Outliers Split Weekend Series
The Mountain division-leading Utah Outliers were back in action this past weekend with a pair of games against their state rival, the Ogden Mustangs. The Outliers won the first game of the weekend on Friday by a score of 3-2 and lost in OT on Saturday by a score of 4-3. The team picked up three out of a possible four points and edged closer to clinching first place in the Mountain Division and earning the #1 seed for the playoffs.
Utah Outliers 3, Ogden Mustangs 2 (Friday, Feb 10)
After a full week of practice, the Outliers looked to continue their Mountain division dominance against a competitive Mustangs team. Friday's crowd brought energy and a buzz to the Acord Ice Center as it was rocking from the drop of the puck. Nathan Dickey got the nod in the net for the Outliers and was looking to continue his strong play between the pipes.
The Outliers started off strong in this game as the team found its skating legs early and were flying right from the start of the contest. Utah's Lucas Oullette got the home club on the scoreboard when he rushed the puck up ice through the neutral zone and entered the Mustangs zone and took a hard shot on net from just inside the blue line. Utah forward Emrik Froding drove to the net in pursuit of the rebound and shot it into the top corner of the net for an early 1-0 Outliers lead.
The Outlier's first-period scoring continued when the home team was awarded a powerplay opportunity and Utah team captain Matthew Koepke collected a rebound near the right face-off circle and pounded home his shot that beat the Mustangs goalie cleanly between the legs for a 2-0 lead. The Mustangs would get their first goal of the game shortly after when they also converted on a power play to narrow the score to 2-1 going into the first intermission.
The Outliers outshot the Mustangs by a 13-11 margin in the first period. The opening frame had a lot of tight checking and playoff-style hockey along with some great goaltending. Outliers goalie Nathan Dickey was counted on to make some crucial saves for his team and hold the Mustangs off the board five-on-five.
The second period began with a lot of hard-checking and intense play from both clubs, and it was back-and-forth in the opening minutes. Utah eventually found its rhythm and started to take over the play at even strength by applying a heavy forecheck and hemming the Mustangs in their zone for long stretches of time. The Outlier's constant offensive pressure paid off as Will Cohen scored his 33rd goal of the season when he converted his shot off a pass from Miles Mccue late in the second frame. The Outliers skated off the ice for the second intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Utah once again outshot the Mustangs in the second period 14-4 and looked to carry their offensive momentum for the rest of the game. The team's stingy defense was once again playing a big factor in this matchup as Ogden was struggling to sustain any offense in the Outlier's end of the ice.
Utah's third period did not start off as planned as the Mustangs were able to climb back into the game to make it 3-2 when they scored their second goal of the evening just three minutes into the final period. Utah made a poor giveaway in the neutral zone while on the attack and the turnover turned into a breakaway for Ogden and they capitalized.
The Outliers buckled down for their defense for the rest of the night and Nathan Dickey slammed the door shut on the remaining Ogden scoring attempts and Utah secured the 3-2 victory over its state rival.
The Outliers outshot the Mustangs in this game by a total of 48-23. Nathan Dickey was once again a storyline in this game as he came up big for his club on numerous occasions.
Utah Outliers 3, Ogden Mustangs 4 (Saturday, Feb 11)
After a critical win the night before, the Outliers looked to hold on to their momentum on Saturday and the Mustangs were out looking for revenge. This game would have special meaning to it as it was 'Autism Awareness Night' which brought out a large crowd and some great energy to the building for what was sure to be another exciting battle between the two teams.
The Outliers started fast and furious with lots of dominant play and offensive zone time which created heavy pressure on the Mustang's defensemen. That pressure took its toll on the Mustangs and once again the Outliers struck first as Utah forward, Leyton Pettypiece, ripped a shot from inside the slot area that beat the Mustangs goalie cleanly for a 1-0 Outliers lead.
The two teams battled back and forth up the ice and both clubs had some strong chances but were denied by the goaltenders who were up to the challenge. The first period came to an end with the Outliers holding a 1-0 advantage.
Utah outshot the Mustangs by an 11-9 margin and once again kept the Mustangs scoreless behind the solid netminding of newly acquired Outliers goalie, Thomas Pigeon.
Heading into the second period, the Outliers were looking to extend their lead on Ogden and keep up their offensive pressure. Utah started off quickly once again and made some nice passing plays to connect its attack and storm the Mustang's net. Unfortunately for Utah, those organized attacks were stymied by the strong play of Ogden's goalie.
Feeding off its goalie, Ogden would eventually tie the game 1-1 with a goal late in the second period while attacking off the rush. A Mustangs player rushed up the ice through the neutral zone and entered the Utah end and whistled a quick low shot past Pigeon to tie the game at 1-1.
The Outliers continued to press offensively and pour on the shots in the second frame and outshoot the Mustangs 16-6 but were unable to capitalize on many of their high-quality chances.
The third period would turn out to be another great battle between these two teams. For all the lack of scoring in the first two periods, the final frame opened the floodgates as both teams found the back of the net.
The Mustangs struck early in the third to take a 2-1 lead but the Outliers answered back halfway through the third period to tie the game at 2-2 when Lucas Oullette beat the Ogden goalie with a bank shot that hit off the side of the goalie and slid into the net.
The scoring frenzy didn’t stop there as just a minute after the Outliers tied the game, the Mustangs stormed back to grab the lead once again and make it 3-2. The Outliers would not quit on this night as they would have a response of their own just two minutes later when assistant captain, Miles McCue, deflected a puck off a face-off win to make it 3-3 and send the game into extra time.
Heading into overtime, the Outliers were called for a penalty that put the Mustangs on a 4-on-3 power play. The Mustangs would make no mistake while playing with the man advantage and set up a play that they capitalized on for the winning goal and a 4-3 OT victory.
The Outliers will look to rebound and get back into the win column when they host the Idaho Falls Spud Kings at noon on February 12th at the Acord Ice Center. You can catch all the live-streamed action at HockeyTV.com.