OUTLIERS PREPARE FOR ICEMEN
The Utah Outliers return this weekend to the Acord Ice Center for a three game set against the Tahoe Icemen. In this rare out of division series, the Outliers will get to face a team from the Northwest Division. The Icemen have shown a strong record thus far boasting a 13-8-3 record, good for second place in the Northwest Division. A key to the Icemen’s success has been a potent offensive attack, having scored a total of 110 goals in 24 games. The Outliers come into the weekend with a 15-5-0 record, scoring a total of 98 goals.
On the defensive end, Tahoe has seen its share of goals against, allowing 93 compared to the Outliers 34. Similar to last weekend, this matchup seems to be highlighted again by a strong offense against a stout defense. One topic to keep track of is in the penalty department. The Icemen have shown they are not afraid to play physical while amassing 675 penalty minutes, the second highest in the entire WSHL. Even with the high amount of penalties, a key matchup to watch will be Utah’s 21% powerplay against Tahoe’s 83% penalty kill. In their last game, the Outliers scored two more powerplay goals, giving them the 5th most in the league.
Last season at the WSHL showcase, these two teams met for one game with the Outliers taking the win in dominating fashion by a score of 9-0. This season Tahoe has turned the program around are looking to show that history will not repeat itself. The weekend series should be fast paced and filled with action as each team looks to improve their position in the standings heading into the 2017-18 league showcase.
Some players to keep an eye out for this weekend for the Icemen are forward Paul Frys and defenseman Phill Heisse III. Frys is in his third WSHL season and currently sits with 189 points in 132 career games. This season he leads the charge offensively with 21 goals and 24 assists in 24 games. Heisse is amongst the best defenseman in the league, having been in the running for top WSHL defenseman during the 2016-17 season. This year he is again showing why he is tough to control, putting up 14 goals and 12 assists in just 22 games. In net, both goaltenders have winning records and save percentages above 90%. Wade Conlan currently holds 7 wins and a 92% while his partner Thomas Spero has 2 wins and a 91%.
The Outliers once again will look to use depth to take an advantage. Every player on the Utah roster has put up multiple points, and each weekend seems to catapult another player up the stat sheet. Having the luxury to throw four lines and six defenseman at opponents has helped the Outliers wear down teams and make it challenging for them to key on certain players. On the back end, both Dawson Rodin and Otto Saxin continue to be a daunting threat between the pipes having a 95% or better save percentage.
Don’t miss out on the action, as these games are sure to be an entertaining brand of hockey. Game one puck drop is set for Friday 7:05 pm at the Acord Ice Center in West Valley, UT followed by game on Saturday at 6:35pm and Sunday at 12:05 pm.