Weekend Recap: Outliers win again!

by Website Admin

The Outliers picked up two more wins this past week as they defeated the Provo Riverblades 7-0 and the Ogden Mustangs 5-4 in OT to give the team their fifth straight win. Both games highlighted some strong offensive and defensive play by the Outliers and a red-hot power play. 

Utah Outliers 7, Provo Riverblades 0

On Wednesday, the Outliers travelled to Provo to take on the Riverblades. The first period saw plenty of action with both teams working hard and challenging each other with some physical play and aggressive checking. Each team generated some good chances in the first frame but both goaltenders stood tall and turned away all the scoring threats. The period concluded with both teams going to the locker room tied at 0-0. 

The second period saw the Outliers connect for the first goal of the game when just over a minute into the period, Outliers forward Nikita Andrusenko broke down the left side of the ice on a rush. Andrusenko entered the Provo zone and was challenged by a Riverblades defender but Andrusenko made a terrific spin move to dish the puck to Easton Armstrong coming through the slot. Armstrong released a quick shot off Andrusenko's pass to beat the Riverblades goalie low on the stick side to give the Outliers a 1-0 lead. 

Just a couple minutes after their first goal, Utah was awarded a power play where they would extend their lead to 2-0. Again, it was Nikita Andrusenko who worked the puck low in the Riverblades zone and passed it up to defenseman Ethan Cumming who walked the blue line and passed it to Easton Armstrong on the half wall. Armstrong would gather the pass and throw a quick cross ice pass to Ricky Bredberg who skated in on the goalie and released a laser between the goaltenders legs.  The period would end with the Outliers up by a score of 2-0 thanks to some timely breakaway saves by Outliers goaltender Rustlam Kulizade who denied both Provo chances. 

The third period would prove to be all Outliers as they dominated the Riverblades and scored five times to take the game 7-0. The third period started with the Outliers on a power play that had carried over from the second period. The Outliers quickly got the puck set up in the Riverblades zone where Utah defenseman Jakub Suran walked the blue line and then passed to the half wall to Nikita Andrusenko who made a nifty cross ice pass for Shafaat Hashim. Upon receiving the pass, Hashim released a quick one-timer shot but Riverblades goalie Mikhail Melnikov made a great save sliding across the crease. Fortunately for the Outliers, Melnikov could not control the rebound as it spit out into the slot for Utah's Trent Gephart to bang in the rebound for the team's third goal of the night. 

The Outliers would extend their lead to 4-0  off a defensive zone face-off win. Brett Morich won the draw back to defenseman Luc Modry who then wheeled behind his own net and made a slick pass through the middle of the ice to Morich who rushed up the ice and entered the Riverblades zone. Morich would make no mistake as he split the Provo defenseman and ripped a quick shot from the top of the circles that surprised Provo goalie Melnikov and went through his legs. 

Utah's fifth goal was scored again by Morich who was battling down low behind the Riverblades net and outmuscled his check to walk to the front of the cage and aggressively stuff his shot past goaltender Melnikov. This was Morich's second goal of the game which came just thirty seconds after he potted his first of the night. 

The Outliers would score their sixth goal of the night just over a minute later when forward Easton Armstrong recovered the puck off the forecheck and passed to the slot to Jett Arminen. Arminen tapped the puck back to the point for defenseman Helvis Rudzajs who quickly shot the puck to the net where it was tipped by Armstrong setting up the screen. 

The last Utah goal of the game came off the stick of Morich which gave him a 'hat trick' on the night. After a face-off win in the Outliers zone, Jett Arminen collected the puck and skated up the ice where he made an indirect pass off the boards to a streaking Morich. Morich accepted the pass and broke free of his defender and skated down the right side of the Riverblades zone all alone on the Provo goalie. Morich drove hard on the goalie and faked his shot and then deked the goaltender cleanly, slipping the puck into the open net to seal the game and give the Outliers a 7-0 win.

Utah Outliers 5, Ogden Mustangs 4 

On Saturday the Outliers faced the Ogden Mustangs for a home game at the Maverik Center in West Valley.

The game started fast and furious with both teams battling hard and trying to take control of  the game. Both goalies looked sharp and thwarted away any early chances they would face. 

As has been the theme for much of the season, the Outliers would strike for the first goal of the game when issued an early power play. Just seconds into the power play, Alex Charin recovered the puck low in the Mustangs zone and moved the puck up the wall to Ricky Bredberg who tapped it back to defenseman Michele Vignoli at the point .Vignoli would then pass the puck low to the opposite side of the ice where Shafaat Hashim walked in from the face-off dot and shot a bullet into the top left corner, beating Ogden goalie Anthony Seykora for a 1-0 lead.

