by Website Admin


Utah entered Friday night's game in search of their fifth consecutive win against the visiting Pueblo Bulls. Goaltender Philip Rondina was back between the pipes for Utah and was looking to build on his strong performance from last Saturday's game against Rock Springs. 

Utah scored in this game just six minutes into the opening period while playing on the powerplay. The play started with Outliers forward Garrett Joss winning the faceoff in the Bulls zone and distributing the puck to teammate Makar Klochkov who fired his shot top corner to give Utah a 1-0 lead. 

There would be no additional scoring in the opening frame despite Utah's aggressive checking pressure which led to the club manufacturing numerous scoring chances on the Pueblo netminder. Utah skated into the first intermission leading 1-0 and outshot the Bulls 13-9. Philip Rondina had another strong period in the net as he fended off all of the Bulls offensive attempts. 

The second period was another demonstration of the Outliers starting fast as they continued their trend of scoring early. The home club converted their second goal of the evening at the 1:26 mark when forward Mason Keller executed a nice offensive zone entry play that resulted in him making a well-placed shot that was kicked out by the Pueblo netminder. Keller's shot could not be handled cleanly and the rebound spit out onto the stick of Carson Teckenburg who drove it home for his 4th of the year. Garrett Joss also had an assist on the goal to give the Outliers a 2-0 lead. 

Two minutes later, the Bulls found their first of the night when goalscorer Hunter Hayes found the back of the net to narrow Utah's lead to 2-1. Pueblo's goal gave the visitors some life as they began to find their footing and pressure the Outlier's net but Philip Rondina was up to the task and stood tall between the pipes. 

Despite some extended offensive zone sequences for the Bulls, Utah would find the next goal to help them extend their lead. This time it was Utah's Nathan Huntington who made a terrific backdoor play to Andrew Uturo and the recently acquired forward made no mistake finding the back of the net to give the Outliers a 3-1 lead. 

The third period was filled with back-and-forth action and a variety of quality scoring chances but both goaltenders were sharp for their respective teams and made life difficult for the offense. With just 5:11 remaining in the game, Utah was rewarded for their hard work and back on the scoresheet courtesy of defenseman Connor Mariner. Assists on the goal were provided by forward Garrett Joss and defenseman Ben Thornley-Hall.

The Outliers appeared to be in full control of the game with a 4-1 lead but the Bulls would not go away quietly. The visitors responded with two quick goals late in the third period and just 57 seconds apart to draw them within one goal. 

With Pueblo providing a strong pushback and pressing for the equalizer they pulled their goaltender in the final minute in hopes of tying the game, Utah seized the opportunity to score into an empty net, and a great effort by Outliers forward Michael Schwartz sealed the game when he won a race to a loose puck and slid into the open cage. 

Utah ended the night earning a 5-3 victory and winning another game on home ice at the Acord. This win puts the team on a 3-game winning streak as well as earning points in 17 of their last 19 games. 

OUTLIERS 1, Mustangs 5 (JAN 23ND)

Utah was back in action Saturday as they traveled to Ogden to face the Mustangs at the Ice Sheet. This contest would be another big rivalry game between these two clubs and Utah had their sights on earning the win and moving into first place in the Mountain Division.

The game started well for the Outliers as they established a hard forecheck and put a ton of pressure on the Mustangs who struggled to break out of their zone. Utah continued to press Ogden and manufactured some quality scoring chances but they were all turned aside by Ogden's goalie, Vladislav Bryzgalov.

Halfway through the opening period, Ogden found the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead. With the puck in the Outliers zone, the Mustangs passed the puck up to the point which led to a defensive miscue by Utah. Ogden defenseman Jack Bartfield would gain control of the puck and walk down an open lane where he made a perfect shot into the top corner past Utah netminder Philip Rondina.

Ogden struck again with just five minutes remaining in the period when Corson Maguire entered the Outliers zone off the rush and rifled a shot inside the far post for a 2-0 lead. 

The opening frame concluded with the Mustangs outshooting Utah by a 14-9 margin. Utah would look to regroup during the intermission and hope to find its rhythm heading into the next period. 

The second period would prove to be just as unfriendly for the Outliers. Ogden built their lead to 4-0 in the second frame when they capitalized on a couple of face-off mistakes by Utah that proved to be costly for the visitors. Utah closed Ogden's lead to 4-1 when Mason Keller made a nice play inside the Mustangs zone and dished a 'no-look' backdoor pass to teammate Garrett Joss who tapped the puck in past Brygalov. 

The third period turned into a penalty-fest for the Outliers as they were uncharacteristically charged with one infraction after another. Eventually, the Mustangs capitalized on one of their power play opportunities to score their fifth goal of the evening and skate to a 5-1 win. 

It was a disappointing night for Utah but the team will get a chance to redeem themselves next weekend with a pair of home games against the Provo Predators. Fans can catch all the action on FloHockey.