OUTLIERS COMPLETE SIX GAME SWEEP
For the second weekend in a row, the Utah Outliers picked up a three game sweep, and for the second weekend in a row, it came at the hands of the Steamboat Wranglers. The Outliers returned home to West Valley for the series against the Wranglers, and picked up right where they left off in Steamboat showcasing their strong offense and stalwart defense. Over the course of the weekend, Utah outscored their opponents by a score of 18-4. Once again, numerous Outliers put up multiple points, and all three goalies saw some action. The successful games put Utah into second place in the WSHL, and give them a six-game win streak as they prepare for a home and home series against their rivals, the Ogden Mustangs.
In game one, the Outliers started out well, but gradually picked up steam as they kept building intensity throughout the game. In the first period, each team was able to put one past the opposing goaltenders. First it was captain Zach Dornseifer, scoring on a powerplay tip-in goal. The Wranglers were able to put a goal in themselves and brought the 1-1 tie into the first intermission. The 14-6 shot advantage for Utah would be the closest the teams would get, as in the second period Jan Dvorak continued his hot start to the season, scoring with 6 minutes left and giving the home team the lead. Although only one goal was scored, Utah poured on 30 shots while only allowing 7. The final period of the game was all Outliers, as the boys in black scored 6 goals on 26 shots and held the Wranglers to just 3. Kaeden Meuer started the barrage of goals; followed by two goals in a row by new acquisition, forward Matt Bartel. Finally, two Zak Albers tallies were sandwiched by a second notch from Dvorak. Goaltender Oscar Wahlgren picked up his second win of the year gathering 15 saves along the way.
Saturday’s tilt played out similar to Friday’s with the Outliers setting the tone early and keeping the pressure on the visitors all night. In the first frame, Utah tacked up three goals, courtesy of forwards Nicholas Ness, Zak Albers, and Ryley Bast. The Wranglers kept pace in shooting for the first time in the weekend, only being outshot 16-11. In the second period however, Utah’s defense tightened up, only allowing 2 shots, however one managed to find the back of the net. D-man Jake Papesh countered and reclaimed Utah’s 3 game lead before Bartel once again lit the lamp on the powerplay. The final period only saw one goal from each side, with Papesh picking up his second score before the Wranglers managed to add one themselves. Wahlgren played the first two periods before New York native Kenton Kim took over the crease in the final frame.
The final game of the series kept the trend alive, as each team had a clear understanding of one another having played five games in a row against each other. The expansion team kept fighting and never gave up, however it is a huge task taking on the defending regular season Mountain Division champs to start your tenure in the WSHL. The Outliers managed to once again exert dominance as Ness started the scoring early, followed by a nice redirect by Benji Mickel. As was the theme all weekend, Utah suffocated their opponents and piled up 18 shots while only surrendering 4. The Wranglers never-say-die attitude came into play again as they scored first in the second period before Dvorak put a halt to the visitors’ surge. The last period of the weekend and the series only saw one goal, as a nice tic tac toe play led to a beautiful Josh Friend goal. Young net minder Jack Walsh earned a 16 save win for his second of the early season.
The Utah Outliers are on a roll and every player on the roster seems to be really clicking. The team was given a significant jolt with the new acquisitions contributing from the moment they hit the ice. Forward Matt Bartel joined Utah after playing his last two seasons with the Dauphin Kings and immediately showcased he can take over games, pouring on 3 goals and 5 assists during the series. Bartel was joined by his former Dauphin teammate Nicholas Ness who started the season with the Janesville Jets in the NAHL. While patrolling the wing with Bartel, Ness also had success right away adding 2 goals and 5 assists in his first weekend with the club. Big things are expected from these two new forwards, and they will get their first taste of rivalry as next weekend will be their first experience playing against the always-dangerous Ogden Mustangs.
Stay tuned for more information on next weekend’s matchup as the Outliers look to take on their state rival, the Ogden Mustangs. Friday night Utah will travel to The Ice Sheet in Ogden for a 7:30 PM before returning the Acord Ice Arena for a 6:30 PM game on Saturday.