The Ogden Mustangs and Utah Outliers renew their in-state battle with a single matchup this Saturday in Ogden. Both teams come into the weekend hot, riding the two longest current winning streaks in the Western States Hockey League — the Mustangs at 13 straight wins and the Outliers at seven. It’s the midpoint of the nine-game season series between the Mustangs and Outliers, with plenty on the line as we get closer and closer to the WSHL’s Thorne Cup Playoffs. The Mustangs have 17 games left in the regular season schedule, while the Outliers have 14 games left.

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 32-1-1 record. They’re coming off a sweep on the road against the Casper Bobcats last weekend. The Mustangs won 9-1, 13-2 and 13-5. The Mustangs are highest-scoring team in the WSHL, scoring 237 total goals, averaging 6.9 per game. They’ve allowed the fewest goals in the WSHL, only 58 total goals, 1.7 per game. That +179 goal differential is the best in the WSHL by 88 goals.

Mustangs Historically

  • 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 24-11-1-1. They’re coming off a sweep at home against the Cheyenne Stampede, winning 13-1, 13-1 and 7-0. They were on the road in Casper the weekend before, sweeping that series 5-1, 7-1 and 5-3. Despite struggling offensively in their previous matchups with the Mustangs this season, the Outliers are the third-highest scoring team in the WSHL this season overall. 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.

Outliers Historically

  • 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.

All-time Series

  • Now in the eighth season of matchups, Friday will be the 64th 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 43-16-4. The Mustangs have won the past eight matchups, dating back to last January. The Mustangs have won this season’s games 2-0, 6-2, 2-1 and 4-1. Three of the four games have been played in Salt Lake City. The last time these two teams met in Ogden, it was early in the season and both teams were battling for the first-place spot in the division, with the Mustangs just three points ahead in the standings. Now the Mustangs have a 22-point lead in the standings.

Players to Watch

  • For the Outliers, they’re led by Matt Bartel, who has 55 points this season. Nicholas Ness, team captain Zach Dornseifer and Jan Dvorak are the three other Outliers averaging a point per game or more this season, with 50, 42 and 39 points respectively. Former Phoenix Knights sniper Anthony Masannoti, who had a remarkable 40 goals last season for the Phoenix Knights, hasn’t quite reached hist Western Division form of the past, but can be a dynamic offensive weapon. Jakub Lelek is the team’s top-scoring defenseman with 26 points this season. Jake Papesh is right behind him with 25 points. In goal, it looks like Oscar Wahlgren is the Outliers’ top guy. He’s 4-1 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
  • For the Mustangs, Rhett Rampinelli and Lukas Vacin have both been on some hot streaks lately. Rampinelli continues to lead the team in scoring and is now tied for the WSHL scoring lead with 38 goals and 46 assists this season, for a total of 84 points. He had three goals and seven assists last weekend. He has points in all but three games this season. Vacin led the charge last weekend, with one more point than Rampinelli, racking up seven goals and 4 assists, including a first-period hat trick in Saturday’s game. Vacin is on a remarkable goal-scoring run, with at least two goals scored in four consecutive games and in five of his last six games. Ammon Anderson is second in team scoring with 67 points, continuing his impressive season as a 17 year old. He has points in all but four games this season. Ryan Mascali leads the Mustang defense corps, with a “C” on his jersey. The Mustang depth on defense continues to be an asset with Mascali, Matts ThielemannJohn Shively and Oliver Wieringa as possibly the best group of top four defensemen on any WSHL team. Wieringa played some forward last weekend. Matej Krejsa led all defensemen with five points last weekend. In goal this weekend, Artur Ogandzhanyan continues to put up impressive numbers this season with a 1.72 goals against average and .932 save percentage. Both Jake Hough and Alex Neverve have gotten plenty of time between the pipes lately, piling up wins.

Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes

  • Mustangs special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 57/196 – 26% (3rd)
    Penalty kill – 127/141 – 90% (2nd)
  • Outliers special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 38/159 – 24% (5th)
    Penalty kill – 143/162 – 88% (3rd)
  • Records watch:
    • Rampinelli has passed Montell Greene for the No. 4 spot for all-time points in Mustangs history. He’s five points away from Corey Iapalucci at No. 3. Only Schuyler Seyfert and Matus Spodniak are above that.
    • Mascali has passed Austin Dittenhafer for the No. 2 spot for all-time points by a defenseman. He’s just 12 points away from the all-time record set by David Clements.
  • Players in/out of the lineup:
    Zeke Zeier remains out of the lineup (injured)
    Kerry Kruzel returned to the lineup last weekend and will dress this weekend
    Harry Gulliver will remain out of the lineup as he competes for Great Britain in the U20 World Championships
    John Shively will also be out of the lineup (1 game suspension)

WSHL Info

  • Mountain Division Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 97 points
    Utah Outliers – 75 points
    Casper Bobcats – 27 points
    Steamboat Wranglers – 24 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 15 points
  • Overall WSHL Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 97 points
    Bellingham Blazers – 78 points
    Utah Outliers – 75 points
    El Paso Rhinos – 71 points
    Long Beach Bombers – 71 points

* 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
  • Friday
    Stampede at Bobcats
  • Saturday
    Outliers at Mustangs
    Stampede at Bobcats
  • Sunday
    Stampede at Bobcats

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Goaltending – Both of these teams have goaltenders who can steal games for their teams. Expect a battle between Ogandzhanyan and Wahlgren.
  2. Special Teams – Both of these teams have powerplay and penalty kill numbers in the top five of the WSHL. Keep an eye on who’s able to get on the powerplay more often. The team that can be more effective on the man advantage and the penalty kill could have an important advantage in these kinds of tight games.
  3. Urgency – It’s now a sprint toward the playoffs. Expect to see some added urgency and attention here as we’re in crunch time.

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