Outliers sweep Bulls
The Outliers traveled to Pueblo to take on the Pueblo bulls for a three-game series October 22 - 24 where they continued their strong play and came away with a sweep. The Outliers won with scores of 5-3, 4-2, and 4-3 OT.
Utah Outliers 5, Pueblo bulls 3
Friday, October 22, 2021
Friday night was game 1 of the series resulting in the Outliers defeating the Bulls by a score of 5-3. Game one started in Utah’s favor as the visiting team showcased their dominance and set the tone early by controlling much of the play in the Bulls' zone. Utah was able to establish a lot of possession time with its aggressive forecheck, but thanks to some big saves by Pueblo's goaltender, the game remained tied after the first period.
In period two, the Outliers kept up the pressure and finally converted on an early power-play opportunity when Nikolas Schwab made a nifty pass down low to teammate Nicklaus Obourn who made no mistake to make it a 1-0 game.
At 7:58 of the second period, the Outliers extended their lead to 2-0 when Trent Gephart made a pass to defenseman Jakub Suran in the neutral zone and Suran drove wide down the left side boards and into the Bulls' zone. It appeared as Suran was going to be closed off by a Bulls defender but Suran powered his way to the net and drove hard to the far post to slip it past the Bulls' goaltender.
The Bulls then found themselves back in the game on the power play after a couple of costly Utah penalties. First, it was Pueblo's forward Braedon Lacomy converting on a rebound opportunity at the net followed by Ben St-Onge who drove down the right side of the ice and then entered the Utah zone and fired a shot from the face-off dot past Outliers goaltender Marco Felicetti.
It looked as if the second period would end with both teams deadlocked at two goals apiece but the Outliers would convert with only 1:11 left in the frame to take a 3-2 lead. Once again it was the power play that would convert as some great passing between Suran and Mccue would lead to Obourn tapping in the rebound for his second of the night.
The third period started with both teams trying to assert themselves over the other. The Bulls pressed hard for the equalizer but Felicetti was up to the task making some key saves to keep Pueblo off the scoreboard.
At 15:41 the Outliers aggressive forecheck would once again pay dividends as Utah was able to get the Bulls hemmed in their zone and wear down their opponents. The hard work of Miles McCue, Trent Gephart, Matthew Koepke, and Jakub Suran paid off when they were finally able to keep the puck in Pueblos zone and eventually pass to Parker Williams who was positioned high in the slot. Upon receiving the pass, Williams lasered a shot top shelf over the Bulls goalies glove-hand for a 4-2 Outliers lead.
The Outliers added one more goal that night to take a 5-2 lead when just 18 seconds after scoring the 4th goal, Utah would add one more goal for good measure. The Outliers executed nice tape-to-tape passes on their breakout that would lead to a 2-on-1 rush up ice for Utah's Schwab and Kreczman. Schwab would eventually take the shot that was stopped by the Bulls goaltender but the rebound was collected and shot into the net by defenseman Alex Schluep who followed the play to the net.
The Bulls scored one more goal before the night ended to make the final score 5-3 Utah and give them the victory in the first game of the series.
Utah Outliers 4, Pueblo bulls 2
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Saturday hosted an entertaining game between the two teams as both clubs were determined to pick up the win and the valuable points up for grabs. The Bulls came out hungry and aggressive looking to put Utah on its heels but Utah was just as determined to push back against their opponent and not give them an inch. The game's early action would go back and forth with both teams generating some scoring chances but the goaltenders were standing tall.
The first goal was finally made halfway through the opening period when the Pueblo capitalized on a broken play in Utah's zone. The Outliers were trying to clear a puck during a scramble at the front of the net and the puck was accidentally passed to a Bulls player who made no mistake shooting it between the legs of Utah goalie, Marco Felicetti. This would give the Bulls a 1-0 lead and their first lead of the series as they had trailed in every period the previous evening.
The Outliers, who have shown the ability to answer quickly when playing from behind, rose to the occasion once again just 18 seconds after Pueblo had taken the lead. Trent Gephart would collect the puck in the neutral zone and make a rush down the ice and into Pueblo's zone. Upon entering the left side of the Bulls zone, Gephart was defended quickly by a Bulls player which led to him making a drop pass to a trailing Jakub Suran. Suran received the pass from Gephart and released a bullet of a shot from the top of the circles to beat Pueblo's goalie far side and tie the game at 1-1. Both teams had more quality chances in the period but Utah's Marco Felicetti and Bulls goalie Atrem Lantukh were strong in net, ending the period with the score tied at 1-1.
