Outliers overwhelm Roughriders
The Utah Outliers returned to the comforts of the Accord Ice Center for their first home stand of the new year to take on the Superior Roughriders. The Outliers have been rolling all season, and this past weekend was no different, as the home team took apart the Roughriders in three straight games by a combined score of 20-6. Although Superior put up a fight at different points throughout the weekend, they couldn’t stop the onslaught of Utah.
In game one, the Outliers started off fast, scoring just under two minutes into the game, courtesy of Dylan Massie. Halfway through the first Jacob Wanstrom doubled the lead, before former Outlier Austin Tautfest got one right back for the Riders on a two-on-one play and then Superior responded again to even the score with 6:49 remaining in the period. Utah responded quickly just 30 seconds after Superior’s second goal, thanks to Kaeden Meuer. Rounding out the scoring in the first was Oskars Ancitis, giving the boys in black a 4-2 lead to end the first period. Shots in the first frame were heavily favored in the home team’s direction by a 19-4 margin.
The rest of the game was all Utah as they scored five unanswered goals in the second period, and one more tally in the third. In the second period, the Outliers showcased their accurate shooting, scoring 5 goals on just 13 shots. Zack Evans struck first, followed by Massie’s second and third of the game. Roman Svik would deposit the eighth goal for Utah, followed once again by Massie for his fourth of the game. Ancitis added his second of the game as the only goal of the third period.
Although the offense catapulted the team Friday night, the team defense only allowed two shots in the third. Dawson Rodin had a relatively quiet night, only needing to stop 10 shots in the win.
Game two was a slower start than Friday, with only one goal being scored in the first period. Five minutes into the game, Brandon Krumpschmid scored his first goal of the weekend off a nice feed from behind the net. The Outliers continued the offensive pressure at the Roughriders net but goalie LJ Newell rose to the occasion to keep the game tight.
In the second period, the visiting team would even the game at one. The score did not remain deadlocked for long as Ancitis and Krumpschmid would score on a 4v4 situation. Down 3-1, Superior did not lay down as once again they were able to convert and bring the game to within one. With time winding down in the second, Krumpschmid would collect his hattrick and regain Utah’s 2-goal advantage.
Similar to Friday, the third period would only see one goal, as some beautiful puck movement from Massie and Zack Hoffman led to a highlight reel goal. Utah again dictated play outshooting Superior 17-5. Otto Saxin picked up 15 saves and earned his 10th win of the season.
Sunday’s final contest saw a different game but the same results. For the first time of the weekend, the Roughriders struck first and found themselves with the lead. The Outliers however would not let that last long as Zach Dornseifer evened things at one. Another 4v4 led to Svik giving Utah the lead, but a minute later Superior again knotted the game. The closest period of the weekend came to a close deadlocked at 2-2.
Even with the first period being very close, the second period is where Utah regained footing and elevated their play. Outshooting Superior 14-2, the Outliers took full control of the game. Svik scored his second on a beautiful goal thanks to a cheeky backdoor pass by Kane Toriumi. Shortly after, Dornseifer scored his second of the game.
In the last period of the weekend, the Outliers once again outshot their opponents heavily (16-5) but only managed to score a late empty net goal. Alex McCloskey took a beautiful feed from defenseman Vladislav Buyanov, and put it into the open cage to seal the victory. Rodin once again earned the win, picking up 17 saves in the effort.
The sweep propels the Utah Outliers into prime position in the Mountain Division. To date the standings are as follows:
- OGDEN MUSTANGS 37 GP 28 W 8 L 1 OTL (57 PTS)
- UTAH OUTLIERS 34 GP 28 W 6 L 0 OTL (56 PTS)
- COLORADO EAGLES 34 GP 25 W 5 L 4 OTL (54 PTS)
Although Ogden has one more point than the Outliers, Utah has three games in hand and is set up to make a run for the division title. Colorado is very close behind as well, setting up for an exciting home stretch. Finishing first will prove to be extremely valuable as it secures home ice advantage throughout the divisional rounds of playoffs. This weekend the Outliers play a home and home series with the Mustangs, which will be for first place. Saturday’s game will take place at the Accord Ice Center at 6:35 PM, followed by Sunday’s game at the Ice Sheet at 1:30 PM.