Outliers Stomp The Bulls
The Outliers were back on the road this past weekend as they headed to Pueblo, Colorado to take on the Bulls. The Outliers headed into the series with seven straight wins against the Bulls. Utah was hoping to continue their hot streak and earn themselves a series sweep and finish the regular season 10-0-0 against Pueblo.
Utah Outliers 5, Pueblo Bulls 0 (Friday, Feb 17)
On Friday night, the Outliers looked sharp early as they came out swinging and displayed a relentless forecheck that caused havoc on the Bull's defenders. The consistent offensive pressure by Utah earned them the first goal of the game and put them on the scoreboard. While playing with the man advantage, second-year forward, Leyton Pettypiece, pounced on a rebound at the side of the net and deposited it past the Bulls goalie for a 1-0 Utah lead. This power-play goal ended up being the lone goal for the period as both goaltenders were solid for their respective teams.
The Outliers outshot the Bulls in the opening frame by a margin of 12-7 and were the recipients of some fantastic goaltending by Utah's Nathan Dickey who stood tall between the pipes for his club.
Heading into the second period, the Outliers continued their constant pressure by getting pucks behind the Bull's defenseman and then setting up their offensive attack with a lot of efficient puck movement and shot attempts. The constant onslaught of shots paid dividends as Utah forward David Utkin beat the Bull's netminder when he recovered a loose puck off a broken play and busted in all alone on the Pueblo goalie. Utkin made no mistake burying his shot past the Bull's goalie. The Outliers continued their scoring four minutes later when Will Cohen tucked home his 34th goal of the season to put Utah up by a score of 3-0.
The Outliers headed into the second intermission leading the Bulls 3-0 and outshooting them 21-18. Utah's Nathan Dickey's strong play was once again demonstrated throughout the period with some solid saves that kept the Bulls from gaining any momentum.
Entering the third period, the Outliers looked to close out the game and grab another victory on the season. Utah's mantra continued to be all about exerting offensive pressure at the Pueblo end of the ice. The Outliers extended their lead to 4-0 when team captain, Matthew Koepke beat the goaltender with a quick shot that found the back of the net. Three minutes later, the Outliers extended their lead again to make it 5-0 when newly acquired Isiah Parris capped off another power-play goal for his team.
The Outliers finished the night with a solid performance and a 5-0 victory, earning themselves the two points and adding another 'W' in the win column. Outliers goaltender Nathan dickey was flawless between the pipes making 25 saves and many in spectacular fashion. Dickey has been rock solid for Utah and continues to give the club a lot of confidence with his play.
Outliers 8, Pueblo Bulls 3 (Saturday, Feb 18)
The Outliers entered Saturday's game looking for their 40th win of the season. In the first period - it was all Outliers. Five minutes into the opening frame, Utah forward Pauli Waldhauser blasted a shot that found the back of the net and opened up the scoring for Utah. The Outliers converted two more goals in the opening period and both came off the stick of forward David Utkin who notched his 13th and 14th goals of the season.
The Outliers finished the first period with a solid 3-0 lead and once again the team was rewarded with solid goaltending, this time from Thomas Pidgeon, who made 11 saves. Although the Outliers were outshot 11-10 in the period, the Outlier's offense was lethal as they capitalized on their high-danger chances.
The second period had a similar theme to the first frame as Utah scored its fourth goal of the contest nine minutes into it. Forward Isak Berkholm gathered the puck during a scramble in front of the net and wired his shot past a screened Bull's netminder. Five minutes later, it was assistant captain Miles McCue scoring off a beautiful feed from teammate Will Cohen to give the Outlier a commanding 5-0 lead. Late in the period, Pueblo found a power play goal and then converted on an odd-man rush to narrow Utah's lead to 5-2 after two periods of play.
The Outliers entered the third period determined to earn their 40th win of the season and buckled down to show why they are the number one team in the Mountain division. In the first minute of the final frame, Utah's Leyton Pettypiece scored the club's sixth goal of the game off a gorgeous pass from Miles Mccue while on the power-play. Pueblo would not go away quietly as a minute later, the Bulls struck back making the score 6-3. The rest of the period belonged solely to the Outliers as newcomer Blake Rothstein scored the team's seventh and eighth goal of the game to help secure an 8-3 victory for Utah.
Utah Outliers 5, Pueblo Bulls 2 (Sunday, Feb 19)
The Outliers looked to continue their dominance over the Bulls and earn the weekend sweep on Sunday. This matinee game started out a bit differently from the past two games for Utah as this time it was Pueblo scoring the first and only goal of the opening period.
In the second period, Utah found its skating legs and began to storm back and grab the momentum. Once again it was Utah's forecheck that got the club rolling and helped it find its groove as they pressured the Bull's defenseman heavily in their zone. A nice passing play by the Outliers was stopped by the Pueblo goalie but created an offensive zone face-off for Utah.
Off the ensuing draw, Utah defenseman Matthew Koepke gained possession of the puck and slid down the boards where he released a quick shot below the hash marks that deflected off a Pueblo defender and into the net. This was the break the Outliers needed as the score was now tied 1-1 and it wouldn't take the visiting team long to grab the lead. Utah forward Will Cohen demonstrated his 'hot stick' when he blasted his shot into the net to put the Outliers ahead by a score of 2-1.
The second period was all Outliers as they outshot the Bulls by a margin of 14-9. Utah goaltender Jaxon Letey was steady in the net making some quality saves to keep his team in the lead and diffuse any offense the Bulls threw at him.
The final period proved to once again belong to the Outliers as they controlled all aspects of the action. Utah forward Blake Rothstein notched his third goal for the club when he was the recipient of a nifty kick-out pass from behind the net by Leyton Pettypiece. Rothstein made no mistake in blasting Pettypiece's pass past an unsuspecting Pueblo goalie.
The Bulls attempted to mount a comeback when they converted on an opportunity of their own and closed Utah's lead to 3-2. Fortunately for the Outliers that was all the scoring the Bulls would get on this afternoon and Utah added another two goals on the Bull's empty net as they pulled the goaltender for an extra attacker late in the game. The empty net goals came off the stick of Will Cohen and Isiah Parris. The Outliers skated off with another victory as they defeated Pueblo by a score of 5-2 and earned the weekend sweep over the Bulls.
Jaxon Letey put in another strong effort in the net and picked up the win for Utah. This weekend was another example of the dominant two-way play by the Outliers as they outscored Pueblo by a margin 18-5 and left the state of Colorado with a regular season record of 45-5-4.
Utah is back in action on Thursday, Feb 23 as they travel to Provo to take on the Predators for a 7:35 pm start at Peaks Ice Arena. On Saturday, Feb 25th, the Outliers will play their last regular season game at 6:30 pm against Provo at the Acotd Ice Center. This game will also be 'Hockey Fights Cancer' night and the Outliers will wear specialty-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. Fans can catch all the action on live stream broadcast at HockeyTV.com.