The Mustangs charge into another battle against the rival Utah Outliers sporting a new four-game win streak and remain at the top of the WSHL standings. The Mustangs still have a sour taste in their mouth from the Outliers ending their franchise record win streak (20 games) and look to retain their winning record this season over their Utah rivals.
Game Notes are compiled by the Ogden Mustangs broadcasting and media Director, Steffen Bell. Catch the Mustangs live during the games via Black Dog Hockey.
Mustangs this Season
The Mustangs come into the weekend with a perfect record of 24-1-0-0. This Mustangs group is currently on pace to finish the regular season with well over 400 goals scored and would shatter previous scoring records for the franchise. During the series vs. Valencia, the Mustangs had at least two players register four points in each game. The Saturday night 13-2 victory marked the third time this season where the Mustangs registered nine goals in a single period. In four games against the Outliers this season, the Mustangs have registered 13 goals with 8 coming in the 2nd period.
2019 is the ninth season of Mustangs hockey. Head coach Jake Laime is in his eighth season. The Mustangs won division championships in 2014, 2015, 2018, and last season in 2019. Total points earned and team winning percentage increased each of the first six seasons. For the past seven seasons, the Mustangs have been considered in the top tier of teams in the WSHL, with deep runs in the playoffs each season, but are still looking for their first league title. The Mustangs have established themselves as the top producer of NCAA commitments in the WSHL. They had nine players commit from last season’s roster and have had 40+ overall, including Matus Spodniak’s NCAA DI commitment to American International College.
Outliers this Season
The Outliers come into the weekend with a record of 16-6-0. They come into this matchup after a tight series at home against the Las Vegas Thunderbirds which saw them take two of three games. During the Saturday night contest, the Outliers surrendered the 3rd period lead just 41 seconds in before eventually giving up the game-winning goal with under 8 minutes remaining. 3 of their last 5 games have been decided by just one goal. The Outliers are not quite as big up front as last season, but have a lot of size on defense. Expect to see lots of physicality there.
2019 is the fourth season of Utah Outliers hockey. After rebranding and moving locations a couple of times, it is the ninth season of the Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Outliers are coming off of back-to-back highly-successful seasons. They had 33 wins last season, and a franchise-best 39 wins two seasons ago, which included a trip to their first ever Thorne Cup Finals. The Outliers are still searching for their first division title but have come so extremely close to doing so. In both of the past two seasons, the Mustangs have defeated the Outliers for division titles. In the five total division-final matchups between the teams, four of them have gone to overtime. The Mustangs have won all four. The Outliers are coached by Paul Taylor, who’s in his fifth season with the team.
Now in the ninth season of matchups, Friday and Saturday will be the 76th and 77th all-time meetings between the Mustangs and this Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Mustangs lead the all-time series 52-18-5. The Mustangs are 3-1-0 this season against the Outliers. The Mustangs currently lead the head-to-head series this season with a 3-1-0-0 record and undefeated at home. Three of the games this season have been decided by a single goal. In a flashback to last year, the Mustangs won 3-2 on a double-overtime, division-championship-winning goal from Kerry Kruzel.
Players to Watch
For the Outliers, they will look to create balance throughout their lineup while also proving to be a tough matchup physically. Forward Ben Doherty continues to lead the way for the Outliers with 56 points. He has registered a point in all but three contests this season. Defenseman Jakub Lelek has pushed his way to 2nd in scoring for his team with 35 points. Forwards Andrei Shmakov and Ethan Knudsen remain knotted up at 31 points to help push the attack. One of the strengths of this Outliers team is their defense corps. Lelek and Brad McCloskey continue to be ironmen for their club as they have remained in the lineup for every game this season. Swedish goaltender Oscar Wahlgren has remained solid in net for the Outliers. He currently has a 1.64 goals-against average, and .932 save percentage this season. He has allowed thirteen goals on 122 shots and a 1-3 record against the Mustangs this season.
For the Mustangs, Shane Gilbert leads this Mustangs attack with 56 points and is tied for 2nd in the WSHL for scoring. Fellow centerman Zach Pires is right behind him now with 53 points. Bryson Bartell is currently leading the WSHL in shorthanded points (7) and has been nothing short spectacular since being paired with Lukas Vacin (40 points in 17 games) and Pires. Harry Gulliver recently obtained his 15th point of the season in his 6th game since returning from injury. His 2.5 points per game is tops for this Mustangs high-scoring roster. The 3rd and 4th lines have been dynamite as of late by causing havoc and playing fearless in all zones. Johan Zollner now leads the defensive corp for the Mustangs with 32 points and is 4th in scoring among all defenseman in the league. Ramil Talipov and Oliver Wieringa trail closely behind with 31 and 30 points, respectively. Talipov’s 29 assists is 2nd in the league among defenseman. Chrisian Phinney will seek to continue to shutdown opposing attacks from the backend. Travis Allen has been the main goaltender in net since being acquired. He now boasts a 5-1 record, .923 SV% and 1.5 GAA.
Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes
Mustangs special teams statistics:
Powerplay – 28/106 – 26% (3rd) Penalty kill – 102/114 – 89% (2nd)
The Mustangs are No. 1 in the WSHL with 17 shorthanded goals this season
Outliers special teams statistics:
Powerplay – 23/96 – 24% (4th) Penalty kill – 78/88 – 88% (8th)
Northwest Division Standings
Ogden Mustangs – 72 points
Utah Outliers – 48 points
Seattle Totems - 32 points
Bellingham Blazers - 28 points
Southern Oregon Spartans – 9 points
West Sound Admirals – 0 points
Overall WSHL Standings
Ogden Mustangs – 72 points
El Paso Rhinos – 66 points
Edson Aeros – 57 points
Hinton Timberwolves – 54 points
Fresno Monsters – 51 points
Oklahoma City Blazers – 50 points
Northern Colorado Eagles – 49 points
Utah Outliers – 48 points
Las Vegas Thunderbirds – 36 points
This weekend’s Northwest Division matchups
Utah Outliers at/vs. Ogden Mustangs
Southern Oregon Spartans at San Diego Sabres
Keys to the Game:
The Mustangs did everything well against the Valencia Flyers except for when it came to faceoff circle. The Flyers featured several players that were able to battle long enough for help or cleanly win draws back to cause the Mustangs to work for possession. They will need to be more diligent here as the Outliers have a much tougher lineup to crack once they have possession.
The Mustangs saw their 20-game win streak come to a close because they Outliers were able to cash in on the man-advantage. They scored 3 times on the powerplay during the Friday night game in West Valley. Even with the bounce back win the very next night, they will want to limit the amount of opportunities they give up to this formidable Outliers group.
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