It’s an early-season battle for first place in the Western States Hockey League this weekend as the No. 1 Ogden Mustangs and No. 2 Utah Outliers square off for a home-and-home series this weekend. It should be an exciting two-game set with plenty to keep an eye on as Friday night’s puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. in Ogden and Saturday’s is 6:30 p.m. in West Valley.

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 record of 7-0-0, having defeated the Outliers 2-0 on the road to start the season, sweeping the Casper Bobcats two weekends ago and sweeping the Northern Colorado Eagles 5-3, 7-3 and 4-2 last weekend. The Mustangs continue to improve and move forward, but head coach Jake Laime said he still wants to see a more complete 60-minute effort from his team. The Mustangs started the season with six returning players from last season. Those six players lead the team in scoring through seven games. They were bolstered by the return of two more returners this weekend, as Bryson Bartell and Matts Thielemann returned to Ogden after stints with NAHL teams to start the season. The Mustangs will have two more former NA guys make their season debuts this weekend in Lukas Kucera and John Shively.

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 6-1-0. After being shut out at home by the Mustangs to start the season, they’ve won six straight games, all against the expansion Steamboat Wranglers. Two weekends ago the two teams met in Colorado. The Outliers spoiled the Wranglers’ WSHL debut with 10-3, 5-4 and 12-2 victories. Last weekend in West Valley, the Outliers won 8-1, 6-2 and 4-1 over the Wranglers. After the offensive explosion in their past six games, the Outliers lead the WSHL with 45 total goals scored this season. That scoring has been very spread out, as each forward and defenseman on the roster has three or more points. 10 players are averaging a point per game or more. The Outliers have good team size, 14 of their 20 forwards and defensemen are 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 61st 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 40-16-4. The Mustangs have won the past five matchups, dating back to last January. Three of those have been overtime victories, including both Ws in last season’s division finals.

Players to Watch

  • For the Outliers, they’re led by Jan Dvorak, who has 14 points this season. Former Phoenix Knights sniper Anthony Masannoti, who had a remarkable 40 goals last season for the Knights, is up to nine points this season. Jake PapeshKaeden MeuerZak AlbersAlexander CharinBenji Mickel and Zach Dornseifer are also all averaging a point per game or more. So are Matt Bartel and Nicholas Ness, they have 8 and 7 points respectively, having only played three games each, joining the team last weekend. Both have MJHL experience. Ness played multiple seasons in the NAHL and put up 23 points in the NCDC last season. Papesh in the team’s top-scoring defenseman. Dylan Dix and Christian Bundschuh are two other D-men to keep an eye on. 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, all eight returners continue to play major roles so far this season and have stepped up their game exponentially from last season. Rhett Rampinelli leads the team with 15 points and is second overall in WSHL scoring. Kerry KruzelIan Currie, Harry Gulliver and Ryan Mascali each have 12 points. All 12 of Mascali’s have been assists. He leads the WSHL in that category. Ammon Anderson has 10 points. He had the game-winner against the Outliers in their last game. Bryson Bartell and Matts Thielemann both had three points in their debuts last weekend. We’ll see where Coach Laime inserts this weekend’s newcomers, Lukas Kucera and John ShivelyOliver Wieringa has five points this season, second in Mustangs scoring among defensemen. We saw his 6-foot-5-inch, 230-pound frame in action last weekend with some huge higs. In goal, Artur Ogandzhanyan’s had the shutout against these Outliers to start the season and has been solid ever since. He’s sitting at a 1.83 goals against average and .939 save percentage. His 179 shots faced this season are the second most in the WSHL.

Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes

  • Mustangs special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 11/40 – 27% (5th)
    Penalty kill – 25/29 – 86% (11th)
  • Outliers special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 13/37 – 35% (2nd)
    Penalty kill – 30/32 – 94% (5th)
  • Records watch:
    • Rampinelli is 4 points away from passing Dusty Watt for the No. 10 spot for all-time points in Mustangs history.
    • Gulliver is one game away from passing Montell Greene for the No. 8 spot for most games played in franchise history. Mascali currently sits in the No. 6 spot.
    • Mascali is currently tied with George Babos in the No. 5 spot for all-time points by a defenseman in Mustangs history. He is 13 points away from passing Thomas Hargrave and Nick Frankich for the No. 3 spot and 14 points away from passing Austin Dittenhafer for the No. 2 spot. He needs 52 total points this season to pass David Clements for the No. 1 all-time spot.
  • Players in/out of the lineup:
    Kucera and Shively will join the lineup this weekend
    Anders Johnson remains out of the lineup, rehabbing an injury

WSHL Info

  • Mountain Division Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 21 points
    Utah Outliers – 18 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 1 point
    Casper Bobcats – 0 points
    Steamboat Wranglers – 0 points
  • Overall WSHL Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 21 points
    Utah Outliers – 18 points
    Bellingham Blazers – 12 points
    Seattle Totems – 9 points
    Oklahoma City Blazers – 9 points
    El Paso Rhinos – 9 points
    * Five teams tied with 6 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
    Outliers at Mustangs
    Wichita Jr. Thunder at Wranglers
    Stampede at Bobcats
  • Saturday
    Mustangs at Outliers
    Wichita Jr. Thunder at Wranglers
    Stampede at Bobcats
  • Sunday
    Wichita Jr. Thunder at Wranglers
    Stampede at Bobcats

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Depth – The Outliers have spread out their scoring quite a bit this season. Can they get the same depth contributions against a tougher opponent in the Mustangs as they did against the Wranglers? The Mustangs were already looking mighty deep last weekend, with the addition of these two NA guys, is this possibly the deepest team we’ve seen in eight seasons in Ogden?
  2. Goaltending – Ogandzhanyan and Wahlgren both have put up impressive numbers this season. The first game against these two teams was a goaltending battle. Don’t be surprised if this one is as well.
  3. 60 Minutes – Coach Laime likes how his team is progressing but wants to see a full, 60-minute effort. Will we see one this weekend?

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