Outliers vs Mustangs – we meet again
The Utah Outliers face the Ogden Mustangs for a two game series this weekend in what will be the final series between the two teams for 2017 and a tune up for the WSHL showcase. Both teams are rolling as the season nears the halfway point, and the two-game set should be action packed and thrilling from start to finish. Coming in to this weekend, the Outliers sit in second place with an 18-5-0 record, while the Mustangs enter with a record of 21-4-1 and sit in first. Last weekend Utah dominated the second place team in the Northwest Division winning three straight against the Tahoe Icemen. Ogden also took on a Northwest Division team, the previously unbeaten Idaho IceCats. The Mustangs took 5 of 6 points from Idaho, winning two and dropping a close game in overtime. Both teams are continuing to win at a rapid pace. Each team has 18 wins in their last 20 games.
This season, these two teams have battled it out five times, with Ogden holding the slight edge three games to two. In the last game on November 25th, fans were not disappointed as each team held the lead in a tight game that ended 3-2 in favor of the Mustangs. Both Utah and Ogden are hoping to use this weekend to fine tune their game as they prepare for the Las Vegas Showcase, where they will match up against some of the top WSHL teams from around the league.
Some players to keep an eye on for the Ogden Mustangs are the usual suspects. Matus Spodniak is on a mission this year and is on a record setting pace to break the regular season points record. His 44 goals are good for first in the league and his 44 assists are second. Jacob Laurin and Ross Bartlett are also among the top five in scoring in the league with 65 and 60 points respectively. New goaltender Daniel Pavlicko has also bolstered the team’s defense, holding a 6-0-1 record with a 91 save percentage.
The Outliers are hoping to continue the trend of using depth to overwhelm opponents. Each weekend a new face has stepped up and led the scoring for the boys in black. Last weekend the Outliers showed just how dangerous the lineup is in a number of different ways. Friday night saw nine different goal scorers, whereas Saturday and Sunday showed a different element as Jacob Wanstrom pumped in four goals Saturday and Kane Toriumi had a hattrick Sunday. Being able to use a full bench to score, an also having players who can take over a game, Utah has shown the ability to attack from multiple directions. In net, both Dawson Rodin and Otto Saxin boast 8 wins and have save percentages of 94 and 93 percent respectively.
In terms of team statistics, both the Outliers and the Mustangs come in with a 23% conversion rate on the powerplay, and each team holds a solid penalty kill rate at 91% (OGD) and 90% (UT). Something will have to give this weekend, as these two teams will hold nothing back trying to compete for the Mountain Division Title.
Game one is scheduled at the Ice Sheet in Ogden, UT for 730 PM MST. Game two is set to take place at the County Ice Center in Murray, UT at 8:30 PM MST. The address for the Saturday game is 5201 S Murray Park Ln, Murray, UT 84107. Come out and support the Utah Outliers as they play their final home game in the year 2017.