by Website Admin

The Utah Outliers welcomed back the battle of the I-15 rivalry as they played a two-game set against their instate rival, the Ogden Mustangs. The Outliers hosted Ogden on Friday night at the Acord Ice Center and skated away with a 2-1 OT win. On Saturday night, Utah traveled to the Ice Sheet in Ogden and earned a 4-3 victory and swept the weekend series. 

Utah Outliers 2, Ogden Mustangs 1 OT  (Feb 23, 2024)

The Outliers came into the Ogden series having won 5 out of their last 6 games and were looking to continue their strong play. There was a lot of energy and excitement surrounding this much-anticipated tilt at the Acord Ice Center in front of a capacity crowd. 

Utah's Sam Straff was given the nod in net for the Outliers. The 06-born goaltender from Philadelphia was making his second start of the season and did not disappoint. 

The game started with a lot of spirited play between the two clubs as they both came out showing a bit of edge and some aggressive physical intensity. Utah started fast and controlled much of the early offensive play but could not beat Ogden's netminder, Nikita Volsky. The first period would end up scoreless with shots on goal favoring the Outliers by a margin of 7-5. 

Ogden opened up the scoring early in the second period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Forward Will Cherniak found himself all alone at the Outliers net and redirected a pass from the point.

Utah and Ogden traded chances for the remainder of the period but solid goaltending from both sides by the keepers eliminated any further scoring. Shots in the second period were 13-10 for the Mustangs and the game remained low-scoring with Ogden holding a 1-0 edge after two periods. 

In the third period, the Outliers picked up their offensive play and began to control more zone time on Ogden's end of the ice. The sustained pressure and hard work by the home team caused the Mustangs to draw a penalty and give Utah a power play.  The man-advantage opportunity would pay dividends as forward Makar Klochkov rifled a one-timer past the Ogden netminder thanks to a great pass by teammate Garrett Joss from behind the net. 

There was no further scoring in the final frame as the goaltenders kept up their strong play to force the game into overtime. The Mustangs wasted no time in creating an early scoring chance in extra time but Sam Straff answered the bell with a huge save to deny Ogden the win. 

Moments later, Utah's Makar Klochkov gained control of the puck in the neutral zone and turned on the jets to break free from the Mustang defenders to create a 2-on-1 situation. Klochkov drove hard to the net with Garret Joss to his right but the crafty forward decided to hold onto the puck and rip his shot short side to give the Outliers a 2-1 victory. 

Sam Straff earned his second victory of the season and the young netminder showed off his abilities with several key saves and earned himself the second star of the game.


The two teams were back in action on Saturday at the Ice Sheet in Ogden. The Outliers were looking to carry their momentum from the previous night after a thrilling OT victory at home. 

Goaltenders Sam Straff and Nikita Volsky were back between the pipes for their respective clubs as both netminders played superbly the previous night. 

The opening period showed a lot of familiar characteristics from Friday's battle as both teams played with a lot of energy and aggression as well as a fight off the opening face-off. Utah opened the scoring in the first period at the 10:15 mark when Evan England whacked in a shot that beat Ogden's netminder Nikita Volsky on the glove side. 

The remainder of the period saw both teams generate several good scoring opportunities as they peppered each other's net and combined for 28 shots in the opening frame. Despite the heavy shot count, Utah's Sam Straff thwarted away all of Ogden's attempts and kept the Mustangs off the board. 

Utah extended their lead to 2-0 at the 9:16 mark of the second period as they converted on a rush chance following a flurry of highlight saves by Straff. Ogden's offensive pressure got Utah pinned in their zone and the Mustangs created a series of chances at the net but could not solve Straff's outstanding netminding. Fortunately for the Outliers, they got the puck out of their zone and Makar Klochkov rushed up the ice and drove hard to the net but was stopped by the Mustangs netminder. Evan England followed up on the play and tapped home the loose rebound and put Utah up by a pair of goals. 

Ogden eventually found a slight crack in Straff's armor when they scored on the power play off a goal-mouth scramble to reduce the Outliers lead to 2-1. Just two minutes later, Utah answered with their own powerplay goal that came off the stick of Daniil Chuparnov to make it 3-1 and once again give the Outliers a two-goal cushion. 

The two teams headed into the locker room with Utah holding a 3-1 lead thanks to some incredible goaltending by Sam Straff was under heavy siege during the second period. 

Utah's fourth goal came early in the third period to give them a commanding 4-1 lead. The visitors displayed some pretty passing as they strung together a nice tic-tac-toe play. The goal was scored by Daniil Chuparnov for his second of the contest with assists coming off the sticks of Garrett Joss and Ryan Cooper. 

With Utah in complete control of the game, the momentum would take a sharp turn in favor of the Mustangs due to a controversial call by the referee. During a scramble at the Outliers net, the referee determined a Utah player covered up the puck with his hand and awarded Ogden a penalty shot. Mustangs forward, Brady Simko skated in all alone on Straff and beat the young netminder 5-hole to cut Ogden's deficit to 4-2. 

With just under a minute remaining in the game, Ogden was awarded another powerplay opportunity and once again they made Utah pay. The Mustangs won the draw in the Outliers zone and a breakdown allowed Ogden forward, Parker Osborn to skate in untouched and bury his shot to make it 4-3. 

The final minute of the third period was frantic as the Mustangs pressed for the equalizer but the Outliers held strong to deny them the tying goal. The Outliers skated off victorious with a 4-3 win and earning four points for their weekend sweep.