As the regular season begins to wind down, Ogden is just starting to pick up speed. The Mustangs picked up right where they left off against the Bellingham Blazers with Bryson Bartell matching his point total (nine points) in the series from two weeks ago. Bartell's efforts, along with his teammates, displayed the dominating performances that the Mustangs have been putting together since suffering a 4-3 OT loss against Seattle in January. The winning streak is back to 11 games now and with no sign of slowing down.
Defenseman Johan Zöllner's wrist shot from just inside the blue line broke the 0-0 tie with 2:15 left in the opening frame. With 25 seconds left, Shane Gilbert was able to slam home a wide-open rebound from Bartell and sending their team into intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Then, just 21 seconds into the 2nd, Lukas Vacin scored after a quick 2-on-1 with Gilbert that went five-hole on the opposing netminder. Slightly over ten minutes later in the period, Caleb Dolman and Hayden Masterson scored consecutive goals just 29 seconds apart before Bellingham answered with a goal of their own.
Gripping a 5-1 lead after two periods, Patrick Tuma carried the puck into the offensive zone before rifling a shot just under the crossbar and quickly back out. The Mustangs would go on to score two more goals before the end of the game, courtesy of Bartell and Harry Gulliver. The individual efforts from both forwards on their goals showcase the talent that both were brought to Ogden to display four long years ago.
Travis Allen collected his 14th victory of the season with a 20-save performance in net. His night was highlighted by an outrageous save during the 2nd period.
On Saturday night, the Mustangs welcomed fans from over the years to celebrate in appreciation of their support in Ogden. They certainly did not disappoint as they continued to light up the scoreboard in game two.
Bartell, again, struck quickly. After charging into the offensive zone, he was able to gather a nifty backhand pass from Vacin and put a swift backhand shot through the arms of the goaltender and the Mustangs were off and running. Vacin took a huge hit behind the net to make the play and Bartell made it count.
After Tuma drew a double-minor penalty on Bellingham, the Mustangs power play went to work and converted on both minor penalties. The first goal, courtesy of Dolman, found the back of the net with four seconds left on the initial penalty. Thirty-eight seconds later, Vacin struck again to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead a little over halfway through the opening period. Dolman, Vacin, and Gilbert combined for both goals on the power play.
Game two was a much more physical night for both sides. Following a big hit in front of the team benches, the gloves were off and we had a good scrap on our hands with Bartell dropping a few bombs on the Bellingham skater. The raucous crowd at the Ice Sheet loved it.
On a late first period penalty to Oliver Wieringa, Gilbert teamed up with Gulliver and Ramil Talipov for a quick transition out of their defensive zone and scoring their 21st shorthanded goal of the year. 2:09 after the shorthanded tally, Gilbert would add another power play goal after a mishandled puck in the crease by the Bellingham goaltender.
The Blazers eventually picked up their only goal of the night before Bartell added his second of the evening when he and Zach Pires jumped on a 2-on-1 break. Bartell beautifully went forehand-to-backhand and left the goaltender completely frozen for a seemingly empty cage.
Ten minutes would go off the clock before Wieringa would be awarded a penalty shot after a superb effort during the penalty kill. He made his shot count by beating the goaltender low-blocker and giving his team an 8-1 lead with just over five minutes left in the second period.
Vacin would earn himself a hat-trick in the third with goals coming just a few minutes apart before Talipov's blast from the point with less than a minute remaining in the 3rd period. The Talipov goal was the culmination of a dominant night from the line of Aidan McAleer, Masterson, and Engan. Their line dominated possession by cycling the puck down low and constantly skating circles around the Bellingham defense. Although they did not light up the stat sheet, their efforts are precisely the type of play you see from teams that dominate in all areas of the ice.
Goaltender Matthew Genter picked up his 12th win of the season. He allowed just one goal on 15 shots. Like Allen the night before, Genter made a fantastic save by stretching across and thwarting the Blazers attempt.
During the Sunday matinee of Mustangs hockey, Gulliver scored on the first shot of the game and giving his team the lead just 54 seconds into the first period. His goal would be the 300th of the season for Ogden. Sudbrink would capitalize on a wide-open look in front of the net after Bartell carried the puck from deep in his defensive zone and found Sudbrink across the ice. These two would connect again just minutes later on another beautiful pass that left Bartell wide open and he one-timed the shot into the back of the net on the power play.
With under 30 seconds left in the first period, Masterson went to work into the corner of the Bellingham zone. Dolman quickly picked up support and found Engan all alone in front of the net for the 4-0 lead just before intermission.
Sudbrink would again score for Ogden on the power play with an excellent feed from Zöllner. Then as the period went on, the fireworks began. After Nick Garza was taken hard into the boards by two Blazers, Dolman came in to defend his teammate and leveled a Bellingham skater. Things seemed to calm down for a moment before the Blazers had been whistled for a major slashing penalty that sent Tuma to the ice in a heap of pain. The penalty proved costly as Vacin gathered the puck and blasted a rising shot past the goaltender just five seconds into the continuous five-minute powerplay.
Vacin, again, would put another slapshot top-shelf during a 5-on-3 advantage. Following an ejection for Bellingham, Bartell would quickly end his second fight of the series, tossing the Blazers skater to the ice and sending the Sunday crowd into a frenzy. Perhaps not what the Mustangs had intended for this series; however, they were certainly going to defend themselves after a melee of penalties from their opponents.
Sudbrink would eventually get the hat-trick goal after an excellent spinning pass from Christian Phinney. Sudbrink was all alone after the Blazers went out of position to make a hit on Gulliver and the Mustangs had their fifth power play goal of the game. Gulliver put a bookend on the weekend with a quick turning shot that went through five-hole of the goaltender.
Titan Anderson notched his 9th victory of the year. Allowing just one goal and making 19 saves on the afternoon.
With the 9-1 victory on Sunday, the Mustangs broke a franchise record for goals during the regular season. They now have 308 on the year. Sudbrink's hat-trick tally officially moved them past the 2017-18 team who had 306. All-time goals in a season record are 348, which was also previously set by the 2017-18 squad. They were lead by Matus Spodniak, who scored 146 points in 46 games played that season.
The Mustangs (38-3-1-1) will look to keep things rolling at home this weekend when they host the Seattle Totems (17-18-3-0).
Feb. 14th-16th | Vs. Seattle Totems
The Ice Sheet | Ogden, UT
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