The Utah Outliers will play host to the Idaho Falls Spud Kings in round 2 of the Mountain Division semi-finals. The two teams will play a best-of-three series with the winner advancing to the Mountain division finals. The Outliers held a distinct advantage over the Spud Kings during the regular season, earning a record of 9-0 and going undefeated against their division rival.
The Outliers earned a bye in the first round of the Mountain division playoffs while the Spud Kings swept the Northern Colorado Eagles by scores of 4-1 and 6-4 to advance to the second round.
Utah enters the playoffs with a regular season record of 43-5-4 which earned them 90 points and a first-place finish in the Mountain division. The Outliers finished the regular season scoring 255 goals and allowing 118. Idaho Falls compiled a 19-29-4 regular season record, scoring 162 goals, allowing 266, and finishing 5th place in the division.
Another point of difference between the two clubs during the regular season was that the Spud Kings accumulated the second most penalty minutes in the Mountain division with (863) minutes. Utah was tied for being the least penalized team in the division at (670) minutes.
It is no secret that special teams can play a big role in the playoffs. A team that is strong on the power play and penalty kill can have a serious edge over its opponent. Idaho Falls finished the regular season with its penalty kill at 77.3% and its power play clicking at 21.4%. Meanwhile, the Outlier's penalty kill finished at 84.2% and its power play at 23.4%.
Offensively, the Spud Kings have four players with 40+ points and are led by forward Justin Davis who has 50 points. Matteo Mitrovic leads all defensemen on the team with 43 points. In goal, Idaho Falls has a strong goaltender in Colin Rowbotham who posted a 2.54 GA and a .909 SV% in 13 regular season games. Rowbotham was also in the net for both round one playoff wins against Northern Colorado.
Utah's offense has been well-balanced all season as the club boasts four players with over 25 goals and six players with over 40+ points. Will Cohen led the team with 39 goals and 81 points while the duo of Magnus Einarson and Matthew Koepke led the backend with 76 points between the two defensemen. In the net, the Outliers are well protected with three solid goalies (Nathan Dickey, Jaxon Letey, Thomas Pigeon) who have all performed well at various points of the season. Dickey has been noticeably hot down the stretch, putting in some very strong performances in his last handful of games.
Team captain Matthew Koepke is looking forward to the series against the Spud Kings and expects the games to be hard-fought and intense.
"We're excited about the challenge that awaits us. I feel we have a really talented team and I trust every single guy to do their job. I believe we are fully prepared for a deep playoff run and we're looking forward to chasing down another Mountain division title." - Matthew Koepke, captain
Assistant captain Miles McCue is also eager for the semi-finals matchup to begin.
"Very excited for the opportunity we have with this group and the culture we have established. We know it is a new season once the playoffs start and we're ready to bring our A-game into this series. We are confident in our identity and structure and I believe the depth of our line up will be the difference maker. - Miles McCue, assistant captain
The series will be played March 11-13 at the Acord Ice Center. Check out all information on our tickets and schedule pages. All playoff games will be broadcasted on Livestream at HockeyTV. com.