Hockey is back in Ogden this weekend as the Ogden Mustangs host the Cheyenne Stampede for a three-game set. Both teams are coming off of series victories last weekend and will look to keep the momentum rolling.

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 series with a record of 5-3-0. They sit in second 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 Superior RoughRiders last weekend. The Mustangs dropped a wild, high scoring, back-and-forth first game, then bounced back big time for Game 2, winning 8-1. After falling behind 2-0 in Game 3, the Mustangs scored five straight to win it 5-2. The Mustangs have allowed 29 goals in their eight games this season and are looking to clean things up in their defensive zone this weekend.

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.

Stampede this Season

  • The Stampede enter this weekend with a record of 2-5-0. They sit in fourth place in the Mountain Division and 15th overall in the WSHL. After a horrendous start to the season — losing 9-0, 8-0, 10-0 and 6-0 in their first four games — the Stampede picked up a series victory on the road last weekend over the Wichita Jr. Thunder. The Stampede won 7-3 in Game 1, quite the offensive performance to end that scoring drought. The Thunder came back in Game 2 with a third-period surge to win 5-3. The Stampede dominated in Game 3, winning 8-1. Interestingly, out of the 27 total goals scored between the Stampede and Thunder in the series, more than half were special teams goals, with 14 being scored on powerplays.

Stampede Historically

  • The Mustangs and Stampede both entered the WSHL in the 2011-12 season. For the Stampede, they saw considerable success in their first three seasons, but struggled in the next three. They had 22 wins in year one, 26 in year two and a franchise-high 28 in year three. In year four, after some division realignment, their win total dropped down to 17. In year five it was back up to 22, but they remained under .500 for the season. Last season they were back to 17 wins. After a promising start to last season, they stumbled down the stretch, dropping 21 of their final 22 games. The Stampede have consistently recruited well and brought in top-level talent from day one. They’ve struggled to find the right coach, however, with changes in their head coaching position nearly every season. They’re already on coach No. 2 this season, with Joe Liquori being the current bench boss.

All-time Series

  • Friday will be the 27th all-time meeting between the Mustangs and the Stampede. Dating back to 2011-12, the Mustangs lead the all-time series 19-7. The Stampede won the first seven of eight matchups in 2011 and 2012, but since then the Mustangs have won 18 in a row from 2013-2017.

Players to Watch

  • For the Stampede, they’re led by the reigning WSHL 365 Player of the Week, Evgenii Bastrakov who racked up five goals and an assist last weekend, including a hat trick in Game 3. Born in 2001, he’s a Russian youngster with some offensive ability. Two returners are next in scoring with speedy forward Jacob McVay and workhorse defenseman and captain Brody Knelson with four points each. Newcomer Damon Theara out of Abbotsford, British Columbia also has four points. The Stampede have made a few roster changes this week and could have a few new weapons in the lineup in Ogden. In goal, Devin Bain picked up both wins last weekend between the pipes. The Stampede also have Utah-local Robbie Brennan who’s seen some time in goal this season.
  • For the Mustangs, third-year sniper Matus Spodniak is back in the team scoring lead after registering multiple points in each game last weekend. He has 19 points in eight games this season. His line with Jacob Laurin (11 points) and Matt McClelland (9 points) has been very strong. The Mustangs’ other top line has been centered by Ross Bartlett, who is right behind Spodniak in scoring with 17 points. He’s been most consistently with Ian Currie and Rhett Rampinelli on the wings. The trio seems to have a sixth sense for where each other are on the ice. On defense, Austin Dittenhafer is the top gun, back from last year, but has been in and out of the lineup over the past two weekends battling injury. Ryan Mascali has taken an elevated role this season. Tim Jonsson provides a big physical presence on the back end. Daniel Nordstrom’s speed and puck movement has been an asset. In goal, Jon Chin got all three starts last weekend. Oliver Marslatt was hampered with an injury last weekend after getting both starts two weekend ago against the Utah Outliers.

 Other News, Notes and Statistics

  • Mustangs special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 8/32 – 25% (8th in the WSHL)
    Penalty kill – 29/33 – 88% (6th in the WSHL)
  • Stampede special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 6/36 – 17% (12th in the WSHL)
    Penalty kill – 24/32 – 75% (16th in the WSHL)
  • Records watch:
    Matus Spodniak is only 28 points away from passing Schuyler Seyfert for the most career points by any player in Mustangs history.
  • Ill or injured players:
    Austin Dittenhafer and Oliver Marslatt are both questionable for this weekend.

WSHL Mountain Division Info

  • Standings
    Colorado Jr. Eagles – 12 points
    Ogden Mustangs – 10 points
    Superior RoughRiders – 10 points
    Utah Outliers – 4 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 4 points
    Casper Coyotes – 0 points
  • This weekend’s matchups
  • Friday
    Stampede at Mustangs
    Eagles at Springfield Express
    Dallas Snipers at RoughRiders
    Southern Oregon Spartans at Outliers
    Wichita Jr. Thunder at Coyotes
  • Saturday
    Stampede at Mustangs
    Eagles at Springfield Express
    Dallas Snipers at RoughRiders
    Southern Oregon Spartans at Outliers
    Wichita Jr. Thunder at Coyotes
  • Sunday
    Stampede at Mustangs
    Eagles at Springfield Express
    Dallas Snipers at RoughRiders
    Southern Oregon Spartans at Outliers
    Wichita Jr. Thunder at Coyotes

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Mustang Defensive Zone Play – The Mustangs have had uncharacteristic troubles in their own end this season. Can the team defense as a whole come together this weekend, including compete level along the boards, smart outlet passes, forwards filling lanes, week-side coverage in front of the net and more?
  2. Stampede Attack – Getting shut out in your first four games is rough. Looking at the transitive properties from the opponents the Stampede faced in those games (RoughRiders and Eagles), and how the Mustangs matched up against those same opponents, will the scores look similar this weekend? Or will the Stampede’s offense take confidence from last weekend’s successes? Will the new additions prove to be difference makers?
  3. Ogden Depth Guys – If the Mustangs are able to get out to same larger leads, which Ogden depth players will stand out in the possible extra ice time they’re given? Up front, the Mustangs have a bevy of talent battling for positions on those third and fourth lines especially. Could one of those guys have a breakthrough weekend?