Over the holiday break, the Mustangs were looking back over the body of work they had produced through the first half of the season and were pleased: 27-2-1-0, first place in the division, second-best powerplay and penalty kill units and best points percentage in the entire league.
There are moments though that seldom present themselves and the Mustangs had an opportunity to improve in various areas with immense additions to their current roster.
On early Thursday morning, the Mustangs acquired forward Emil Svartbro and defenseman Christoffer Juvas from the Las Vegas Thunderbirds for forward/defenseman Gleb Shlyaiger.
We asked Coach Laime on the adds to this Mustangs group.
"No matter where we are in the standings, we are always looking to improve in some way. We never want to become complacent. That doesn't mean we are always looking for a trade. We believe in the players that we have. That's why we brought them to Ogden at the beginning of the season. We had a chance to acquire two very talented players with plenty of experience to help us push for the playoffs and beyond."
Emil Svartbro comes to the Mustangs after only appearing in 25 games for the Las Vegas Thunderbirds during his first season in the WSHL. In those 25 games, he quickly established himself as a top-flight player by scoring 18 goals and registering 24 assists for 42 total points. That mark puts him at 21st in scoring in the WSHL and 6th on the Mustangs.
The 5'10", 183lbs forward hails from Tyresö, Sweden, where he played the majority of his junior hockey career. "I see myself as a hard-working player that likes to put up points but also play hard in the defensive zone."
His play spoke for itself as he opened the season with a 10-game scoring streak before being shutout against his new team. He eventually scored twice and notched an assist against the Mustangs in losing efforts, but he was excited to join this group after they beat him. "I know this is a great team, with a tremendous fanbase, that will always compete for a championship. I have heard the program is outstanding and provides players with great possibilities to improve as a player."
The Mustangs are thrilled to have a player of his caliber join the team as he also represented Estonia in the WJC-20 D2A last year and scored two points in five games. "I'm excited for the last part of the season with the Mustangs and hope we can go all the way and win the Thorne Cup!"
Christoffer Juvas is in his second season in the WSHL and now his third team in the last year. He joined the Long Beach Bombers mid-way through last season and then subsequently traded to Las Vegas just before the beginning of this season. The young defenseman checks in at 6'0" and 187lbs and is also a native of Tyresö, Sweden, and neighbor of Svartbro.
"I would describe myself as a two-way defenseman that likes to play with the puck on my stick but also play a sacrificing game in our own zone." In his 43 regular-season games, he has scored 51 points. He also scored six points in the eight playoff games that he played in last season.
When asked about his knowledge of Ogden, he did not hesitate to show his excitement for our unique home. "Last year, when we played in Ogden, I had the opportunity to get a feeling first hand for the team and the city. The hockey interest here is absolutely amazing. They have great fans and it feels like the whole city revolves around this team. The program seems really good with everything being top-end and the opportunity to improve is there."
In what might be one of the most impressive single-game feats, he registered an astounding seven assists against Valencia on December 16th. We certainly look forward to being fortunate to watch Juvas and this defensive unit as now the Mustangs feature four defensemen with 30 points or more.
"I am super excited to finish the season with the Mustangs and I really hope we will have a good run for the Thorne Cup."
With the new additions, the Mustangs sadly part ways with a very humble and wonderful young player in Gleb Shlyaiger. He was a player that would do anything asked of him and someone beloved by his teammates. The 6'5" skater began the season at forward before converting to a defenseman, where he started to show his potential as an all-around player. He joined the Mustangs after playing junior hockey in both Russia and Kazakhstan and will have another year of eligibility after this season. We wish him all of the best moving forward.
You can watch Svartbro, Juvas, and the rest of the Mustangs this weekend as they join the Mustangs during their trip to Seattle via Black Dog Hockey. The games are available to watch live or on demand.
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