Utah clips NOCO's wings
The Utah Outliers continue their Mountain division dominance as they grab 4 out of a possible 6 points in a weekend series against the Northern Colorado Eagles. The Outliers are now 8-2-0 in their past 10 games, giving them a record of 35-5-1 and the top spot in the Mountain Division.
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Utah Outliers 2, Northern Colorado Eagles 1
After a long bus trip, Utah needed to have a hot start in their opening game on. Saturday. The visitors did exactly that as they dominated much of the 5-on-5 play early, and kept the pressure on Northern Colorado. Utah's offense would pay off the club when they converted on their first goal of the contest at the 12:36 mark.
Outliers' forward, Miles McCue, started off the play by applying pressure on Northern Colorado’s defensemen and causing a turnover. McCue continued down the wall and moved the puck to Outlier forward David Utkin. In the chaos of the turnover, Utkin slid the puck over to the team's leading goal scorer, Will Cohen, who put the puck past the Northern Colorado goaltender for a 1-0 Outliers lead.
The Outliers ended the period outshooting the Eagles 17-12. Utah goalie Jaxon Letey, was making his 11th start of the season for the club and made several key saves to help give his team a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Outliers continued their dominance in the second period as they controlled a majority of possession and zone time, leading to continued offensive pressure and scoring chances. This offensive pressure ended up being empty calories due to the fact that the Eagles' netminder was up to the challenge and thwarted all the Outliers' opportunities.
The Outliers hoped to break through offensively at 13:19 of the period when Eagles' forward Quinn O’Reilly got called for a high sticking penalty on Outliers' forward Leyton Pettypiece. Unfortunately, the power play was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, but Utah continued to gain offensive momentum by creating multiple scoring chances on net.
The second period ended with the Outliers holding onto a 1-0 lead. Utah continued to control the shot column by outshooting the Eagles 16-8 in the second period and 33-20 overall. Outlier goaltender, Jaxon Letey, continued his clean sheet with another eight stops in the period.
The third period continued the theme of the previous two periods with Utah keeping its foot on the pedal and often hemming the Ealges in their zone for long stretches of time.
At 13:07 of the final frame, Northern Colorado found its first goal of the contest. After possessing the puck in the Outliers zone for an extended length of time, the Eagles took advantage of a Utah defensive breakdown and buried a shot past Letey to tie the score at 1-1.
The rest of the period provided high-octane action with both teams pressing to find their second goal of the evening. Utah continued to create some grade-A chances on the net but was continuously denied by the Eagles goaltender. At the end of regulation, the game was tied at 1-1 as Utah held the shot count advantage for the contest at 55-21. This game would need extra time to decide on a winner.
In overtime, Utah showed its maturity and skill as a group and found the back of the net at 3:27 and skate off with the victory. The overtime goal was scored by assistant captain, Miles McCue, who created a turnover on the forecheck and walked into the high slot, wiring one through the five-hole to give the Outliers a 2-1 win!
Utah finished the game outshooting the Eagles 59-34. Goaltender Jaxon Letey stopped 27 of 28 shots and got the win for his team. He improved his record to 11-0 on the season.
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Utah Outliers 1, Northern Colorado Eagles 4
The Outliers came into the weekend's second game looking to continue their flawless record against the Eagles. This game was going to be a revenge match for the Eagles after a close game on Saturday afternoon.
Utah would once again turn to first-year goaltender Jaxon Letey to play between the pipes and the Eagles would look to netminder Evan Stringer to guard their net.
The game started off smoothly for Utah as they controlled a lot of the early offense and zone time. The visiting club looked sharp early creating a number of nice rushes but being unable to convert the plays into goals.
The Eagles were set on playing a very physical style of game and looked to try and enforce their will upon Utah as they finished their checks and defended hard. Both teams battled hard back and forth until the end of the period but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
Utah found itself in penalty trouble during the second half of the opening frame and therefore spent a lot of time having to defend on the penalty kill. Shots in the first period favored the Eagles 11-10.
