hemming was everywhere in this contest and would not let up until his final shift. His hat trick goal showcased his work ethic all night. The Flyers defenseman blocked his initial shot, kept his skates moving, gathered the puck and rifled it past the diving netminder for his 22nd point of the season. That goal also sparked a late-game surge for the Mustangs as they went on to score five goals in the final 6:01 of the period. This game also marked the 3rd time this season that the Mustangs have scored nine goals in a single period of play.
Finally, on Sunday, the Mustangs found themselves with the ability to take over all-time series lead over the Valencia Flyers. Harry Gulliver wasted no time as he corraled the puck in the corner, went behind the net, and beat the stunned goaltender on the short-side just 1:02 into the game. The British native found himself with the puck at the top of the right-wing circle, chipped the puck around the defenseman before drawing a penalty, and then beating the poke check by the goaltender with a spectacular backhand finish. Another highlight-reel goal for the Mustangs as Gulliver completed his hat trick and then adding a fourth goal later in the second period. Ramil Talipov also had himself a four-point afternoon after getting some rest on Saturday night. Almost midway through the second period, Talipov was in the corner of his defensive zone, saw forward Alex Engan circling towards the middle of the ice, and floated a pass right to the stick of Engan who walked in and put a rising backhand into the top of the net. A beautiful play that put a stamp on the weekend for the Mustangs as they continue their torrid pace through the first half of the season.
The Mustangs now stand at 24-1-0-0 before taking on the Utah Outliers again on December 13th (home | The Ice Sheet) -14th (away | Acord Ice Arena) for the third installment of a home-and-home series featuring the two in-state rivals.
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