The Ogden Mustangs come into the weekend with some payback on their minds, facing the Utah Outliers for the first time since falling 5-1 in Ogden on Nov. 16. It’s the lone blemish on the Mustangs’ 21-1 record this season and the marquee victory of the year for the Outliers. Can the Outliers shock the world again this weekend, or will the Mustangs prove that the Nov. 16 loss was indeed the outlier.
Game Notes are compiled by Ogden Mustangs Director of Broadcasting and Social Media, Jon McBride. Catch Jon live during the game, calling all the action on WSHL TV, brought to you via Black Dog Enterprises.
Mustangs this Season
- The Mustangs enter the game with a record of 21-1-0. They sit in first place in the Western States Hockey League Mountain Division and third place overall in the WSHL. They’re coming off of a dominant sweep of the Butte Cobras. The Mustangs outscored the Cobras 23-4 in the three games. The Mustangs appear to be back on track after the Nov. 16 loss. The team’s 18-0 start was the best in the league this season. The loss caught them off guard, but has appeared to be a wake-up call that complacency can’t occur.
Outliers this Season
- The Outliers enter this weekend with a record of 7-12-3. They sit in fifth place in the Mountain Division and 18th overall in the WSHL. They’re coming off of six consecutive losses to the defending division-champion Colorado Jr. Eagles. The first three games were in Fort Collins two weeks ago. Last week, the Outliers hosted the Eagles, and despite taking two games to overtime, the Outliers just fell short in all three. In the six games, the Outliers struggled offensively, producing only eight total goals. It was a stark difference to the 24 goals they scored in the four games previous, when they went 3-1.
- After six seasons of matchups, Friday will be the 46th all-time meeting between the Mustangs and this Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Mustangs lead the all-time series 31-10-4. The Mustangs are 3-1 this season, outscoring the Outliers 21-7 in those games. The most recent matchup was the 5-1 Outlier victory. The prior dominance this season by the Mustangs was halted, and it wasn’t something new, exactly. Last season, after the Mustangs won the opener, the Moose came back to win all five of the remaining games. The Mustangs ended up finishing 28 points ahead of the Moose in the standings. The Mustangs had winning records against every other team they played last season, including both Thorne Cup finalists (the Idaho Jr. Steelheads and Colorado Jr. Eagles), but for some reason, they couldn’t solve the Moose.
Players to Watch
- For the Outliers, goaltender Marcus Rudhage was a key addition, coming over from the now-defunct Vail Powder Hounds. He had 29-, 37- and 35-save performances in the wins over the Cheyenne Stampede and Mustangs after being acquired. He’s not seen the same success since, averaging four goals against in his last six games. Matt Culot is leading the team in scoring with 32 points. The next closes point-getter is Alexander Puurunen with 19 points. He had two goals in his last game against the Mustangs. Zach Dornseifer, who has just three goals and six assists this season, had three assists in his last game against the Mustangs. Jordan Stone, the captain, leads all defensemen with three goals and 13 assists on the season and is third overall in scoring.
- For the Mustangs, in goal, Vladimir Cibulka, after allowing five goals against the Outliers on Nov. 16, bounced back to stop 56 of the 59 shots he faced last weekend against Butte. He leads all WSHL goaltenders (who have faced 100 or more shots this season) in all major goaltending statistical categories, with 15 wins, a goals against average of 1.28 and a save percentage of .952. Up front, Montell Greene continues to lead the charge with 22 goals and 39 points. Henrik Axelsson had a hat trick in his last game and is second overall in team scoring with 32 points. Matus Spodniak jumped into third in team scoring last weekend. Zeke Zeier led all players with four goals last weekend. Nick Frankich leads the defense corps with 28 points and leads the team with 21 assists.
Injury Report/Other Player Notes/Team Stats/Statistics
- Mustangs special teams statistics:
Powerplay – 31/127 – 24% (6th)
Penalty kill – 76/94 – 92% (3rd)
- Outlier special teams statistics:
Powerplay – 12/96 – 12% (23rd)
Penalty kill – 69/90 – 75% (20th)
- Records watch:
Matus Spodniak scored the quickest goal to start a game in Mustangs history last Sunday, nine seconds into the game.
Montell Greene sits at 100 points exactly for his career. That’s the sixth most total points by any player in team history. He’s just three points away from passing David Clements for fifth.
Vladimir Cibulka’s four shutouts this season tie a single-season franchise record and put him just two behind Andreas Pettersson’s all-time total of six.
WSHL Mountain Division Info
Ogden Mustangs – 42 points
Colorado Jr. Eagles – 38 points
Casper Coyotes – 29 points
Cheyenne Stampede – 22 points
Utah Outliers – 17 points
Superior RoughRiders – 9 points
- This weekend’s matchups
Mustangs at Outliers
Eagles at Coyotes
RoughRiders at Stampede
Outliers at Mustangs
Eagles at Coyotes
Stampede at RoughRiders
Eagles at Coyotes
What Jon’s Watching For
- Time and Space – In the Nov. 16 game, the Outliers just didn’t give the Mustangs the time and space with the puck that we usually have seen this season. Along those same lines, the Mustangs failed to stick to their systems that would create time and space for them. With the amount of talent on this Mustangs’ roster, they are a very dangerous team when they have open ice in front of them. A tight-checking, grind-it-out game definitely favors the Outliers.
- Goaltending – Rudhage was a major factor in the Nov. 16 game, making some huge stops in goal for the Outliers at key junctures. Cibulka was good as well in that game, but was left out to dry on different occasions do to poor defensive coverage and turnovers. Both goaltenders went in different directions since that game, with Cibulka only allowing two goals last weekend and Rudhage allowing 10.
- Tune Up Time – These will be the final two games for both teams before heading to Las Vegas next week for the annual Western States Shootout. The event is a big-time opportunity for individuals and teams to showcase themselves in front of the league as a whole and scouts from across the country.