Ogden would even the score on a power play of their own to tie the game at 1-1. The Mustangs moved the puck around the top of the Outliers zone where defenseman Deven Boldway snapped a shot from the right circle and it deflected at the net front right onto the stick of Parker Laughton who was all alone on the left side of the goal. He would make an easy tap in goal to tie the game. 

The Outliers would get another chance on the power play at the 3:45 mark of the period when Mustangs defenseman Tate Jensen was sent to the penalty box. The Outliers controlled the puck on the left boards where Ricky Bredberg passed it to the point to Helvis Rudzajs who released a quick shot on net and Brett Morich was there to connect on the rebound and push it past a sprawling Seykora for a 2-1 Utah lead. 

Just over a minute later, Ogden was called for another infraction when Mustangs Daniel Pfalzer was called for tripping. The Outliers worked their red-hot power play one more time for their third goal of the contest. This time it was Jett Arminen and Ethan Cumming playing catch on the left side of the Ogden zone as they worked the puck back and forth. Cumming would eventually walk the puck to the middle of the  blue line and then pass it back to the left circle where Arminen blasted his shot over the glove of Seykora. The Outliers would go into the first intermission up by a score of 3-1. 

The second period started with both teams playing even-strength hockey and the Outliers controlling much of the territorial play and generating many of the scoring chances. But at 12:41 of the second period, the game took a drastic turn when the Outliers turned the puck over three consecutive times and the Mustangs made them pay for their poor puck management. Ogden would score three unanswered goals in a span of just over two minutes to take a 4-3 lead into the second intermission. 

The Mustangs scoring spree started when the Outliers lost control of the puck at their own blue line and turned it over to Ogden forward Cole VanOrman who skated down the slot and beat Outliers goalie Rustam Kulizade with a hard shot. Just seconds later, after the center ice face-off from the pervious goal, Utah turned the puck over again in their zone and this time it was Tucker Thorstad who ripped a shot to the top corner past the Outliers goalie to make it 3-3. Minutes later, the Mustangs again pounced on an Outliers miscue and broke in on a two-on-one rush for their third goal of the period and a 4-3 lead.

The Outliers came out in the third period looking to redeem themselves. Although Utah had outshot Ogden 29-13 heading into the final period they found themselves trailing and needing a spark to get themselves back into the game. The Outliers showed some aggressive forechecking in the final frame which generated time in Ogden's zone and led to some good scoring chances but Seykora was up to the test and made some key saves.

With just over five minutes left in the game, the Outliers were awarded another power play and the opportunity to tie the game. Utah set up in Ogden's zone and Ricky Bredberg and Jakub Suran began playing catch on the right side of the ice. Bredberg would eventually find some open space off the half wall and skate down the lane to unload a cannon of a shot from the top of the circles that beat Seykora high blocker and tie the game at four apiece. 

The two teams continued to compete until the final buzzer and it would take overtime and a shootout to claim a winner. The Outliers thought they had won the game during the 3 on 3 overtime when Luke Voilkmann walked a Mustangs defender on a one-on-one rush and shot the puck low past Seykora glove side. Unfortunately for the Outliers, they were called for too many men on the ice and not only was the goal disallowed but now the team had to kill off a two minute penalty in overtime.

Utah stood strong as they defended the 4 on 3 Ogden power play and goaltender Rustam Kulizade made some key saves to hold his team in the game. The Outliers denied Ogden's power play which would send the game into a shootout and give the Outliers another chance at victory.

In the Shootout, Kulizade would stop all three Ogden shooters while Seykora stopped the first two Outliers shooters. The final shooter for Utah was Ricky Bredberg, who scored the tying fourth goal. Bredberg picked up the puck at center ice and slowly skated down the left side of the zone and then cut to the middle to improve his shooting angle. With his head up, he closed in on Seykora and rifled his shot that cleanly beat the Mustangs goalie on the glove side for an Outliers 5-4 win! 

The Outliers showed a lot of resilience in staying with their game plan and overcoming some adversity to earn the victory. The shots for the game were 42 for the Outliers and 23 for the Mustangs. 

The Outliers are back in action next weekend as they play host to the Pueblo Bulls on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, the Outliers will play the Mustangs at the Ice Sheet in Ogden. All games will be broadcast live on Hockeytv.com.