by Website Admin

The Utah Outliers regular season has come to an end. The team completed its 53-game schedule with a pair of wins against their local rival, the Ogden Mustangs. Utah defeated Ogden by scores of 3-2 and 3-0 and finished the season with a record of 36-13-2.


The Outliers opened up their two-game set with the Mustangs at home at the Acord Ice Center. Utah was looking to finish the regular season with a pair of wins and get energized for the upcoming playoffs. 

The opening period showed a lot of the typical energy and aggressiveness that shows up when these two teams battle against each other. Skilled plays, big hits, and great saves were in abundance in the opening frame.

Utah got off to a hot start in this contest and opened up the scoring just 5:14 into the first period. With the puck in Utah's zone and the Mustangs pressing for offense, Utah's Nathan Huntington made an excellent defensive play that eventually resulted in a 2-on-1 odd-man rush for the Outliers. As Huntington entered the Mustang's zone, he redirected a loose puck to teammate Ryan Cooper who was left all alone on Ogden's goalie. Cooper skated toward the net uncontested and made a great move to give Utah a 1-0 lead.

At the 16:14 mark, Ryan Cooper lit the lamp again for Utah. In a similar fashion to his first goal, Cooper used his blazing speed to blow past an Ogden defender and bust in all alone on a breakaway. It was Cooper's second breakaway goal of the night which got the home crowd on its feet. 

The opening frame ended with the Outliers leading 2-0 and outshooting the Mustangs by a margin of 18-5. Utah's suffocating defense completely shut down the Mustangs along with some timely saves from starting goalie, Phil Rondina. 

In the second period, Ogden got off to a strong start and began to carry some of the play in the Outliers zone. This caused Utah to get into some penalty trouble as they had to kill off two consecutive penalties early in the second frame. Despite being short-handed and having to weather the storm on some Mustang scoring chances, Utah was able to hold the visitors off the scoreboard. A major factor on the penalty kill was goalie Phil Rondina who made several huge saves to keep Utah ahead by a score of 2-0. 

In the third period, Ogden was able to cut the Outlier's lead to 2-1 at the 11:31 mark when Mustang's point leader, Parker Osborn capitalized on an Ogden power play. The visitor's goal showed no signs of discouraging the Outliers as they immediately bounced back and applied pressure on the forecheck in an attempt to recapture momentum. Utah's offense moved the puck around the offensive zone which created a shot opportunity that found its way onto the stick of defenseman Jentzen Kaebel and then into the back of Ogden's net.

The Outliers looked poised to skate away with a 3-1 win but the Mustangs were once again able to capitalize on the man advantage, this time with just five seconds remaining in the contest. Makar Klochkov won the proceeding center ice faceoff draw which iced any chances of a heroic late comeback by Ogden and Utah skated away with a 3-2 victory in front of a loud and rambunctious crowd. 

Goaltender, Phil Rondina was solid throughout the game and earned the win with a 26-save performance.


The Outliers returned to the ice Saturday to take on the Mustangs at the Ice Sheet in Ogden. This would be the final regular season game for both teams before heading into playoffs. After a victorious performance on Friday, the Outliers set their sights on earning the sweep against the Mustangs while playing a style that would bleed into the playoffs. 

Goaltender, Dryden Demelo would get the nod in net for Utah. This was Demelo's first start since joining the team at the trade deadline and he did not disappoint as he performed well to earn his first NCDC victory and shutout. 

First-period action had Utah starting fast and furious as they spent considerable time in the Mustangs zone to start the game. The club's offense generated some good scoring chances at the Ogden net but they could not capitalize due to some big saves by the Mustangs netminder. The game eventually settled in and both teams traded offensive chances along with some power play opportunities but neither team could convert. The opening period ended with no scoring but the Outliers held the edge in shots by a margin of 12-4. 

In the second period, the intensity continued to increase as both clubs were pressing for the opening goal of the game and hoping to grab the momentum. Tight-checking and hard defense became the theme of this period as space was hard to come by for each team and every inch of the ice was tightly contested. 

Just when it appeared the second frame would also have no scoring, Utah found the back of the net in the final minute. Defenseman Connor Mariner ripped home a point shot from the blue line that found its way into the back of the net through a screen. This was a big goal for the visitors as they headed into the locker room energized and with a 1-0 lead.

In the third period, the Outliers came out storming once again as they looked to build on their late goal momentum in the second period. With only three minutes into the final period, Connor Mariner took control of a puck in the neutral zone and slipped a pass to teammate Bailey Ewonus that resulted in an odd-man rush. Ewonus skated toward the Ogden net on a 2-on-1 rush and tickled the twine with a rocket into the top corner to give his team a 2-0 lead. 

Utah added a third goal late into the contest with a great individual effort from Ryan Cooper. The hot-scoring forward stripped the Ogden defender of the puck and broke in all alone on the Mustangs goalie. Cooper attacked the net and made a shifty move to deke the goaltender and slip it past him to seal the game for the visitors. 

Utah's tight defensive play along with several key saves from Demelo shut down Ogden's offense and kept them off the scoreboard. The Outliers would complete the sweep and skate off with a 3-0 victory with Demelo earning the shutout. 

The Outliers will now prepare for the playoffs and begin their quest for the NCDC Dineen Cup!