The Ogden Mustangs opened the 2019-20 season with three dominant wins on home ice over the Ontario Avalanche: 8-4, 8-0 and 8-0.
The weekend’s action had a little bit of everything, with the first half of the first game being a defensive battle and then a goal-fest and then a penalty-fest. Lots of good goaltending, offensive prowess and physicality was seen throughout the weekend, giving Mustang fans a lot to look forward to in the new season ahead.
It’s been a common theme for Mustang teams to start the season off with wins at home. The Mustangs have now won seven consecutive home openers, dating back to their 2013-14 season.
For head coach Jake Laime, now in his eighth season with the team, he’ll take the three wins but knows his team has a long way to go.
“We need to stay humble and not think we’re a good team yet,” Laime said. “I think we were a better team than who we played, but we are not a good team yet. I know it was only the first weekend, but there was a lot of inconsistency and selfishness. We will be a tougher team than years past, but we will not be dumb and undisciplined. Now that we have a few games under our belt, I would hope and look forward to more processed plays and less individualism. I’m very optimistic with what we have, but there is a lot of work to do.”
The Mustangs have an all-time high of nine returners on this season’s roster. Other than Harry Gulliver who is the lone returner out with an injury to start the season, the other eight returners each registered at least two points last weekend. Shane Gilbert led the way.
Offensive leaders from last weekend:
Shane Gilbert – 2 goals, 6 assists Johan Zöllner – 3 goals, 3 assists* Gleb Krivoshapkin – 3 goals, 2 assists Oliver Wieringa – 3 goals, 2 assists Caleb Dolman – 2 goals, 3 assists Hayden Masterson – 1 goal, 3 assists Aidan McAleer – 1 goal, 2 assists Ethan McKinley – 1 goal, 2 assists Cannon Rogers – 3 assists
*Due to a scorekeeping issue in Game 1 (complicated by the fact that the Avalanche arrived at the arena at 7:15 p.m. for a game that was supposed to begin at 7:30 p.m. and got their roster to the scorekeeper late), the Mustangs first goal was not recorded in the official scorekeeping system. We do however have video evidence that it was scored.
Engan’s goal on Sunday came off of a beautifully-placed backhand for one of the prettier goals of the weekend.
In goal last weekend, three different goaltenders picked up the wins. Matthew Genter made 15 saves in Game 1, Mason Palmer made 12 saves in Game 2 and Titan Anderson made 15 saves in Game 3. Both Palmer and Anderson registered shutouts.
It’s extremely early in the season, but the Mustangs do currently sit No. 1 overall in the Western States Hockey League standings, tied with the Oklahoma City Blazers. The Mustangs’ +20 goal differential is also the best in the league.
Next up, the Mustangs hit the road to face the Steamboat Wranglers next weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The Mustangs are back in Utah in two weeks for a home-and-home against the Utah Outliers, with Friday night’s game in Ogden and Saturday night’s in West Valley.