Outliers Sweep Rock Springs
The Utah Outliers collected their first sweep of the season by defeating the Rock Springs Grizzlies in a two-game set by a score of 2-1 and 6-2. Utah is now 2-2 on the season after stumbling out of the blocks in Pueblo.
Utah Outliers 2, Rock Springs Grizzlies 1 (Friday, Sep 29th)
On Friday night, the Utah Outliers and Rock Springs Grizzlies faced each other for the first time in franchise history at the Family Recreation Center Ice Arena in Rock Springs Wyoming. The two teams engaged in a tough and spirited matchup.
The first period saw plenty of fast skating action and physical play and neither team was able to find the back of the net. Shots for the period finished 12-9 in favor of the visiting Outliers. A penalty by Rocks Springs’ player Will Stewart would set the tone for the Outliers in the second period.
Just 1:51 into the second period the Outliers lit the lamp when Calgary, Alberta native Lucas Oullette finished off a beautiful backdoor dish by teammate Garrett Joss. The goal was the Outlier's first ever against the young Rock Springs franchise. The Grizzlies were able to even the score at 1-1 when Rock Spring's forward William Donovan capitalized on a misplayed puck by Outliers rookie goaltender Griffin Davis. The second period was chocked-full of action as both teams registered 17 shots a piece but both goalies stood tall for their respective teams to keep the game low scoring. The two teams headed to the locker room knotted up with a score of 1-1 and the shots 29-26 in favor of Utah.
The Outliers were once again able to start the final period off quickly when the team's leading goal scorer David Utkin rifled a tight-angle shot from the goalline that zipped past the Grizzlies netminder. The rest of the period was tightly contested although both clubs showed some offensive prowess by generating a number of quality scoring chances. Fortunately for Utah, the defense and goaltender Griffin Davis were able to shut down the Grizzlies and pick up the 2-1 victory to put them in the win column.
Utah Outliers 6, Rock Springs Grizzlies 2 (Saturday, Sep 30th)
On Saturday, the two teams were back in action for another Mountain division tilt. This matchup would take place on Utah's home ice at the Acord Ice Center. This game proved to be a stark contrast from the low-scoring contest the previous night.
The Outliers started goaltender Loic Mainguy-Crepault who came into the game searching for his first victory of the young season, The Grizzlies gave the nod to Creedon Dyck following his impressive performance on Friday night.
The first period started off quickly for the visiting squad as they were able to find the back of the net less than five minutes into the contest to take an early lead. The Outliers were able to muster a response when Utah forward, David Utkin found the back of the net for his third goal of the season. The period looked set to end 1-1 until Utah's Magzhan Sagadiev was able to beat Dyck with just under a minute remaining in the period when he finished off a great pass from defenseman Mason Keller. The period would wind down with the Outliers in the lead by a score of 2-1 and outshooting the Grizzlies by a margin of 14-9.
The second period began with Utah dominating play with their intense neutral zone forecheck coupled with an extremely efficient rush game. The fast-paced execution from the home team led them to convert two goals in 2 minutes and 8 seconds. Newcomer, Maddox Mannka was able to bury an incredible short-side shot with little to no angle. Mannka's goal was quickly followed by another from forward David Mnatskakanyan who found the net for the first time in his young junior career.
Despite the rapid start for the Outliers, the Grizzlies were able to find their game again and scored at the 15:21 mark of the second frame to narrow the Outliers lead to 4-2. There would be no more scoring in the second period as both teams headed into the intermission to prepare for a third period battle. The shots after two periods favored Utah 27-15.
The third period saw Utah forward Greyson Settipane net two goals to boost the Outliers to a total of 6 goals on the evening. The Outlier defense and goaltending was once again able to hold the Grizzlies off the board in the final frame and the game finished with the Outliers drubbing the Grizzlies by a score of 6-2. This home-ice win completed the weekend sweep for the Outliers and set the stage for them to regain their form and build some momentum as they head into next weekend's series against the Ogden Mustangs.