It’s time for some Thanksgiving Weekend hockey as the Ogden Mustangs and Utah Outliers — two of the hottest teams in the Western States Hockey League — meet up for a single game at The Ice Sheet in Ogden on Saturday. The Mustangs have won 15 out of their past 16 games. The Outliers have won 12 of their last 13. Their lone losses in those stretches came at the hands of each other.

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 Black Dog Hockey.

Mustangs this Season

  • The Mustangs enter the weekend with a record of 18-4-0. They’re alone in first place in the WSHL Mountain Division and second place overall in the WSHL. They’re coming off of a series sweep on the road over the Casper Coyotes last weekend. They won 9-5, 13-0 and 8-0. The Mustangs lead the league in goals scored this season with 178, nearly eight per game.

Mustangs Historically

  • This is the seventh season of Mustangs hockey. Head coach Jake Laime is in his sixth season. The Mustangs won division championships in 2014 and 2015. Total points earned and team winning percentage increased each of the first six seasons. For the past five seasons, the Mustangs have been considered in the top tier of teams in the WSHL, with deep runs in the postseason, but are still looking for their first league title. Last season ended in heartbreaking fashion, on home ice, one win away from the Thorne Cup Finals championship game.

Outliers this Season

  • The Outliers enter this weekend with a record of 15-4-0. They’re in third place in the Mountain Division and seventh overall in the WSHL. They’re just a single point behind the Colorado Eagles for second place in the division. The Outliers are coming off of a bye week. Before that, they swept the Southern Oregon Spartans on the road with 4-0, 4-0 and 9-2 victories. The 15-4 record is the best start in Outlier franchise history.

Outliers Historically

  • This is the second season of Utah Outliers hockey, but after rebranding, it’s the seventh of the Park City Moose/Salt Lake City Moose/Utah Outliers franchise. The team had its best season in 2014-15 when the Moose finished with 54 points. Last season they were close to that with 50 points. Last season the franchise won its first ever playoff series, a sweep of the Superior RoughRiders. In the second round they just fell short against the eventual division champion Colorado Jr. Eagles. The Outliers are coached by Paul Taylor, who’s in his third season with the team.

All-time Series

  • Now in the seventh season of matchups, Friday will be the 52nd 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 34-13-4. The teams have met four times already this season, three times in Ogden, and once in Salt Lake. The Mustangs won the first game 6-5, the Outliers won the second 3-2 and the Mustangs won the third 4-0. The fourth game was in Salt Lake, with the Outliers winning 3-1.

Players to Watch

  • For the Outliers, they’re led by the top scoring defenseman in the WSHL, former OHL draft pick Zack Hoffman. He has 31 points in 17 games and is a dynamic, big-bodied, two-way defender. The next leading scorer for the Outliers is Gianni Vitali with 24 points. Team captain and second-year player Jacob Wanstrom is third in scoring with three goals and 19 assists. Brandon Krumpschmid leads all Utah players in goals scored against the Mustangs this season with four. In goal, the Outliers have two of the top goaltenders statistically in the WSHL. Dawson Rodin is 7-3 with a 1.51 goals against average and .950 save percentage. He’s gotten all four starts against the Mustangs this season. Otto Saxin is 6-0 with a 0.54 goals against average and .967 save percentage.
  • For the Mustangs, as the top-scoring team in the WSHL, they have three of the top six scorers in the WSHL. Matus Spodniak is scoring at an incredible pace. He has 77 points in 22 games, averaging a league-best 3.5 points per game. He had a ridiculous 15 points last weekend in Casper. Jacob Laurin has 57 points. Ross Bartlett has 52. Those are the top three. Even with that inflation of points from the top three, contributions continue to come throughout the lineup. In total, nine Mustangs are averaging a point per game or more this season. On defense, Austin Dittenhafer leads the group with 21 points in 15 games. He’s on a six-game point streak, racking up 11 points in that span. In goal, Daniel Pavlicko and Oliver Marslatt have been sharing time. Both picked up shutouts last weekend. Pavlicko has put up some remarkable numbers since joining the team from the NAHL. He has a 1.20 goals against average and .952 save percentage.

 Special Teams

  • Mustangs:
    Powerplay – 14/56 – 24% (7th)
    Penalty kill – 51/56 – 93% (4th)
  • Outliers:
    Powerplay – 16/57 – 20% (11th) (Down from 28%/4th last time these teams met)
    Penalty kill – 34/39 – 92% (6th)

WSHL Info

  • WSHL Standings
    El Paso Rhinos – 38 points
    Ogden Mustangs – 36 points
    Long Beach Bombers – 35 points
    Oklahoma City Blazers – 32 points
    Valencia Flyers – 32 points
    Colorado Eagles – 31 points
  • Mountain Division Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 36 points
    Colorado Eagles – 31 points
    Utah Outliers – 30 points
    Superior RoughRiders – 24 points
    Casper Coyotes – 6 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 4 points
  • This weekend’s Mountain Division matchups
  • Friday
    Stampede at Coyotes
  • Saturday
    Outliers at Mustangs
    Eagles at RoughRiders
    Stampede at Coyotes
  • Sunday
    Stampede at Coyotes

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Controlling the Neutral Zone – In the Mustangs’ last win over the Outliers in Ogden, they effectively bottled up the Outliers who could not get a clean entry through the neutral zone the entire game. If the Mustangs can effectively run their systems, the Outliers may not have many offensive opportunities to capitalize on, just like last time.
  2. Top Offense vs. a Top Defense – The Mustangs are averaging nearly eight goals scored per game. The Outliers are allowing just 1.6 goals per game. In the Mustangs’ two wins against the Outliers, they’ve scored five and four goals. In their two losses they’ve scored only two and one. The Outliers are the only team to hold the Mustangs under three goals in any games this season.
  3. Matus is Loose – Every time this guy is on the ice, you’re going to want to keep your eye on him. The Mustangs all-time leading scorer and the WSHL’s leading scorer this season just keeps getting better every week, every game and every practice. There’s still more to come from Spodniak.

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