OUTLIERS COME UP SHORT IN OGDEN
The Utah Outliers traveled north to Ogden to take on the Ogden Mustangs for one game at the Ice Sheet. With both teams riding solid winning streaks, and both teams holding a 2-2 record against one another, something had to give. Both Utah and Ogden came into the game boasting their own strengths, and the matchup featured one of the top offenses (Mustangs) and the top defenses (Outliers) in the WSHL. The fans were not disappointed as the game featured fast paced action, a number of big hits, a few fights, great goals, and some good goal-tending.
In the first period, both teams wasted no time getting into their game plans and began exchanging chances and shots. The physicality started early with each team not wanting to give an inch to the opponents. Halfway into the first period, the Outliers were awarded a powerplay. The Mustangs did well to keep the Utah unit at bay until just before it expired, when Zach Dornseifer won a board battle and slid the puck to Oskars Ancitis. Ancitis skated behind the net and found Dylan Massie open in the slot who blistered a one timer past goaltender Daniel Pavlicko. Neither team relented as the fast pace continued. Both Pavlicko and Outlier goalie Dawson Rodin made some strong saves and the score remained the same until late in the first period. On a delayed penalty, the Mustangs found some extra ice, as Jacob Laurin received a pass on the backdoor that would knot the game at one. Both teams retired to the dressing rooms after the first with a 1-1 tie.
The second period saw more of the same, as again each team had their chances and showcased flashes of speed, power, and grit. With thirteen minutes remaining, WSHL leading scorer Matus Spodniak scored a shorthanded goal when he raced down a loose puck and then found himself alone in front of the net to give Ogden their first lead of the night. The celebration was short lived however as the Outliers would strike back just 30 seconds later on the Power Play. Zack Hoffman blasted a shot on net that sent a rebound to Gianni Vitali. Vitali then had his shot stopped by Pavlicko, which sent another rebound to a wide-open Massie at the side of the net. Massie made no mistake on his attempt, scoring his second of the night and once again evening the score at 2-2. The Outliers continued to pressure the Mustangs and had a great chance to take the lead when Pavlicko got caught out of his net and Jacob Wanstrom attempted to pass in front but it was blocked. The Mustangs recovered the loose puck and transitioned up the ice three-on-two and passed to a streaking Spodniak who cut in on the net and slipped one through the arm of Rodin. The second period ended with the score 3-2 Mustangs.
The third period saw a lot of action that shows the rivalry between these two clubs is amongst the most intense in the league. A few fights broke out at various points in the period, and the physicality ramped up another level. The Outliers were called for six penalties in the third period and therefore spent most of the period defending. As the clock ticked down, the Outliers pulled their goalie for the extra attacker and had some late chances but could not convert. Rodin finished the game with 26 saves in the loss, and Pavlicko earned a 21 save win.
The Outliers and Mustangs will meet again for another home-and-home series set for December 8th in Ogden and December 9th in Salt Lake City. Before that however, Utah will host the upstart Tahoe Icemen for a three game series at the Acord Ice Center on December 1-3rd. Last year the Outliers dominated the Icemen at the Las Vegas Showcase by a score of 9-0 but this season the Icemen have turned things around. They currently have a 13-8-3 record and sit in second place in the Northwest Division.