Season Opener Weekend Preview
The Utah Outliers drop the puck for the start of the 2017-18 campaign this weekend with a series of games in Ogden against the cross-town rival Mustangs. The Mustangs are coming hot off their opening weekend, stealing two out of three games from the Colorado Eagles.
This weekend marks the beginning of league WSHL games for the Outliers, who started their season off with a 7-0 victory last weekend over the University of Utah Skatin’ Utes. ACHA Div. 1 team. Last year, the Outliers saw a strong second half of their season, winning 23 out of 29 contests, as well as an impressive run in the WSHL Showcase in Las Vegas, winning all 4 of their games. The team also achieved a season-high 11 game winning streak. This season, the team welcomes a sea of newcomers, hailing from Canada, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, and Sweden, as well as from around the United States. The team has six returners led by last year’s third leading scorer, Bogdan Khatov (‘97), who tallied 58 points in the 2016-17 season. A few key newcomers to watch for are former OHL draft pick Zack Hoffman (‘98), who put up 24 points for the LaSalle Vipers in the GOJHL last season. The 19-year-old defenseman looks ready to have a strong season this year with the Outliers. The Outliers are also welcoming forward Brandon Krumpschmid (‘97), who spent last season in the NAHL playing for the Odessa Jackalopes.
The Outliers are led this year by Captain Jacob Wanstrom (‘97), who tallied 41 points last season. Wanstrom is excited to begin the new season. “Our team is looking forward to starting the season playing in Ogden against the Mustangs. It is a fun place to play and the rivalry we have makes the games intense, and that's how it should be. We have high expectations of ourselves this season and want to compete for a Championship. We have had a month of practice, and I really like how our group has come together. This weekend will be a good test for our team," he said.
Wanstrom and his team will be coached once again by Head Coach Paul Taylor, assisted by Austin Balko and Brent Gwidt. Taylor, entering his second season with the Outliers, brings great leadership and experience through many years of coaching in the WSHL. Taylor is ready to begin this year’s campaign in Ogden. He said, "Playing in Ogden is always a big challenge for our club. They have a strong program that has had good success for a number of years. This opening weekend series will be a good way to set the tone for our team and for us to see where we are at. I believe we have a really good mix of character and talent on this club, and now it's time to see how it shows in our first league weekend series."
Best of luck to the Utah Outliers, who play tonight, September 29th at 7:30 pm, and tomorrow night, September 30th at 7:30 pm. Both games will be played at the Ice Sheet in Ogden. Tickets can be purchased at http://ogdenmustangs.com/tickets/.
By Carly Tashman