Hockey. Is. Back. A new season of Ogden Mustangs hockey is upon us as another quest for the Thorne Cup has begun. The Mustangs will take on the Utah Outliers for games Friday and Saturday in Ogden for home opening weekend. It’s a new chapter of this seven-season, battle-of-Utah rivalry.

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 2-1-0. They sit in first place in the Western States Hockey League Mountain Division and fourth place overall in the WSHL. They’re coming off of a series victory on the road over the Colorado Jr. Eagles last weekend. The Mustangs outscored the Eagles 17-11 in the three games. The Mustangs didn’t play their most polished hockey in the season-opening weekend, but they did show a lot of promise for moving forward.

Outliers this Season

  • The Outliers enter this weekend with a record of 0-0-0. This weekend will be the first games of the regular season for them. Last weekend, the Outliers had an exhibition matchup against the University of Utah. They defeated the ACHA DI Utes 7-0. The Outliers look to keep moving forward this season after a breakthrough second half to last season. They finished 23-18-4 overall. They were a nightmare matchup for a lot of teams, and in the playoffs they just barely got bounced on the road by the Eagles.

All-time Series

  • Now in the seventh season of matchups, Friday will be the 47th 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 31-11-4. The Mustangs were 4-2 last season, outscoring the Outliers 26-13 in those games.

Players to Watch

  • For the Outliers, they’re led by a couple returners in Bogdan Khvatov and Jacob Wanstrom. Those are two of six total returners from last season. Khvatov was third in team scoring with 58 points. Wanstrom was seventh with 41. Head coach Paul Taylor had an effective offseason recruiting and has some impressive newcomers. Leading the charge could be defenseman Zack Hoffman. The former OHL draft pick is coming off of two solid seasons in the GOJHL. He still has two seasons of junior eligibility remaining. Up front there’s Brandon Krumpschmid. The Austria native played 34 games in the NAHL over the past two seasons. In goal, Swedish netminder Otto Saxin appears to be the No. 1 guy.
  • For the Mustangs, they also have six returners, which includes their leading scorer, Matus Spodniak, who had 106 points last season. He picked up where he left off with two goals and four assists in last weekend’s games, already averaging two points per game. The overall point leader last weekend was Ross Bartlett, who the Mustangs acquired from the Oklahoma City Blazers in the offseason. He had three goals and five assists. The line of Bartlett, Ian Currie and Rhett Rampinelli looked very good. Spodniak has Jacob Laurin and Matt McClelland skating alongside him. All three of those guys are high-power players to watch. On defense, Austin Dittenhafer is the top gun, back from last year. Ryan Mascali is also taking an elevated role this season. Tim Jonsson provides a big physical presence on the back end. In goal, Jon Chin got all three starts last weekend. He was exceptional in the first two games. Oliver Marslatt was just added this week. Marslatt and Chin should be a dangerous one-two punch.

 Injury Report/Other Player Notes/Team Stats/Statistics

  • Mustangs special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 4/13 – 31%
    Penalty kill – 10/12 – 83%
  • Outlier special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 0/0
    Penalty kill – 0/0
  • Records watch:
    Matus Spodniak is only 26 points away from passing Schuyler Seyfert for the most career points by any player in Mustangs history.
  • Ill or injured players:
    Sage Fleming sat out two games with an illness last weekend. He’s expected to be back in the lineup this weekend.
    Axel Low was out all of last weekend with an illness. He’s expected to be back in the lineup as well.

WSHL Mountain Division Info

  • Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 4 points
    Superior RoughRiders – 4 points
    Colorado Jr. Eagles – 3 points
    Casper Coyotes – 0 points
    Utah Outliers – 0 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 0 points
  • This weekend’s matchups
  • Friday
    Outliers at Mustangs
    RoughRiders at Coyotes
    Eagles at Stampede
  • Saturday
    Outliers at Mustangs
    RoughRiders at Coyotes
    Stampede at EaglesSunday
  • RoughRiders at Coyotes

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Home Ice – The Ice Sheet is expected to be rocking. It will be the first time for a lot of players on both sides of the ice playing in front of a crowd this big and this loud. Can the Mustangs leverage the home-ice advantage? Can the crowd be an important seventh man?
  2. Tone Setting – The beginning of this game is going to be important. A big goal or hit from either team could make a huge difference early. Can the Mustangs ride the momentum? Can the Outliers stop it?
  3. Top Guns – We saw a number of guys step up last weekend for the Mustangs, but we still have a relatively small sample size. Who will start or continue to impress this weekend? For the Outliers, who will be Coach Taylor’s go-to guys? Who will elevate their game and stand out from the rest?