Outliers Sweep Mustangs
The Utah Outliers swept the Ogden Mustangs in their 3-game series. The rivalry between these two teams has been long-standing, with the constant back and forth wins for each team in a series and in this last set of three games, the outliers asserted themselves aggressively earning the sweep. The Outliers played hard and gritty and initiated much of the physicality in all three games and capitalized on their chances while getting strong goaltending from Kyle Kozma.
Game 1 Recap, Feb 18
In game one of the series, the Ogden Mustangs traveled to West Valley to face off against the Utah Outliers at the Maverick Center. As with all Outliers vs Mustangs games, the fans come prepared to see some hard-hitting fast-paced action on the ice. The Mustangs broke the ice in the first period by scoring first, however, the Outliers tied it up at the 19:39 mark with a goal by forward Nikita Andrusenko assisted by forwards Brett Morich and Dawson Armstrong. The first period ended with shots 17 Outliers and 6 Mustangs
The second period saw the pace pick up and teams physical battles against each other increase. Ogden scored their second goal of the game early in the period but the Outliers kept their cool and went back on the attack.
Utah took every advantage to maintain control of the puck and drive it on the Mustangs net. The Outliers were finally rewarded for their perseverance when they converted one of those shots into a goal as Dawson Armstrong would convert with linemates Nikita Andrusenko and Brett Morich getting the assists. Shots for the period were 17 Outliers and 7 for the Mustangs.
The third period began with the Outliers attacking the Mustangs fast and hard. Micky Vignoli, who had been a defensemen for most of the season, was recently moved to the forward position and has emerged into a scoring forward. At the 3:06 mark, Vignoli would find an open lane and attack the Mustangs defender wide and beat him to the net for a nice backhand move that beat the Ogden goalie for an Outliers 3-2 lead with assists being awarded to forward Alex Charin and defenseman Kaden Whaley.
Tempers quickly flared a bit right after the Vignoli goal and a scuffle broke out and gloves dropped between Outliers' Micky Vignoli and Ogden Mustangs’ Stanford Zito. Both players were given “fighting and game misconduct penalties,” thus taking them out of the rest of the game. This did not deter the Outlier, instead, it fired them up as the team buckled down defensively, limiting the Mustangs' scoring opportunities.
The Action continued back forth until the final buzzer and the Outliers would take home the victory by a score of 3-2. The shots for the game ended up 41 Outliers and 21 Mustangs. Outliers goalie Kyle Kozma was steady in goal and made some strong saves when called upon for the win.
Game 2 Recap, Feb 19
Game 2 of the series was back in West Valley at the Maverick Center.
The Outliers entered this game riding on the excitement of the prior day’s victory, and they were determined to make it a repeat victory.
The first period saw the Mustangs come out strong and attack quickly, as would be expected from a team that was just defeated the day before. The Outliers would respond with some good puck movement and then capitalize on a chance at the 7:08 mark with a goal by forward Alex Charin, assisted by forward John Mclaughlin, and new defenseman Declan Douthart.
The Outliers would then find themselves in some penalty trouble as they took two consecutive minor penalties during the period and give some life to Ogden's offense. Utah's penalty kill units were up for the challenge and limited the Mustangs' chances to keep them from scoring. The period would conclude with the Outliers leading 1-0 and shots even at 10 apiece.
The second period began with the Outliers controlling much of the play. The team showed strong puck control and passing skills that continually put them on the attack. As the period progressed, the Outliers took advantage of a power-play goal when forward Leeam Tivers converted his shot into the back of the net, The goal was assisted by defensemen Matthew Koepke and Helvis Rudzajas. The period ended with the Outliers leading by a score of 2-0. The shots in the period were 20 Outliers and 10 Mustangs.
The third period saw a strong push from the Mustangs as their play intensified in trying to get back into the game. Outliers goalie Kyle Kozma was called upon to make some big saves to keep Utah holding their two-goal lead. Ogden would finally get on the scoreboard and narrow Utah's lead to a score of 2-1. The Outliers responded by tightening up defensively and fending off the rest of the
Mustangs scoring attempts to win the game 2-1.
Both goalies played strong for their respective teams as Mustangs’ goalie Domagoj Troha and Outliers' goalie Kyle Kozma, both faced 39 shots in the game.
Game 3 Recap, Feb 21
The Utah Outliers would travel to the Ice Sheet in Ogden for the third game of the series. Utah would head into the third game with a lot of confidence after their past two victories over
The Outliers had a group of fans travel up to Ogden to support the team and cheer them on at the Ice Sheet. The Mustangs would also have their fan base present and being loud to give its Ogden players energy to feed off. This would make for an exciting game and rev up the intensity between the two rivals.
The first period ensued with some even puck play for both teams as the action went back and forth and the teams traded chances. The Outliers would once again strike for the first goal of the game when they created a 3-on-2 offensive rush up the ice and Brett Morich would make a terrific lateral pass to defenseman Declan Douthart who made no mistake ripping his shot past the Mustangs goaltender. The period came to end with the Outliers leading 1-0 and the success of Utah goalie Kyle Kozma fending off all Mustangs’ attempts.
In the second period, the Outliers came out guns blazing with the sole purpose of building on their lead. The team did not disappoint as they scored three goals in the second period. The three goals for the Outliers were scored by a core group that seemed to work well off each other and had the hot sticks in this period. The second goal of the game was scored by forward Leeam Tivers and assisted by forwards Nikolas Schwab and Luke Volkman. Utah's third goal was made by forward Micky Vignoli who ripped a shot from the half-wall that surprised the Ogden netminder. Vignoli's goal was assisted by Luke Volkmann and Nikolas Schwab. Finally, the fourth goal of the game for Utah and the third of the period was scored by forward Luke Volkmann and assisted by Micky Vignoli and defenseman Kaden Whaley.
The third period started with the Mustangs applying pressure at the Outliers net. Ogden was looking to find a way to get themselves back in the game. That pressure by Ogden would pay off for them as the Outliers were called for multiple penalties in the period. The Mustangs would convert on the power play and then score another to narrow Utah's lead to 4-2. The Outliers showed good composure after the Mustang's second goal and the team would regroup and get their game back on track.
The Outliers played the rest of the game strong and stick with the game plan and began to take over the game and force the Mustangs to chase the puck and play some defense of their own. There would be no more goals in the game and the Outliers would skate away with a 4-2 win and a sweep of the series. Kyle Kozma had a fantastic series as the netminder for the Outliers in all three games in this series.
The small group of loud and proud Outliers’ fans who made it to the game and scattered among Ogden’s fans were on their feet celebrating almost as much as the players were. The team was happy to receive their support and get the win!