The Ogden Mustangs moved to 11-0 on the season and remain No. 1 overall in the Western States Hockey League after a dominant sweep over the Southern Oregon Spartans last weekend.
The weekend didn't start in dominant fashion on the scoreboard. The Mustangs only won 2-1 on Friday, despite outshooting the Spartans 63-14. The Mustangs didn't take the 2-1 lead until a Gleb Krivoshapkin goal on the Stangs' 52nd shot of the game gave them their first lead.
"That first night was a hard-hitting game with a tough adjustment of the nets being more forward and playing on smaller ice," said Mustang forward Ethan McKinley, who led the team in scoring over the weekend and had the primary assist on Friday's game-winning goal. "The next two games we carried momentum and produced better results. We had great stats all though the lineup, and that helps to build confidence."
Saturday's game wasn't quite as close as Friday's, to say the least. The Mustangs scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, and eight goals total in the first period alone. They would never look back in the 16-1 final. The Mustangs had 77 shots on goal.
On Sunday, the Mustangs won 11-1, with goals from nine different players. The Mustangs had 65 shots on goal.
"This weekend was another one of growth for the team," McKinley said. "We're playing hard, using our smarts and systems. We are having fun in a hard-nosed hockey environment."
Last Weekend's Offensive Leaders:
Ethan McKinley - 4 goals, 4 assists
Bryson Bartell - 4 goals, 3 assists
Lukas Vacin - 4 goals, 3 assists
Gleb Krivoshapkin - 5 goals, 2 assists
Zach Pires - 3 goals, 3 assists
Johan Zöllner - 3 goals, 3 assists
Shane Gilbert - 1 goal, 5 assists
Nico Hemming - 1 goal, 4 assists
Matthew Genter and Titan Anderson shared time in goal throughout the weekend. Genter picked up the wins Friday and Saturday. Anderson came in for the third period on Saturday and played the duration of Sunday.
"Last weekend's wins are what they are, but we can't afford to wait so long to get going," said Ogden head coach Jake Laime. "We've got to be able to finish better and convert on the opportunities that we get. It was good to see us stick with it and not get overly frustrated in that first game, but moving forward, we've got to get better starts than that."
Counting the Mustangs' previous series against the Utah Outliers, the Mustangs had surrendered the first goal of the game in three straight games.
"A lot of it comes down to our mental preparation," Laime said. "We've got to work on preparing ourselves better."
The Mustangs are one of three remaining teams in the WSHL still with perfect records. They'll next face one of those other teams, the 8-0 expansion Las Vegas Thunderbirds this weekend on the road.
"We're preparing for a good series with Vegas," McKinley said. "Two undefeated teams, meeting each other for the first time. It should be a physical and mental challenge that we're ready for."