OUTLIERS BREAK OUT BROOMS FOR FIRST SWEEP
The Utah Outliers have returned from their first road trip of the 2018-19 season, completing a successful 3-game sweep of the Steamboat Wranglers. Utah returned to the form they experienced last season outscoring Steamboat by a combined score of 28-9, while having a variety of players partake in the scoring. The powerplay showed dominance throughout the weekend, and the penalty kill kept chances to a minimum. All three goaltenders were able to see some action, and each one picked up a victory. These two teams will engage in round two next weekend, this time with the Outliers getting to host.
In game one, Steamboat came out swinging, scoring just 14 seconds into the first period on a beautiful shot in the top left corner. The Outliers were able to respond thanks to two goals from the stick of Miroslav Hradecky just 30 seconds apart from one another. The Wranglers responded once more before Zak Albers was able to place a perfect shot over goalie Ian Young’s blocker to regain the lead. With just over 30 seconds left in period, Jakub Lelek was able to make a tremendous move inside the blue line before skating to the right circle and blast a shot right inside the post, giving the Outliers a 4-2 lead going into the intermission.
The majority of the second period was all Utah, as the boys controlled the puck and had an onslaught of chances throughout. Forward Anthony Masanotti showcased why he is a 40-goal scorer, burying two goals (one powerplay) just two minutes apart. Czech native Jan Dvorak concluded scoring in the second for the Outliers several minutes later. Similar to the first period, with time winding down, another goal was scored with just under a minute left. This time however it was Steamboat converting late for their third goal of the night.
The third frame played out similar to the second, with the Outliers dictating much of the play and compiling chance after chance. A good sign in the third was the offensive emergence of Utah’s leaders. Assistant captain Christian Bundschuh started the scoring in the third, followed by second year forward Philip Magni, and then followed by assistant captain Benji Mickel. The Wranglers were unable to find the back of the net in the period, giving the Outliers an 11-3 win. Goaltender Oscar Wahlgren earned 14 saves for his first win of the season.
Steamboat came out charging in game two, picking up the tempo and skating neck and neck with Utah for the first period. The Wranglers put in two goals in the first half of the frame. Outliers forward, Jan Dvorak was able to score his second goal in as many games to cut the lead in half, but unfortunately for the visitors, the home team kept up the pressure adding a third goal late. For the first and only time in the series, Utah went into the break without the lead.
The Outliers responded big, putting on pressure in the second frame along with three goals. Lelek scored his second of the weekend and a few minutes following Hradecky would add his third. With the momentum shifted, more and more chances kept coming for Utah until finally returning forward Kaeden Meuer would put Utah in the lead for the first time of the game. Even with things going Utah’s way, an unlucky penalty opened the chance for Steamboat to even the score going into the last period.
The Outliers were relentless in the third, pouring on 12 shots while only allowing 2. Determined to claim the second game of the series, Utah tightened up every aspect of their game. Meuer emerged as the offensive hero, cashing in on a rebound to give the boys in black the lead for good. New York native Kenton Kim turned away 17 shots to earn his first victory in the WSHL this season.
Game three Utah finally was able to put together a full game, overwhelming Steamboat in dominant fashion by a score of 12-2. Ten different Outliers scored goals and nearly every player earned a point in the contest. Captain Zach Dornseifer led the charge with three goals. Other goals were scored by: Dvorak, Bundschuh, Magni, Mickel, Jake Papesh, Mikey Power, Ryley Bast, and Josh Friend. Young netminder Jack Walsh picked up his first win with an impressive 28 save night.
The Utah Outliers will look to keep the momentum and win streak alive next week at home against these same Steamboat Wranglers. This will be the first home series for the Outliers this season. All three contests will take place at the Acord Ice Arena in West Valley, UT.