The Ogden Mustangs come into the 18th annual Western States Shootout with a 23-1-1 record, sitting atop the Western States Hockey League Mountain Division and the entire WSHL standings. They now get the chance to test themselves against three other top teams, from other divisions, in the WSHL on a league-wide platform in front of a plethora of NCAA scouts in Las Vegas.

Game Notes are compiled by Ogden Mustangs broadcasting and media specialist, Jon McBride. Catch Jon live at the showcase, calling 15 games over four days on Black Dog Hockey.

THE OGDEN MUSTANGS

Record: 23-1-0-1

Standings: 1st in the Mountain Division, 1st in the WSHL

Players to watch:

Rhett Rampinelli – 21 G, 33 A, 54 PTS, 10 game-winning assists

Ammon Anderson – 16 G, 27 A, 43 PTS, 6 game-winning goals

Artur Ogandzhanyan – 1.92 GAA, .927 SV%

How they’re entering the showcase:

The Mustangs come into Vegas looking to keep things rolling, from what has been a remarkable start to the season. They started 18-0, before suffering their first loss of the season in Oklahoma City. Following the OKC series, the Mustangs have won four in a row, including a gutsy effort in their most recent outing, last Friday, on the road against the Utah Outliers. The Mustangs have scored the second most goals in the WSHL this season and have allowed the fewest for a remarkable +114 goal differential in 25 games.

Game 1 | Mustangs vs. Monsters | Dec. 18, 2:15 pm PST | CNA-B

THE FRESNO MONSTERS

Record: 17-8-1-0

Standings: 1st in the Western Division, 5th in the WSHL

Top players:

Petr Philippov – 16 G, 27 A, 43 PTS, 16 PPP

Dustin Truex – 17 G, 21 A, 38 PTS

Max Karlenzig – 2.88 GAA .914 SV%

How they’re entering the showcase:

The Monsters have worked their way to the top of the Western Division after a bit of a rebuild from last season. The top two scorers for Fresno carried a heavy load last season in Cody Key and Daylon Mannon. With both players moving on, it’s required a team effort to step up, and it appears as if they’ve been able to do so. The west has been a little wild this season, with much more parity than in past seasons. The Monsters have won at least one game against every team in the division. They’ve also lost at least one game to every team in the division, except one, the Valencia Flyers, who they went to overtime with last weekend. The Monsters have won three straight games, including that one.

Game 2 | Mustangs vs. Rhinos | Dec. 19, 12:45 pm PST | CNA-B

THE EL PASO RHINOS

Record: 18-5-2-2

Standings: 1st in the Midwest Division, 3rd in the WSHL

Top players:

Jonas Burman – 14 G, 21 A, 35 PTS, 10 PPP

John Erramouspe – 16 G, 18 A, 34 PTS

Nils Velm – 1.78 GAA .924 SV%

How they’re entering the showcase:

The Rhinos aren’t quite the same team they were last season, in their Thorne-Cup-winning campaign. They came into last season’s showcase with an undefeated record. They were led by potent offensive weapon Chaseton Sare. Sare in no longer with the team this season, and it’s been some tough sledding since he left. The Rhinos were swept in Long Beach, lost at home to Utah, lost to Northern Colorado and dropped two games to OKC. They’re looking to regroup a little in Vegas and ramp up for another Thorne Cup run. Expect their matchup with the Mustangs to be an intense one, with Ogden looking for revenge after last season’s devastating loss to the Rhinos in the championship game.

Game 3 | Mustangs vs. Aeros | Dec. 20, 3:15 pm PST | CNA-A

THE EDSON AEROS

Record: 15-3-1-1

Standings: 1st in the Provincial Division, 9th in the WSHL

Top players:

Sebastian Heden – 30 G, 36 A, 66 PTS, 21 PPP

Emil Johansson – 33 G, 31 A, 64 PTS, 6 GWG

Liam Austin – 2.53 GAA, .925 SV%

How they’re entering the showcase:

The Aeros are one of the big question marks this season in Vegas. It’s the first season of the WSHL’s expansion into Canada and the creation of this provincial division. The Aeros have been dominant in that division, winning their first 11 of 12 games, many by ridiculous, double-digit margins, but they’ve stumbled a bit since that start. Bellingham beat them 4-1 on their trip up north, Nov. 16. Then a week and a half later, they somehow lost to the Meadow Lake Mustangs, the same team they had defeated 15-0 and 18-2 earlier in the season. So we’re all curious to see what sort of team shows up in Vegas. Heden is a player to keep an eye on. He’s led the league in scoring for the majority of the season, currently averaging 3.67 points per game.

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