Outliers Split Series With Spud Kings
The Utah Outliers were back on the ice to host the Idaho Falls Spud Kings for two games at the Acord Ice Center. The two teams battled hard and ended up splitting the weekend series with Idaho winning Friday night by a score of 2-1 and the Outliers bouncing back on Saturday for a 5-1 victory.
Utah Outliers 1, Idaho Falls Spud Kings 2 (Friday, December 1st)
On Friday night, the Outliers were back at home to take on the Spud Kings and the team was looking to pick up some valuable points in the tightly contested Mountain Division.
In the first period, Utah started fast and furious by controlling the opening shifts and applying some offensive pressure at the Spud Kings' net. Unfortunately for the Outliers, they couldn't solve the Idaho goaltender, Prestyn Carter as he made some big saves to keep the game scoreless.
The Spud Kings eventually opened the scoring at 12:34 of the opening frame when they made a nice passing play during a rush entry. Idaho's tic-tac-toe passing resulted in a nice backdoor finish and gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Utah took no time in responding to the Spud Kings' goal as they converted less than a minute later at the 11:55 mark with a rush entry goal of their own. Utah's Makar Klochkov broke into the Idaho zone and ripped a shot that went over the net but took a funny bounce and came out in front of the net and right onto the stick of Utah's David Utkin. The team's leading goal scorer made no mistake and deposited the puck into the back of the net past Idaho's goaltender to tie the game.
The first period would come to a close with both teams tied at 1-1 and Utah outshooting Idaho by a margin of 12-11.
The second period began with the Outliers' finding an offensive rhythm and starting to spend a lot of time in the Idaho zone. The home team made some nifty passing plays and funneled pucks to the net but could not find their second goal of the contest.
Idaho fought back and took some momentum away from Utah as they ended up getting some power play opportunities that gave them some offensive life. The Outliers successfully killed off the penalties thanks to a strong penalty kill and some terrific saves from Rondina.
Both teams headed into the second intermission with the score tied at 1-1 and the Spud Kings outshooting Utah 13-7.
The third period belonged to the Outliers as they pressured Idaho with a strong forecheck that led to some turnovers and extended offensive zone time. Time after time, Utah would set up a solid scoring chance but those opportunities were denied by the Spud Kings netminder Prestyn Carter.
With just over six minutes remaining in the game, Utah made a poor turnover in their zone that led to the puck being turned over in the slot. The Spud Kings pounced on the errant play and made the Outliers pay by finishing off a passing sequence that gave them a 2-1 lead late in the final period.
Utah pulled Rondina late in the third period for an extra attacker but was unsuccessful in finding the tying goal. Despite outshooting Idaho 11-3 in the final frame, Utah would skate off the ice losing the game by a score of 2-1.
Utah Outliers 5, Idaho Falls Spud Kings 1 (Friday, December 2nd)
On Saturday night, the two teams were back in action for another Mountain Division tilt. The hosting Outliers were looking to avenge Friday night's tough loss to the Spud Kings.
For this game, the Outliers once again gave the nod to starting goaltender Phil Rondina who came into the game searching for another strong outing. The Spud Kings elected to start Prestyn Carter in net following his impressive performance on Friday night where he conceded just one goal and earned the win for his club.
The first period started off promising for the visiting Spud Kings as defenseman Tobias Omholt rushed the puck into the Outliers zone and fired a quick shot that beat Rondina top corner. Despite Utah giving up the goal just seven minutes into the game, they controlled a lot of the puck possession and continued to pressure the Idaho netminder.
Utah's offensive persistence was finally rewarded with exactly two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Utah's Makar Klochkov converted on a goal-mouth scramble after some hard work at the net front by the Outliers forwards. Klochkov's goal was assisted by David Utkin and Garrett Joss. Defensemen Kiernan Ronan and JS Pack also played a large part in the Outliers' goal with some strong play at the blue line.
The period ended 1-1 with shots registering at 15-5 in favor of Utah, signifying just how dominant the home team played in the opening frame.
The second period began with the Outliers getting to a lot of loose pucks by establishing a heavy forecheck. This led to Utah taking momentum and earning more offensive zone time which would eventually pay off for the home club.
At the 6:56 mark, Utah took a 2-1 lead when defenseman Jake Howard held the puck in at the blue line and then made a nifty move to get inside the top of the circles past the Spud Kings defenders. The veteran defenseman fired a laser of a shot into the top corner of the net that cleanly beat the Spud Kings netminder.
Six minutes later the Outliers added to their lead when forward Makar Klochkov scored a nice goal by ripping a shot that beat Idaho's goalie Prestyn Carter to the blocker side. Makar's goal was assisted by teammate Garrett Joss.
The second period ended with Utah leading by a score of 3-1 and outshooting Idaho by a margin of 9-7. Although Utah's goalie, Philip Rondina had not been tested extensively in the first two periods he continued to come up with some timely saves to preserve the lead.
Heading into the final period, the Outliers were looking to continue their staunch defensive play while continuing to show off their offense skills.
Utah extended their lead with a pair of power play goals by forwards Adrian Gomez and David Utkin. Gomez notched his goal with the club when he rifled a shot from the left circle and David Utkin was able to convert into an empty net off a beautiful passing play by Garrett Joss.
The night ended positively for Utah as they earned a 5-1 victory and dominated the play for the majority of the game. Utah registered 44 shots in the contest and goaltender Phil Rondina turned away 24 of the 25 shots sent his way.