OUTLIERS WELCOME NEWLY NAMED BOBCATS
The Utah Outliers return home this weekend for a three game set against the newly named Casper Bobcats (formerly Casper Coyotes). These games will be the first between the two Mountain Division opponents this season. In year’s past, the series has always been relatively even, but recent history has the Outliers starting to take a series edge. Last season Utah managed to take a stranglehold on the rivalry, not surrendering one game, and winning most games in dominate fashion. This season, both teams have not started off as they would have hoped, with Utah 10-7-1 (2nd place) and Casper 3-9-0 (3rd place). With each team fighting to make up some ground in the Mountain Division, this series should be very entertaining.
On paper, the tale of the tape seems to be favoring Utah, as the defending regular season Mountain Division champs have the advantage in every category. The team has scored more goals, given up fewer goals against, has an advantage by a wide margin in both special team stats, and has more depth in scoring from top to bottom. However, no game is set in stone and the Outliers have seen all too well in their three year existence that any team can win on any given night. For the home squad, it will once again be a goal of being consistent for 60-minutes of action on both ends of the ice, and doing it for three games in a row.
As mentioned earlier, the depth in scoring has not been an issue for Utah; rather quantity of scoring has been up and down. Every player on the roster for the Outliers has scored at least one goal this season, and no Outlier has less than 5 points this season. Each goaltender on the roster also has picked up at least 2 victories, allowing Utah to maintain a balanced offensive and defensive strategy against each opponent they play. The big guns leading the charge up front remain as the line of Matt Bartel (12-13-25), Nicholas Ness (8-15-23), and Jan Dvorak (8-11-19). All three have been a force offensively and help driven the scoring in big moments all season. On the back end, Jakub Lelek has started coming along with a stat line of 5-9-14. Five defenseman for the Outliers are at 10 points or more, which gives the team a little more fire power coming into the weekend.
The Bobcats have made a few changes, acquiring some newer players to try and increase their depth. After the changes, they will look for Florian Seelman and Joel Rothman to carry the load. The two forwards each share the goal lead with 4 a piece, and both sit atop the scoring lead for Casper with 12 and 9 points respectively. Between the pipes, the visitors have three goaltenders that have all seen action, and all carry save percentages above 87%, despite only having three wins. Goaltending seems to be a strength, and something that can keep their team in games.
Don’t miss out on this WSHL action, set to take place starting at 7:00 PM at the Acord Ice Arena. Also be sure to check out social media to learn more about this weekend’s events Both Friday and Saturday’s games, the Outliers are participating in the Turkey Trot, accepting donated canned food for local food shelters as the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. If you bring a canned food to donate, you will be rewarded with a free ticket to a future Outliers game, and also will be apart of helping do some good for the community for the holidays!