Outliers Win Opening Weekend
The Utah Outliers got off to the hot start they were hoping for in their opening weekend of play for the 2021-22 season. The team played two games this past weekend and came out victorious in both to begin the season with a 2-0 record.
On Friday, the Outliers opened their regular season schedule with a trip to Peaks Ice Arena against their cross-town rivals, the Provo Riverblades. From the drop of the puck, the Outliers poured on the offense and never looked back, defeating Provo by a score of 8-0.
On Saturday, the Outliers were back in action and played their home-opener to a sell-out crowd as they hosted the Northern Colorado Eagles at the Acord Ice Center. Once again, the Outliers showed their offensive touch combined with some tight defensive play, to earn a convincing 4-1 win over their mountain division opponent.
Utah Outliers 8, Provo Riverblades 0
Sat Sept 24th, 2021
The Outliers officially kicked off the 2021-22 campaign in Provo on Friday against the Riverblades. It would be the first game of the season for both teams and Outliers fans in attendance were excited to see what the new group had to offer in its first game of the season,
The game started off quickly with both teams working to assert themselves and trying to execute their game plan. The first period showed some physical play with the Riverblades applying an aggressive forecheck and throwing some big hits to get their fans into the game.
As the first period wore on, the pace of play intensified as both teams were battling for the first goal of their respective season. Fortunately for Utah, it was their group who would connect for the opening goal of the game when defenseman Kaden Whaley sent a long stretch pass to teammate Nick Urtis busting through the neutral zone which sent him on a breakaway. Urtis would take advantage of the opportunity by placing his shot past the glove of the Riverblades goalie to make it 1-0 Utah.
As the first period was coming to a close, the Outliers would again convert for their second tally of the contest while playing on the power play. After a broken play at the net, a Riverblades defenseman was unable to clear the puck down the ice during the penalty kill, and Utah forward Miles McCue intercepted the failed clearing pass and walked down the slot to rifle a shot past the Riverblades netminder for a 2-0 Outliers lead.
As both teams entered the ice for the second period, the pace of play continued with some tight checking and hard hitting by both clubs. The Outliers would eventually break through some of the Riverblades defensive checking when Utah defenseman Alex Schluep released a quick shot from the point that created a juicy rebound for forward Luke Norman to scoop up and deposit into the net. This goal would give the Outliers a 3-0 lead just four minutes into the second period.
Just when things looked like they were rolling for the Outliers, Utah forward Matt Kreczman was called for a boarding penalty and was ejected from the game. This infraction would give the Riverblades a five-minute power play and put the Outliers penalty kill to the test. Thanks to some strong defense and timely saves by goaltender Garrett Alderman, Utah was able to escape without surrendering a goal.
With just over four minutes remaining in the second period, the Outliers would once again extend their lead to 4-0. On an offensive zone face-off, Utah's center Nikolas Schwab would push the puck forward on the draw towards the Riverblades net which created a scramble around the goal crease where teammate Nick Obourn would collect the loose puck and find the back of the net. The goal would give Utah a commanding lead heading into the second intermission.
The third period would see the Outliers break out offensively in a big way with four more unanswered goals. The Outliers would score their 5th and 6th goal of the game while on the power play. Utah's 5th goal was started by Trent Gephart who was playing high on the power play and spotted Nick Urtis low at the goal line for a pass. Urtis would receive the pass and show some good composure and slide a pass backdoor to Sean Morris who tapped it into the yawning cage. The Outliers' 6th goal was a result of a nice entry play by forward Parker Williams who broke into the Riverblades zone along the wall and found an open teammate in Noah Bourassa roaming in the slot. Bourassa would make no mistake and fire his shot 'bar-down' for his first goal of the season.
The Outliers were not yet finished with their offensive onslaught. Utah would score its 7th goal of the game when Outliers forward Austin Tessier tipped a puck past a pinching Riverblades defenseman which put his team on a 2 on 1 and another attack at Provo's net. Miles McCue would collect Tessier's chipped puck and make a rush into the Riverblades zone where he would thread the needle with a terrific pass through the goal crease to Nick Urtis who converted for his second goal of the night.
Utah would finish off the game by scoring with just 17 seconds remaining in the game. It was once again Parker Williams streaking down the ice and entering the Riverblades zone with the puck and then skating behind the Provo net and dishing a goal line pass to an open Nick Obourn who would capitalize for the team's 8th goal of the evening.
