by Paul Taylor

The Outliers played a three-game set this past weekend. The club was able to pick up four more points in the standings as they defeated the Provo Predators by scores of 4-1 and 5-2. Utah would also pick up a 4-0 loss against the Idaho Falls Spud Kings. 


On Thursdayday night, the Outliers and Predators faced off against each other at the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah. The two teams engaged in a tough and spirited matchup as valuable points were up for grabs. 

The first period showed the dominance of the Outliers as they came out playing aggressively, peppering the Predators net with some great shots and putting the home team on its heels. 

The Outlier's strong offensive play in the opening period led them to capitalize on their first goal of the contest when forward Makar Klochkov drilled home a powerplay goal off of the setup from Daniil Chuparnov and Matteo Mitrovic. 

Building on their fast start, the visitors were able to double the score and take a 2-0 lead off a shot from Carson Strapon that found its way into the back of the net past Provo goalie Ryan Henry. 

Shots after the first period favored Provo by a margin of 14-11. Although the shots on goal favored the Predators in the opening frame, it was Utah who made their shots count behind some great goaltending by Philip Rondina. 

The second period saw the Outliers continue their stranglehold of the game but they had to wait until the 17:03 mark of the second period to get rewarded for their efforts. Utah Forward, Bailey Ewonus made a fantastic individual effort and topped it off by beating the Predators goalie Ryan Henry blocker side for his fifth goal of the year. The breakaway was made possible thanks to a heads-up pass by defenseman Matteo Mitrovic 

The two teams headed to their dressing rooms with Utah leading by a score of 3-0 and demonstrating their strong team game. The visitors controlled much of the action and pace up to this point of the game and were hoping to bring that momentum into the final period. 

The Predators were able to get on the scoreboard in the third period when they converted on the powerplay thanks to a puck that was redirected past Phil Rondina by Provo defenseman Gavin O'Hara. Provo would get no closer on this night as Utah sealed the victory at the 17:25 mark when Connor Mariner shot the puck nearly the entire length of the ice and into a wide-open net to cap off the 4-1 win. 

Utah was bolstered by another strong performance between the pipes by Philip Rondina who turned away 37 of the 38 shots against him. The victory helped the team earn another two points in the standings and continue to inch toward first place in the Mountain Division. 


The Outliers traveled to the Mountain America Center Friday night looking to continue their momentum from Thursday night's victory in Provo.  This game had plenty of fast-paced action and intense battles as both clubs were determined to grab the win in the tightly contested Mountain Division. 

The first period began with an early powerplay for Idaho Falls and the home team would make the Outliers pay. Spud Kings, Owen Pitters gained control of the puck low in the zone and drove it hard to the net for the goal. 

The opening frame displayed some big hits and physical play as each team worked to assert their presence and insert their will on their opponent. The Outliers generated several grade-A chances in the first period but were denied time and time again by the Idaho Falls netminder, Tucker Inabinet. 

Idaho continued their scoring at the 18:12 mark when forward Sacha Trudel threw a puck on the net that deflected off an Outlier defenseman and found its way past Utah netminder Phil Rondina. The period came to a close with Idaho leading 2-0 but with the shots being even at 12 apiece. 

The Spud Kings didn't waste any time getting back to their game in the second frame as they came out without a lot of intensity to set up a flurry of scoring chances at the Utah net. 

Idaho was rewarded for their aggressive pressure when forward Luke Steffen grabbed his fourth of the season when he found himself all alone in the slot. Just moments later, Franco Canevari scored the fourth goal of the evening for the Spud Kings. The fourth goal saw the Outliers bring in goaltender Sam Straff to take over between the pipes. 

The third period produced just 13 shots as the Spud Kings locked down the neutral zone and made it difficult for Utah to break through with their offense. The final period wound up a scoreless period for both teams and Idaho Falls skated off with the victory. 


Saturday's game was Utah's third game in as many nights, and the club was looking to end the weekend on a high note. 

Utah's game plan against Provo was to start fast and try to dominate the visitors early by controlling the pace and puck possession.  

The Outliers opened up the scoring to take a 1-0 lead at the 9:54 mark of the first period. Utah forward Bailey Ewonus tapped in a puck in the goal crease after a heavy shot from newcomer Jaxon Grosdidier wasn't controlled by the Provo goaltender. 

Utah continued its territorial advantage in the opening frame but could not convert on any more of its scoring chances to extend the lead. The period concluded with the Outliers leading 1-0 and outshooting the Predators by a 10-5 margin. 

Utah continued to play with high energy and control the early portions of the second period with some nifty passing plays that resulted in the club generating numerous chances at the net but they were all thwarted by the Provo goaltender. 

The Outliers hard work and persistence eventually paid off as Garrett Joss knocked a Jake Howard rebound out of the air and into the back of the net to hand the Outliers a 2-0 lead.

Provo would answer back with a strong push of their own as they tried to capitalize on some solid chances and create their offense off a couple of power play opportunities. Once again, it was Utah's Philip Rondina standing tall and blocking everything that came his way.

Provo eventually narrowed Utah's lead to 2-1 with a third period tally when they pounced on an Outliers turnover during a failed entry and quickly transitioned up the ice. Provo entered the Utah zone on a breakaway and released a perfect shot past Rondina at the 2:42 mark. 

Utah showed some great resilience to bounce back immediately when they answered with their own goal just over a minute later. Utah forward, Garrett Joss finished his chance at the net front to give the Outliers a 3-1 lead. 

The final sixteen minutes of the period had the Predators pushing hard for their second goal and trying to grab some late momentum. At the 12:25 mark, Predators forward Lucca Ori converted his seventeenth of the year to bring the score to 3-2. 

Utah's Michael Schwartz answered back for the home team when he batted a Ryan Cooper pass into the back of the net with just under two minutes remaining in the game.

Outliers forward Daniil Chuparnov sealed the game for the home crowd when he buried an empty net goal to give Utah a 5-2 victory.