by Paul Taylor

The Utah Outliers have arrived in El Paso, TX and are now prepared to take on the league’s best teams in hopes of securing a championship. At the beginning of the season, the Outliers had a goal of making it to the Thorne Cup and winning a championship. After a terrific regular season and a deep playoff run, that goal is within reach. Utah joins five other teams that are still alive and all hoping to be declared the league’s best team. Utah looks to string together its best five games of the season and be the last team standing. 

The Outliers have the tough task of taking on three division champs in the first three games of the round robin, the Ogden Mustangs, Idaho IceCats, and El Paso Rhinos. After each of the six teams plays their three games, the teams will be re-ordered with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals. The two winning teams from the semi-final matchups will meet in a winner-take-all championship game on Sunday afternoon. The schedule for the round robin tournament is slated as follows:

April 11
10 a.m. - Outliers vs. Mustangs
2 p.m. - Blazers vs. IceCats
7 p.m. - Bombers vs. Rhinos

April 12
10 a.m. - Outliers vs. IceCats
2 p.m. - Mustangs vs. Bombers
7 p.m. - Blazers vs. Rhinos

April 13
10 a.m. - Bombers vs. IceCats
2 p.m. - Blazers vs. Mustangs
7 p.m. - Outliers vs. Rhinos

April 14
2 p.m. - Semifinal 1
7 p.m. - Semifinal 2

April 15
4:30 p.m. - Championship Game

It should be an action packed week of tremendous hockey as each of these teams has earned their right to represent the WSHL as one of the top teams in the league. Each team has a claim to the title and will fight for their right to hoist the trophy. For the Outliers, that claim starts with looking for redemption against their in state rivals. The first game of the Thorne Cup will be electrifying, as these two potent teams will meet for the 12th time this season. Things do not get easier for Utah as the second opponent (Idaho IceCats) have won 5 of the last 7 Thorne Cups, and have also had success against the Outliers winning their last three games against Utah. Finally, the Outliers will take on the El Paso Rhinos, who have only lost two games all season, with one of those games being in overtime. Although the road to the cup has its challenges, Utah feels that all preparations have been made, and the boys are ready to make a statement. All games can be viewed online courtesy of BlackdogEnterprises. Make sure to show your support as these young men continue to push to achieve their goals, and also be sure to look out for more information all week from the Thorne Cup.