Outliers are playoff ready
The Utah Outliers are preparing for playoffs this week and the team is energized and excited about the opportunity to repeat as Mountain Division Champions having captured the title last season.
This season the Outliers will enter the Mountain Division playoffs as the No.1 seed, having finished in first place during the regular season. The team is looking forward to carrying its momentum into post-season action and building on what has already been a successful year.
"We feel good about earning the No. 1 seed but we also understand that we have a lot of work ahead of us as we begin our playoff journey. All season long this team has proven they are a tight-knit group and I see that being a very important factor as we head into the stretch run," said Head Coach Paul Taylor.
The Outliers have been busy at practice fine-tuning their systems as they prepare for their upcoming series on March 11th. The coaches have been running the club through some productive training sessions and hammering away at the small details that will matter most once the puck drops. The team has chosen to stick to its regular practice schedule and keep its foot on the gas in order to be primed and ready to go.
One of Utah's greatest assets this season has been the fact that they have a strong balance of talent throughout their lineup. That team depth has played a big factor in the club's success as they have received consistent contributions from every position throughout the regular season.
Assistant Coach Jared Pike had this to say, "I see our team as very well-rounded with a balance of explosive offense and a stingy defense. Our commitment to playing with sound structure creates a lot of challenges for opponents. To win games at this time of the year, we will need to continue to play a disciplined game. I am very confident our group will rise to the challenge."
Offensively, Utah has nine players with 25 points or more in its lineup. The team's ability to spread out its offense has made it difficult for the opposition to shut them down. Defensively, the Outliers ranked at the top of the Mountain Division in allowing the lowest goals against during the regular season. This is a strong reflection of the club's talented defenseman and rock-solid goaltending.
Forward Nicklaus Obourn likes what he has seen from his teammates and realizes what a great opportunity playoffs present for them all. "We ended the regular season on a high note by winning our last five games so the team's confidence is high. The mood in the locker room is energetic and we are in a good place mentally. This is the time of the year we all need to take another step in our game and be at our best."
As with every playoff season, goaltending will play a critical role and the Outliers are in good hands having a solid trio in net with Garrett Alderman, Lucas Brine, and Fabian Pozzera.
Alderman, who has been with the team all season and has proven he can rise to the occasion, views the playoffs as a new chapter for the team. "It's the start of a new season for all of us and we know our team is capable of going deep into the playoffs. We have put in a lot of hard work over the past six months to reach this point. I am confident we have the buy-in and determination to achieve our goal."
Winning in the playoffs requires a lot of sweat and sacrifice. If the Outliers are to repeat as Mountain Division Champions the team will need to execute well on its fundamentals and stick to its team identity. There is no shortcut to success at this time of the year and Utah clearly understands that the stakes are high and the rewards are great.
"Playing in the playoffs is the most exciting part of the season because it is a war of attrition and will. Every game has so much meaning and the emotions and stakes are high. We are hungrier than ever, our team chemistry is awesome and I know we will bring our A-game when it matters most. We are playoff ready, said Assistant Coach Eric Verdi.
The Outliers are poised and confident to begin their playoff run and chase down a title. It's been fun watching this team play together and grow as a team. Now they will have to step up their game and find that winning formula when it matters most. Let the games begin!