Weekend Recap: Outliers vs Bulls
The Utah Outliers hit a roadblock last weekend in their three game matchup versus the Pueblo Bulls. It was the Outliers' first competition of the new season and although the team got off to a hot start each of the three games, they couldn't find a way to hold the lead losing by scores of 3-2 OT, 5-3, and 3-2.
Game 1: Bulls 3 Outliers 2 (OT)
In game one, the Outliers came out strong and scored the only two goals of the first period. Ricky Bredberg capitalized on a power play goal when he took a cross ice pass and converted from the right circle past Pueblo's goalie Douglas Wakelyn. Shortly thereafter, the Outliers again converted on the powerplay when a point shot led to a net-front battle where Dawson Armstrong slipped the rebound past the goaltender.
In the second period, the Bulls came out much more energized and put the Outliers on their heels as they generated some good opportunities on Outliers' goaltender Cam Barber. Halfway through the period Utah began to find their game again and generated some quality chances of their own but could not convert. It appeared that the period would end scoreless, but with just 2:46 left in the frame, the Bulls capitalized on a two-on-one break when Brigham Neuhold made a nifty pass across the ice to Hunter Gruben who released a quick shot past Barber to close the deficit to 2-1. The Bulls were not finished, just as the clock was ticking down to end the period, the Outliers coughed up the puck behind their net and Benjamin St. Onge fed a pass into the slot to Brigham Neuhold who sniped a shot top shelf to tie the game with just 46 seconds left in the period.
The third period saw back and forth action as both teams generated some grade-A chances but the goaltenders were up to the task. Neither team was willing to give an inch and back down which led the game needing extra time. In overtime it didn't take the Bulls long to capitalize as just 45 seconds into OT, Wyatt Andres skated through the neutral zone and drove wide on the right side of the ice and cut in on the Outliers' goalie, stuffing the shot in at the far post to seal the victory.
Game 2: Bulls 5 Outliers 3
Game two started out very similar to game one, with the Outliers taking an early two goal lead in the first period. Just two minutes into the contest, the Outliers broke away on a 3-on-1 rush and Outliers defenseman Michele Vignoli made a beautiful cross ice pass to his defensive partner Luc Modry who quickly shot it past Douglas Wakelyn of the Bulls for a 1-0 lead. As the first period was about to wind down, Outliers forward, Ricky Bredberg skated across the Bulls blueline and cut to the middle for a shot which was mishandled by the Bulls goaltender and Dawson Armstrong arrived at the net with perfect timing to tap the puck across the goal line for an Outliers 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Outliers they could not hold the 2-0 lead and with just 46 seconds left in the opening period, Bulls forward, Benjamin St. Onge shook free in the corner of the Outliers zone and walked to the net and made a power move to the far post to score on Outliers goaltender Collin Soderholm to make the score 2-1.
The second period was all Bulls as they scored 4 unanswered goals to give them a commanding lead and led heading into the third period. The Bulls started their scoring in the second on a power play, when a shot from the point was tipped in past Soderholm just two minutes into the period. The Bulls followed that up with their third goal of an errant pass by the Outliers that led to a breakaway for Bulls forward Brigham Neuhold who made no mistake firing it over the glove hand of the Outliers goalie. The Bulls would finish their scoring in the second, when a harmless dump-in was misplayed by Soderholm and the Bulls forward Hunter Grubin snagged the rebound and shot it past the goalie for a 5-2 lead after two periods.
The third period saw the Outliers press to make a comeback but it was to no avail. The team generated some solid chances but could not solve the Bulls goalie until 1:07 left in the third period when Alex Charin broke free on an odd-man rush and rifled a shot over the blocker of the Bulls Wakelyn to narrow the score to 5-3. The game would end that way and the Outliers skated off the ice with no points.
Game 3: Bulls 3 Outliers 2
It was déja vu all over again in game 3 as the Outliers once again came out flying and took a 2-0 lead in the first period. The scoring started four minutes into the game when the Outliers won a board battle in the Bulls zone and forward Jett Arminen took the puck to the net and released a shot that created a rebound for Alex Charin to deposit for a 1-0 lead. Just as the puck dropped for the next face-off, the Outliers came storming back for another goal when Outliers Ricky Bredberg stole the puck in the Bulls zone and made a centering pass to the slot for Trenth Gephart who made a nice shot through the legs of Bulls goalie Blake Sprow. The Outliers were back on top with a 2-0 lead just five minutes into the game and that is how the opening period would remain.
Just as the Outliers had owned the first period of each game, the Bulls began their comeback once again in the second. At 11:35, the Bulls drove the puck wide into the Outliers zone and threw it to the front of the net where a scramble ensued and Bulls forward Benjamin St. Onge converted on the shot to beat Outliers goalie Cam Barber. Shortly after, at the 8:26 mark, the Bulls created a turnover in the Outliers zone and made a pass to the slot where Pueblo forward Wyatt Andres tapped it past Barber to tie the score 2-2 heading into the third period.
The third period saw back and forth action and scoring chances exchanged between the two teams. But just like in the past two games of the series, Pueblo made their shot count when it mattered most when the Bulls Hunter Gruben took a shot that handcuffed goalie Cam Barber and dropped to his side and lay there for teammate Connor Williams to tap into the open net for a 3-2 Pueblo win.
The Outliers hit the ice again when they play their first home series of the season Oct (16-18) taking on the Northern Colorado Eagles at the Maverik Center in West Valley. Game times are Friday 7:30 PM, Saturday 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM MT.