In the second period, the Outliers came out buzzing. From the drop of the puck, they got possession and worked themselves into the Bulls' zone, and began peppering Lantukh with shots. The aggressive play from Utah led to Miles McCue recovering the puck low in the Pueblo zone by stealing it from one of their defenders. McCue would then take the puck and cut the seam on the half wall and roll to the net where he released a quick shot far side that would give the Outliers 2-1 lead.
The Bulls displayed resilience and came back to tie the game after the Outliers were called for a penalty. Pueblo's leading scorer, Ben St.-Onge would drive wide into Utah's zone and fire a backhand from the face-off dots that would find its way past Felicetti to even the game up at 2-2. But as they had done earlier in the series, the Outliers answered back a couple of minutes later. Utah then created a turnover in the neutral zone and entered the Bulls' zone where Matt Kreczman threw a shot on net. The initial shot by Kreczman was blocked by a Pueblo defender but came to the stick of Nikolas Schwab who shot quickly through the legs of Lantukh to give Utah a 3-2 lead.
It appeared that both teams would head into the second intermission with the Outliers leading 3-2, but with just 1:52 left in the period, Utah's Trent Gephart made a great defensive play, creating a turnover high in the Outliers' zone and resulting in a 2 on 1 rush attack towards the Bulls goal. Gephart, who was at the end of his shift, skated hard up the ice and into the Bulls' zone where he finished off the play with a highlight-reel snipe, shooting top corner to give his team a 4-2 lead after two periods.
The third period saw more back and forth intensity by the two teams and some tight checking. Neither team would surrender another goal on the night due to both goaltenders and some strong defensive play from each club. The Outliers would once again skate off the ice victorious and winning game two of the series by a score of 4-2.
Utah Outliers 4, Pueblo Bulls 3 OT
Sunday, October 24, 2021
The last game of the series on Sunday had the Utah Outliers making a change in net. Garrett Alderman got the call for the team and was relied upon to backstop the Bulls and help give Utah the sweep they were searching for. The Bulls on the other hand were not looking to go away quietly and were ready to collect their first win against Utah this season.
Much like the previous two games, both clubs brought some high energy to the contest. There were some big hits early and both teams were not showing a lot of 'like' for the other as they each tried to establish their game plan and take control of the play early in the period.
Halfway through the first period, the Bulls' power play ignited their offense and game them the early 1-0 lead in the game. Bulls' forward Ben St. Onge fired a shot from the left circle that was stopped by Utah's Alderman, but the rebound landed right on the stick of Brendan Dicker who blasted in the rebound.
Utah answered back and tied the game 1-1 at 8:41 of the first period when the team won an offensive zone face-off and Parker Williams capitalized on a rebound at the net off the shot from the point from teammate Kai Stothers. The Outliers then took a 2-1 lead with just 1:26 left in the first period when Nicklaus Obourn recovered a loose puck in his own zone and skated the length of the ice to attack the Bulls net. While skating off the rush, Obourn would make a nifty move to get past a Bulls' defenseman and enter the Pueblo zone only to be pressured by a couple more defenders on the backcheck. Just as Obourn approached the Bulls net from the left side of the zone he spun away to avoid the defenders and swung a shot on his forehand while spinning that found its way through the Bulls' goalie's legs. The Outliers went into the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The teams took the ice in the second period continuing their hard checking and the fight for time and space. The ice was closely contested and not a lot of easy chances could be generated by either club. At 8:02, Pueblo found the back of the net and tied the score at 2-2. The Outliers were attempting to break out of their zone and misplayed a puck to the blue line where a Bulls' defenseman kept it in and shot it from the point. The initial shot from the point once again found the stick of Pueblo's Brendan Dicker who deflected it in top-shelf past a surprised Garrett Alderman. The period concluded with both teams locked at 2-2.
The third period ended dramatically as both teams notched a goal in the final frame to make it 3-3 before the game went into a shootout. First, it was the Bulls scoring to make it 3-2 when Brendan Dicker scored his third goal of the game to put Pueblo up by a goal. But as they have done many times this season, the Outliers tied the game up with just 5:13 remaining in the contest when Matt Koepke kept a puck in at the blue line in the bulls zone and whipped a cross-ice pass to Parker Williams who shot quickly past the blocker side of the Pueblo netminder.
Nothing could be settled in the 3 on 3 OT so the game went to a shootout. In the shootout, Utah's Garrett Alderman stood tall and denied all three pueblo shooters a goal. Nikolas Schwab connected for Utah on his shootout attempt as he skated down the right side of the zone and then cut to the middle where he released a quick shot past the goalie's blocker. The Outliers won the game and left Pueblo with 6 points and a series sweep!