The Ogden Mustangs and Utah Outliers have seen a lot of each other this season. This weekend’s home-and-home series will be the eighth and ninth meetings and the final two matchups against each other in the regular season. With the playoffs coming up quick, points are at a premium. Momentum is also at stake as these two are most likely on a collision course for the division finals for the second straight season.
Game Notes are compiled by Ogden Mustangs broadcasting and media specialist, Jon McBride. Catch Jon live during the games, calling the action via Black Dog Hockey.
Mustangs this Season
- The Mustangs enter the weekend with a Western States Hockey League-best record of 39-2-2 record. They’re coming off a tight series against the Long Beach Bombers at home last weekend, where they won two of the three matchups. The score overall in the series was 7-7. The seven goals for in the three games is the lowest total from any three consecutive games played this season, for the Mustangs. They however remain the No. 1 scoring team overall in the WSHL, with 276 goals scored in 43 games.
- This is the eighth season of Mustangs hockey. Head coach Jake Laime is in his seventh season. The Mustangs won division championships in 2014, 2015 and last season in 2018. Total points earned and team winning percentage increased each of the first six seasons. For the past six seasons, the Mustangs have been considered in the top tier of teams in the WSHL, with deep runs in the postseason each season, but are still looking for their first league title. Last season ended in heartbreaking fashion, falling 3-2 in the Thorne Cup Finals championship game.
Outliers this Season
- The Outliers enter this weekend with a record of 27-13-2-1. They’re coming off a sweep on the road against the Cheyenne Stampede, winning 5-3, 9-2 and 11-0. The Outliers are averaging 5.1 goals per game, which is sixth best in the WSHL. Against the Mustangs, however, they’re averaging only a single goal per game, having been shut out twice. The Outliers have good team size, with 14 of their 20 forwards and defensemen standing 6-feet-1-inch or taller. They have five players 6-feet-3-inches or taller.
- This is the third season of Utah Outliers hockey, but after rebranding, it’s the eighth of the Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Outliers are coming off of their best season in franchise history. They finished the regular season last season with 79 points, just two more than the Mustangs for most in the Mountain Division. But in the playoffs, it was the Mustangs who won the division title in West Valley. Still, the Outliers got the wildcard spot in the Thorne Cup Finals. It was their first ever trip to the league championship event. Before last season, the team had its best season in 2014-15 when the Moose finished with 54 points. The Outliers are coached by Paul Taylor, who’s in his fourth season with the team.
- Now in the eighth season of matchups, Friday will be the 67th all-time meeting between the Mustangs and this Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The Mustangs lead the all-time series 45-16-5. The Mustangs had won the eight straight matchups, dating back to last January, before the Outliers won in a shootout a few weekends ago.
Players to Watch
- For the Outliers, they’re led by Matt Bartel, who has 61 points this season. Nicholas Ness, Jan Dvorak and team captain Zach Dornseifer are the three other Outliers averaging a point per game or more this season, with 56, 47 and 46 points respectively. Former Phoenix Knights sniper Anthony Masannoti, who had a remarkable 40 goals last season for the Phoenix Knights, hasn’t quite reached his Western Division form of the past, but can be a dynamic offensive weapon. Jake Papesh is the team’s top-scoring defenseman with 28 points this season. Jacob Lelek is right behind him with 26 points. In goal, Oscar Wahlgren has been the Outliers’ top guy all season. He’s 19-8-1 with a 2.03 goals against average. He’s got some help now with Charles-Olivier Lepage who was recently acquired.
- For the Mustangs, Rhett Rampinelli continues to lead the team in scoring and is third overall in WSHL scoring. He hit the 100-point plateau last weekend, becoming only the fourth Mustang to ever do so in a single season. Ammon Anderson is second in team scoring with 79 points, continuing his impressive season as a 17 year old. Shane Gilbert has the hot hand with two game-winning goals last weekend. Ryan Mascali leads the Mustangs defense corps, with the “C” on his chest. The Mustangs depth on defense continues to be an asset, led by Mascali, Matts Thielemann, John Shively, Oliver Wieringa and now with the addition of Canadian Tier II veteran defenseman Stephon Perreault, they are extremely deep at the position. Perreault logged a lot of ice time last weekend. In goal, Artur Ogandzhanyan continues to put up impressive numbers this season with a 1.89 goals against average and a league-best .936 save percentage. He had a shutout in his last game played against the Outliers, his third of the season.
Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes
- Mustangs special teams statistics:
Powerplay – 51/206 – 25% (4th)
Penalty kill – 157/176 – 89% (2nd)
- Outliers special teams statistics:
Powerplay – 42/189 – 22% (8th)
Penalty kill – 177/193 – 86% (6th)
The Mustangs have scored the most total shorthanded goals in the WSHL this season: 16.
- Mountain Division Standings
Ogden Mustangs – 119 points
Utah Outliers – 86 points
Casper Bobcats – 47 points
Steamboat Wranglers – 28 points
Cheyenne Stampede – 21 points
- Overall WSHL Standings
Ogden – 119 pts – 8 gms left
El Paso – 104 pts – 6 gms left
Long Beach – 97 pts – 10 gms left
OKC – 96 pts – 9 gms left
Bellingham – 92 pts – 8 gms left
* Note the WSHL’s new point system this season: 3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for an overtime or shootout win, 1 point for an overtime loss.
- This weekend’s Mountain Division matchups
Bobcats at Stampede
Bobcats at Stampede
Bobcats at Stampede
What Jon’s Watching For
- Hard to Play Against – Coach Laime said he wants his team to be harder to play against. That means driving harder to the net, playing more physical and going to work in the dirty areas of the ice. We’ll see if they can do so this weekend.
- Finish – Last weekend the Mustangs failed to convert on a number of opportunities where they should’ve/could’ve. Can they be opportunistic and finish on the opportunities they get this weekend?
- Momentum – The Outliers know they’ve got to get through the Mustangs to get to the Thorne Cup Finals. A win or two this weekend could give them some major momentum heading into the playoffs and eventually into the division finals.