In the second period, the Outliers came out with some edge and determination which led them to start carrying the offense more. At the 16:46 mark, third-year Outlier, Nikolas Schwab, got on the board with a nice deflection to beat the Eagles' goaltender.
Utah's lead would not be held for very long. A minute after Schwab opened up the scoring for his team, Northern Colorado pounced on a loose puck in the Outliers zone and an Eagles' forward rifled a shot from the top of the circles that squeezed through the arm of Jaxon Letey.
The second period wound down with the game deadlocked at 1-1. Both teams headed to the locker room with the game on the line. The third period would belong to whichever team could convert on its offensive chances.
The third period started with the Eagles coming out hungry and pressuring the Outliers, once again delivering physical play on their opponents. The game tightened up as both teams established an aggressive defensive presence, resulting in both offenses being stifled.
At the 12-minute mark, Eagles' player Eric Braun attacked off the rush and skated into the Utah zone where he hammered a shot from inside the circles that beat Letey over his blocker for a 2-1 lead.
The Eagles added two more goals on the afternoon to extend their lead to 4-1 and earn the victory as Utah was unable to make a comeback. This defeat would be Utah's first loss against a divisional opponent outside of the Ogden Mustangs.
Monday, January 30, 2023
Utah Outliers 6, Northern Colorado Eagles 1
Game three of the weekend was set and the 3-game series was up for grabs. Utah was determined to get the two points and hold on to their dominance over the Eagles.
Utah goalie, Nathan Dickey, who has a .907 save percentage and a 12-2-2 record was tabbed the starter for this game. Dickey was looking to pick up his 14th win on the season.
The first period started off with quick puck movement and high-tempo play from the Outliers. Just fifty seconds into the contest, Miles McCue received a quick pass from teammate Ben Cesario in front of the Eagles net and McCue buried his shot to put the Outliers ahead 1-0 and give the club an early lead.
Utah's scoring didn’t stop there, the Outliers capitalized on a turnover by Northern Colorado and made their opponent pay for its mistake. Some quick thinking by defenseman Magnus Einarson led to a rush and an offensive attack by Nikolas Schwab who made no mistake as he entered the Eagles' zone and blasted his shot through the legs of the netminder.
The first period came to an end with Utah holding a 2-0 lead and outshooting the Eagles 17-11 in the opening frame.
The second period continued much the same way as the opening period as Utah carried the majority of the 5-on-5 play. When the Outliers did make a mistake and allow the Eagles some offense, goaltender Nathan Dickey was up to the task and made some timely saves for his club.
Utah eventually extended its lead to 3-0 after Brian Fiddes attacked the Northern Colorado zone off the rush. Fiddes entered the zone and released a quick shot that missed the net but caromed off the end boards and onto the stick of Dylan McCormick who deposited the puck into the net.
The Outliers would get a power play goal four minutes later to give them a commanding 4-0 lead. After nice puck movement on the man advantage, Will Cohen received a pass and walked down the slot, and released a missile just inside the post that beat the Eagles' netminder cleanly.
The Outliers headed into the second intermission having outshot Northern colorado by a margin of 37-21. Utah goalie Nathan Dickey would continue his clean sheet as he stopped all 21 shots directed at him.
In the third period, Utah added two more goals to the scoreboard as forward Brian Fiddes added the fifth goal of the game for Utah and Will Cohen scored his second of the day and Utah's sixth goal of the game.
The Eagles finally found the scoreboard in the third period to break the shutout of Nathan Dickey who played a strong game for his team stopping 34 of 35 shots and improving his record to 13-2-2. Although the Eagles did find a goal in this game there would be no comeback for the home club in this contest as Utah's dominance was clear in its 6-1 victory.
The Outliers are back in action on Friday, February 3rd as they travel to Ogden to take on the Mustangs at the Ice Sheet at 7:15 pm and the Provo Predators on February 4th in Provo at 7:00 pm. You can catch all the action streamed live on HOCKEYTV.