With less than 10 games remaining in the regular season, we have officially entered crunch time. The Ogden Mustangs host the Superior RoughRiders for three games and six potential points that could mean a lot to both teams moving forward — the Mustangs in a battle for the No. 1 spot in the division and the RoughRiders trying to pick up some momentum to head into the playoffs with.

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 31-10-1. They’re alone in second place in the Western States Hockey League Mountain Division and fifth place overall in the WSHL. The Mustangs are coming off a series victory on the road in Casper last weekend. After dropping Game 1, 5-3, the Mustangs won Game 2, 4-1, and won Game 3, 11-2. That stumble in the first game was infuriating, missing out on two crucial points, but the team got better as the weekend went along and will look to build on that this weekend. The Mustangs remain first overall in the league in goals scored this season, now with 300 exactly. That’s an average of 7.1 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.

RoughRiders this Season

  • The RoughRiders enter this weekend with an exactly .500 record of 20-20-0. They sit in fifth place in the Mountain Division and 17th overall in the WSHL. They split two games with the Colorado Eagles on the road last weekend, falling 5-0 in the first game but bouncing back for a 4-3 overtime victory in the second game. This is a very young roster and a totally different roster than we’ve seen compared to years past in Superior. The team has nine international players on this year’s team, three of them are their top three scorers. Last year, they had only two international players. But while the coaching staff has broadened its recruiting footprint, they have less experience this year than in years past with only three players born in 1997, 15 born in 1998, two born in 1999 and six born in 2000. A total of 17 players on their roster had no previous North American junior hockey experience prior to this season. The RoughRiders certainly have some talent on this team, but it’s still pretty raw. It’s shown flashes of brilliance this season, however having already beat the Mustangs once and the Eagles twice. When they’re firing on all cylinders, they can be dangerous.

RoughRiders Historically

  • This is the fourth season of RoughRiders hockey in the WSHL. Before that, the franchise was named the Boulder Bison for five seasons. Before that, they were the Colorado Outlaws for two seasons. The Bison had second-place division finishes for four consecutive seasons, from 2010-13. They went to the Thorne Cup Finals in 2010. As of late, the RoughRiders have slid a little, finishing third in 2015, fourth in 2016 and sixth in 2017. The RoughRiders are coached by Paul DePuydt who is in his sixth season with the team.

All-time Series

  • Friday will be the 26th all-time meeting between the Mustangs and the RoughRiders/Bison. Dating back to 2011-12, the Mustangs are 18-7 against the franchise. The two teams met three times already this season in Superior, with the RoughRiders winning a wild first game 7-6 and the Mustangs taking the next two 8-1 and 5-2.

Players to Watch

  • For the RoughRiders, they’re led by one of the most prolific goalscorers in the league Nikita Sheberov. The speedy Russian sniper has 48 goals this season. That’s third most in the WSHL. He’s scored in bunches, racking up eight hat tricks this season. Team captain and German national Thore Weyrauch is second in team scoring. Sheberov and Weyrauch do the vast majority of heavy lifting for this team. Sheberov has 82 points. Wayrauch has 65 points. The next highest point getter has 33 points. Big jump there. That No. 3 scorer is Erik Buschmann, also from Germany. He and Weyrauch have played with each other on the same squad for the past six seasons. The RoughRiders added Kyle Cagnoni back to the fold last weekend. The Colorado native started this season with the Springfield Express, putting up 41 points in 41 games. He made an immediate impression last weekend, scoring the overtime winner against the Eagles. On defense, the RoughRiders have a core of behemoths. Seven defensemen on their roster are listed at 6-foot-2 or taller, led by Lithuanian Daniel Benilov at 6-6/240. In goal, Marshall Murphy and LJ Newell shared the load most of the season. Bronson Sudberry, who played all of last season with the team, just returned to to Superior after starting this season in the EHL. Sudberry got the win in last weekend’s victory over the Eagles.
  • For the Mustangs, Matus Spodniak continues to put up an incredible amount of points. He leads the WSHL with 117 points and has a chance to set a single-season WSHL points record. He’s also only eight goals away from setting the all-time WSHL goals record. Jacob Laurin is now at 102 points this season, fourth overall in the WSHL. Ross Bartlett is up to 91. He’s the highest-scoring player in the WSHL not on his team’s top line. Harry Gulliver had a nice weekend in Casper with two goals and four assists, skating alongside Spodniak and Laurin. On defense, Austin Dittenhafer leads the group with 45 points in 34 games. Recent-addition Matts Thielemann is finding his groove and has 19 points in 16 games. In goal, the Mustangs’ new addition Tymen Edelkoort III has solidified the No. 1 spot and has put up some impressive performances.

 Special Teams

  • Mustangs:
    Powerplay – 26% (7th)
    Penalty kill – 88% (4th)
  • RoughRiders:
    Powerplay – 20% (15th)
    Penalty kill – 81% (10th)

WSHL Info

  • WSHL Standings
    El Paso Rhinos – 75 points
    Idaho IceCats – 69 points
    Oklahoma City Blazers – 66 points
    Utah Outliers – 65 points
    Ogden Mustangs – 63 points
    Colorado Eagles – 61 points
    Long Beach Bombers – 60 points
  • Mountain Division Standings
    Utah Outliers – 65 points
    Ogden Mustangs – 63 points
    Colorado Eagles – 61 points
    Superior RoughRiders – 40 points
    Casper Coyotes – 26 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 4 points
  • This weekend’s Mountain Division matchups
  • Friday
    IceCats at Outliers
    RoughRiders at Mustangs
    Eagles at Rhinos
    Coyotes at Stampede
    Saturday
  • IceCats at Outliers
    RoughRiders at Mustangs
    Eagles at Rhinos
    Coyotes at Stampede
    Sunday
  • IceCats at Outliers
    RoughRiders at Mustangs
    Eagles at Rhinos
    Coyotes at Stampede

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Snipers – Spodniak and Sheberov are two of the top three scorers in the WSHL. Who’ll have the bigger weekend? Can Spodniak somehow get eight goals in the series? It’s certainly far from being out of the realm of possibility.
  2. Complete Effort / No Bad Losses – With points at such an incredibly high premium, the Mustangs can not afford to be taking games, periods or shifts off. With the Outliers and Eagles playing the way that they’re playing, one or two more losses could be it for the Mustangs’ chance at the No. 1 spot. Why is that spot so important? Finishing first essentially guarantees that team’s spot in the Thorne Cup Finals, since it looks like the Mountain Division will get a wildcard team into the event along with the division champ. The No. 1 team will have a much clearer path to the division finals while the No. 2 and No. 3 teams will need to battle for that last spot. With both the Outliers and Eagles facing the top two teams in the WSHL this season this weekend, a dominant outing against the RoughRiders could really help the Mustangs out. They can’t afford to slip up.
  3. Goaltenders – There’s been some buzz surrounding Edelkoort for Ogden. He brings some impressive experience to the team and has had some impressive play while he still gets his feet under him with his new team. The RoughRiders have historically always had pride in their goaltending. Goaltenders have stollen a number of games for Superior over the years in Ogden. They’ve done it this season against a few other teams.

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