Outliers ice the Icemen
This past weekend the Utah Outliers took the ice to play against the Tahoe Icemen. Coming into the series, Tahoe was riding a three-game winning streak, carrying a 13-8-3, good for 2nd place in the Northwest Division. Utah came in having lost its last game, and boasting a 15-5-0 record, sitting in 3rd place in the Mountain Division. The games were predicted to be a tough battle between two teams rising up in the standings and looking to make an impact amongst the elite in the WSHL. The results of the series were dominated by the boys in black as the Outliers poured on the offense, winning by a combined margin of 25-8.
In Friday’s game, the visiting team came out quick, surprising the home team and striking early in the first period. Utah did not let the slow start derail their chances of winning, and just under halfway into the first, they evened the score at 1-1 on a two-on-one goal buried by Zach Dornseifer. Dylan Massie and Jacob Wanstrom collected assists. Even though the ice was heavily tilted in the Outliers favor, great goaltending by Wade Conlan kept the score 1-1 to end the first period. The shot total through the first frame was 12-4.
The Outliers began to heat up in the second period, scoring early in the period courtesy of Vladislav Buyanov. Kaeden Meuer and Oskars Ancitis were awarded assists. Around two minutes later, Tahoe would once again knot the game at 2-2. The first few penalties of the game were called halfway through the second frame and on a four-on-four opportunity, Christian Bundschuh sent a nice pass to Dornseifer, who returned the favor to his linemate Massie by setting him up for a beautiful goal regaining Utah’s lead. Late in the period, Bundschuh would get his first goal of the season on a powerplay bomb from the blue line. Kane Toriumi and Gianni Vitali picked up the powerplay assists. With just 16 seconds left on the clock, some clever puck movement by Locke Wischmann, Holden McCulloch, and Benji Mickel confused the Icemen, and Mickel found Spencer Langille-Crowe alone on the far side of the ice where he made no mistake and buried the fifth goal of the game.
The third period was all Utah as the home team racked up four goals on twenty shots, while only surrendering one shot. The scoring barrage started early, as two minutes in Bundschuh sent a pass to Vitali, who sent it over to Toriumi who unleashed a one timer past Conlan. Just over a minute later, another powerplay resulted in a Jacob Wanstrom goal, with assists going to Dornseifer and Bundschuh. Three minutes after that, Brandon Krumpschmid found a wide-open Meuer who drilled it past Conlan for his first of the game. The scoring ended with a rebound goal from Ancitis on a Roman Svik deflection from a shot by Kevyn McElligott.
Nine different Outliers scored goals and Otto Saxin earned his seventh win of the season en route to the team’s sixteenth victory. Wade Conlan and Max Haselbacher split time and collected 24 saves.
Saturday’s game resulted in a similar fate for the Icemen as the Outliers would once again come out firing. With 9:25 remaining in the first period, after a heavy shot from Zack Evans, Wanstrom buried a rebound giving Utah a 1-0 lead. Not long after, a powerplay saw a repeat of Friday night, as once again a Bundschuh to Vitali to Toriumi one timer doubled the Outliers lead. Tahoe brought the lead back to one on a Paul Frys powerplay goal, but Vitali responded with 3:52 remaining. Toriumi and Krumpschmid received credit for the helpers. The first period ended 3-1 and shots 26-10 in favor of Utah.
The second period’s opening minutes saw an Icemen goal on a 5vs3 powerplay. Everything after that was the Wanstrom, Massie, and Hoffman show, as the three accounted for all three Outlier goals. Ten minutes in, Wanstrom scored a powerplay goal with help from Massie and Hoffman. Five minutes later, the trio repeated the feat as Wanstrom scored his hattrick goal. With just over a minute to go, Wanstrom scored his third of the second period and fourth of the game, once again assisted by the Massie and Hoffman combo.
Only two goals were scored in the third period, both off of Outlier sticks. The first of the two came from a beautifully placed shot by Vitali (second of the game) on assists from Krumpschmid and Langille-Crowe. The second to be scored was late in the period as Dmitri Munirov would collect a pass from Mickel and rifle a shot into the net. Buyanov was also awarded an assist on the Munirov goal.
Dawson Rodin collected his 8th win of the season stopping 19 shots, while once again the Icemen had goaltenders split time. Haselbacher and Thomas Spero earned a combined 49 saves between the pair in the loss.
In Sunday’s matinee game, the Icemen showed resiliency and fight, but the Outliers would not be denied. The potent Utah offense once again heavily outshot the opposition, and for the third game in a row, amassed 8 goals.
Similarly to the Friday game, Tahoe would strike first eight minutes into the opening period. Shortly after however, Wischmann collected his first goal of the night, and the first Outliers goal of the game. Outshooting the visitors 20-4, the score would remain even at 1-1.
In the second frame, the scoring came early and often for both teams. Krumpschmid was awarded a goal with 16:43 remaining to give Utah the lead. Alex McCloskey increased the lead a few minutes later with helpers from Mickel and Toriumi on a twisted wrister on a breakaway. Tahoe did not quit pushing as some timely powerplay scoring gave them a chance to score back to back goals thirty seconds apart. Toriumi went on to score his own back-to-back goals at the four and two minutes mark of the second period. Kane’s first goal was helped by assists from Langille-Crowe and Buyanov, while the second was made possible by Vitali and Krumpschmid.
The final period picked up where the second period ended, a Toriumi goal. The hattrick goal came on helpers from Vitali and McElligott. It was also the third time this season that an Outlier player has earned it. The visiting team would tack on one more goal late, but it was not enough as the game and weekend were sealed by an empty net goal. Brad McCloskey made a head’s up play and took a hit to find Toriumi. Toriumi and Vitali found themselves on a two on one, and Kane had a chance to duplicate Wanstrom the night before with a four-goal performance. Rather than shoot it himself, he unselfishly fed Vitali for the eighth and final goal of the weekend.
Saxin matched his goaltending partner Rodin, and earned his 8th win of the season with a 13 save performance. Conlan recorded 50 saves in the loss. Six different Outliers players scored and once again, the scoring by committee powered the home team past another opponent.
Once again, the Utah Outliers demonstrated an elite powerplay, going 3-5 on Friday night, and adding 3 more Saturday night. The team returns to the ice this weekend for a home and home series against the Ogden Mustangs, who are coming off a series in which they took 5 out of a possible 6 points from the previously undefeated Idaho IceCats. The two games are the last of the regular season in 2017 until the WSHL Las Vegas Showcase. Friday night’s game will take place at 7:30PM at the Ice Sheet in Ogden, Utah, and Saturday’s game will take place at the Salt Lake County Ice Sheet in Murray, Utah at 8:30PM.