The Outliers would finish their first game of the 2021-22 campaign with a decisive 8-0 victory and a big road win to start the regular season. The Outliers would see six different goal scorers in this contest and Utah goaltender Garrett Alderman would slam the door tight earning his first junior hockey shutout.
Utah Outliers 4, Northern Colorado Eagles 1
September 25th, 2021
On Saturday the Outliers took the ice to play host to the Northern Colorado Eagles at the Acord Ice Center in front of their faithful fans. This would be Utah's home-opener and they were determined to not disappoint the 'full-house' crowd who showed up to cheer them on.
Much like the night before, the game started fast and furious with both teams trying to impose their will on its opponent. These two teams have become very familiar with one another over the years so it was sure to be an exciting battle.
Early in the contest, each team had some good scoring chances but both goaltenders were up to the challenge and refused to surrender the first goal of the game. For the Eagles, it was goaltender Ethan Hagland getting the start between the pipes and for the Outliers, Marco Felicetti would tend the twine.
Once again, it was the Outliers' power play that got them rolling and put them on the board for a 1-0 lead. Nick Urtis started the play with a nice move on an Eagles defender and then slipped a pass to teammate Parker Williams. Williams would then showcase his passing skills by tapping a lateral pass over to a wide-open Matt Kreczman on the weak side of the ice. Kreczman would take full advantage of the pass and quickly release a shot into the gaping net for a 1-0 Outliers lead. The game would stay that way heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, it was much more of the same with both teams working to create some offense but the defense and goalies standing tall.
It would take an outstanding play for the next goal of the game to occur and fortunately for the crowd it was from the home team. With just over half the period gone, Utah defenseman Kaden Whaley made a pass up ice to forward Nikolas Schwab in the neutral zone, Schwab would then make a no-look pass behind his back to teammate Parker Williams breaking down the right side of the ice. Williams would enter Colorado's zone and make a fantastic backhand toe drag move around an Eagles defenseman and then place a perfect shot over the glove of the Colorado netminder for a 2-0 Utah lead.
The Outliers were not finished scoring as they would add one more goal before the period ended and it would once again come via the power play. The Eagles were called for two consecutive penalties giving the outliers its first 5 on 3 power play of the season. It would take Utah just seven seconds to find the back of the net as the power-play unit made a collection of tic-tac-toe passes that led to a spectacular goal. The passing play began with defenseman Helvis Rudzajs and Magnus Einarson, followed by forward Nick Urtis and the eventual goal scorer Miles McCue. The Outliers would skate off with a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
In the third period, both teams continued to battle and exchange scoring chances back and forth, and eventually, each team would find a goal apiece in the final frame.
The Outliers found their fourth goal of the night just two minutes into the final period. The play started with a nice breakout by Utah who was working in their own zone to escape the Eagles' forecheck pressure.
While breaking out of the zone, Utah defenseman Kaden Whaley found Nick Urtis busting through the middle of the ice in the neutral zone for a breakaway pass. Urtis would receive Whaley's pass at center ice and split the defenseman for a breakaway. One of the Eagles defenseman who recognized he was beat on the play hooked Urtis down to the ice but the crafty forward (while sliding on his knees) kept control of the puck and fired it past the Eagles goalie for a sensational tally. Utah would now extend its lead to 4-0.
With just over five minutes remaining in the third period, the Outliers would win a defensive zone face-off but lose control of the puck behind the net when a Colorado player intercept an Outliers breakout pass. After intercepting the pass, the Eagles player would take the puck to the net and slip it through the legs of Utah goaltender Marco Felicetti, ruining his bid for a shutout.
Although giving up a late goal, Utah skated off the ice to a 4-1 victory over the Eagles and an impressive 2-0 record to start the season. The Outliers were led by four different goal scorers and an outstanding performance between the pipes by goaltender Marco Felicetti who finished the game with 29 saves for his first win in an Outliers jersey.
The Outliers are back in action next weekend. On Friday, Utah travels to Ogden for a battle with the Mustangs beginning at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice Sheet. On Saturday, the Outliers return home to the Acord ice center where they will host the Pueblo Bulls for a clash that begins at 6:35 p.m.
Fans can purchase tickets for all Outliers home games on the teams' official website or by paying at the door at the Acord Ice Center.