Outliers win a thriller against Kings
On Friday, the Outliers were back in action against the South Shore Kings. The Outliers who had a 'bye' week were coming off a pair of big wins the week previous against their state rivals the Ogden Mustangs, and were looking to carry their momentum into the game against the Kings.
This week the Utah Outliers saw the return of a few key forwards: Nick Obourn and Matt Kreczman, who have played a big role for the team this season, were back in action and looking to pick up where they had left off.
Marcus Felicetti got the start in net again for the Outliers as he had displayed strong performances against Ogden, making several key saves in the series to lead his team to victory.
In the first period Friday, South Shore came out ready to battle, pressing hard against the Outliers. South Shore forced the Outliers to grind along the boards and play physically from the opening whistle. A defensive breakdown at 16:30 by Utah opened up the scoring for the Kings. The Outliers mismanaged the puck in the neutral zone and South Shore countered with a rush into Utah's zone, where they finished the play by burying it into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.
The period concluded with a lot of hard checking and tight defense as neither team was able to manufacture much offense. Shots on goal for the first period were Outliers 12, Kings 10, and a score of 1-0 South Shore.
In the Second period, the Outliers came out focused and determined as they created a few terrific scoring chances within the first minute of the period, but could not beat the Kings goaltender. Both teams continued to battle hard in an attempt to assert their game plan over one another and push for the next goal.
At 6:16 of the second period, it would once again be South Shore scoring to extend their lead to 2-0. The Outliers had iced the puck and were caught with a tired group on the ice. On the ensuing face-off, the Kings won the drawback to the point and put a puck towards the net that created a rebound in front of Utah's net where a Kings player would pounce on it and tap it into the back of the net. The second period ended with the Kings leading by a score of 2-0. Shots in the period were Utah 11 and the Kings 6.
Utah was determined to play a strong third period and work themselves back into the game. Throughout this season, the Outliers have demonstrated confidence and skill while playing from behind and finding a way to come back and earn a win. This game would prove no different.
After controlling the play for much of the period, the Outliers finally found the back of the net at the 10:34 mark. Utah forward Matt Kreczman controlled the puck in the King's zone and skated out of the corner and up the left side of the zone where he quickly spun and released the puck towards the net. Kreczman's quick shot fooled the Kings goaltender and slipped its way past him. The Outliers goal made it a 2-1 game with half a period remaining.
Utah's goal turned up the energy and they continued to press on South Shore as they pounded the net with shot after shot, only to be denied by the Kings' goaltender. It looked as if Utah may run out of time as the clock ticked down in the final minute as Utah was still unable to find the equalizer.
With the goalie pulled and only 12 seconds left in the game, Utah took advantage of an offensive zone face-off. Outliers' forward Miles Mccue won the draw, and teammate Will cohen collected the puck, passing it to the point to defenseman Matthew Koepke. Upon receiving the pass, Koepke made a cross-ice pass to his defensive partner, Jakub Suran, who walked down the wide lane and rifled a shot that deflected off the stick of Miles Mccue and into the net. With only 7.5 seconds remaining in the game, the Acord Ice center erupted as Utah had tied the game at 2-2.
The two teams then played a 3-on-3 five minute overtime where both teams had tremendous opportunities, but neither could solve the outstanding goaltending as the two netminders shut the door the rest of the way.
The game would be decided in a shootout. After just one goal by each team after five rounds of shooters it would be Utah forward Nick Obourn who sealed the victory for his team when he came down on the Kings' goaltender and made a number of fakes to freeze the netminder and take the puck to his backhand where he lifted his shot into an open cage. Outliers won 3-2 in a thrilling game between two very well matched teams.
The win gave the Outliers their 20th win of the season as they hold a regular season record of 20-2-1.
The Outliers will be traveling to Ogden this Sunday and playing the Mustangs at the Ice Sheet at 1:30 PM. Utah seeks to continue their winning ways against Ogden and extend their eight game win streak. The game can be viewed live on HockeyTV.com.