Outliers Win Again!
The Utah Outliers picked up four valuable points in the tightly contested Mountain Division this past weekend as they played host to the visiting Idaho Falls Spud Kings on Friday before hitting the road on Saturday to take on the undefeated Provo Predators. Utah defeated the Spud Kings on Friday and Saturday took down the Predators to earn a weekend sweep. Both games ended up being a hard-fought battle with a lot of back-and-forth action and strong goaltending. The weekend recap shows the Outliers continuing their encouraging pace of winning which has them rising up the standings in the Mountain division.
Utah Outliers 3, Idaho Falls Spud Kings 2 (Friday, November 11th)
The Outliers started the game off with a bang as they found their skating legs from the drop of the puck and applied a ton of offensive pressure at the Idaho net. Although Utah carried the play, they found themselves down by a goal early in the first after an untimely turnover gave the Spud Kings a two-on-o breakaway and Idaho's Ryan Johnson buried a backdoor shot past Utah's Griffin Davis.
The Outliers would go on to level the score at 1-1 when Jentzen Kaebel's stretch pass to Garrett Joss ended up in a breakaway. Joss collected the long pass, skated in all alone on the Idaho netminder, and released a quick shot over the Idaho goaltender's blocker to even the score.
The home team continued their high-tempo play in the second period and grabbed a 2-1 lead when Magzhan Sagadiev skated over the Spud Kings’ blue line on an offensive rush and made a fantastic shot inside the far post just 38 seconds into the second frame. After the Outlier's second goal by Sagadiev, the team fell into some sloppy play and made a few poor turnovers that resulted in feeding Idaho Fall’s transition game and putting Utah on its heels. The poor play continued when Idaho Falls’ Ty Walker was able to convert on an odd-man rush for the equalizer. Both teams headed into the locker room with the score knotted up 2-2 and the shots registering 24-19 in favor of Idaho Falls.
In the third period, the action got fast and furious with a lot of back-and-forth play and both teams creating some high-danger scoring chances. The goaltenders consistently stood tall in the net for their respective teams and were up for the challenge. Each time a solid scoring opportunity occurred, the Idaho goalie and Utah's Griffin Davis were quick to fend off the attempt they faced. This strong display of goaltending would force the game into overtime.
Utah carrying much of the play during the three-on-three overtime, the Outlier's hard work drew a power play when Jentzen Kaebel was elbowed while driving to the net for a scoring chance. The Spud Kings called a timeout which allowed Utah to draw up a face-off play and try to score with just 7 seconds remaining on the clock. On the ensuing faceoff, Outlier centerman Grant Parshall won the draw cleanly to teammate Daniil Chuparnov who passed to fellow countryman David Utkin who buried a slapshot over the glove of the Spud Kings goalie for a 3-2 victory.
Utah Outliers 4, Provo Predators 3 (Saturday, November 12th)
On Saturday night, the Outliers traveled to Provo to take on the undefeated Predators. This was the first meeting between these two teams this season.
Jackson Lucia opened the scoring for Provo on the powerplay at the 1:55 mark of the first period. The Outliers found themselves down early again after a sluggish start to the night that saw them register just 5 shots on goal in the opening frame.
The second period evolved into a much more even contest as both teams settled for 11 shots a piece. The Outliers began to find their skating legs after sleepwalking their way through the first period. Despite the encouraging signs of life, the Predators took a 2-0 lead off of a Gavin Black goal. It wasn’t until 11:50 of the second period that the Outliers had something to show for their efforts. David Utkin seized a loose puck in the neutral zone that afforded him a breakaway where he was able to beat goalie Ryan Henry with a backhand move to narrow Provo's lead to 2-1.
The Predators increased their lead to 3-1 at the 6:57 mark of the final period when the home team created a turnover behind the Outlier's net that led to a chance out front that they capitalized on. Despite falling behind 3-1 Utah showed much more aggression and intensity in the third period and started to take over the game. The Outliers' offense began to carry the momentum and produce numerous offensive sequences in the Predator's zone that led to them getting fatigued and producing turnovers. Utah's relentless pressure eventually led to them scoring two goals in 5 minutes to knot the game up at 3-3.
At the conclusion of a hard-fought 60 minutes, both the Outliers and Predators found themselves in the same position they were in Friday night, staring down the barrel of overtime. While the Outliers dominated the majority of possession in OT, both teams were still able to generate some quality scoring chances and both goaltenders had to come up with some timely saves.
There were no last-second theatrics to be found for the Outliers in overtime which therefore sent the game to a shootout. The 5-minute OT duel ended with no goals but generated a total of seven shots, four of which came off the stick of an Outlier.
Griffin Davis was stellar in net for the Outliers during the shootout. After allowing the first shot he faced, Davis bounced back to shut the door on the Predator's next five shooters. For the Outliers it was Michael Schwartz's low blocker shootout goal that forced the shootout into sudden death. The shootout hero of the game belonged to Utah's defenseman Jentzen Kaebel who showed off his skills with a nifty fake that froze the Provo netminder and allowed Kaebel to slide the puck into an open net for the win!
The final shots for the game were 37-30 in favor of Utah as they picked up the win and handed Provo their first loss of the season.
The Outliers will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Idaho Falls on Friday, October 20th, and then play host to the Spud Kings on Saturday, October 21st at 6:30 pm at the Acord Ice Center.