After two weeks without games over the holidays, the Ogden Mustangs are ready to get right back into action this weekend and start up the second half of the season as the Steamboat Wranglers come into town for three games at The Ice Sheet.

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 Western States Hockey League-best record of 26-1-1 record. They last played Dec. 18-20 in Las Vegas at the Western States Shootout. The Mustangs came into the event as the premiere team in the WSHL and left with little doubt that they’re the team to beat for the Thorne Cup this season. The Mustangs were one of five teams to sweep all three of their matchups at the event, defeating the Fresno Monsters 3-0, the El Paso Rhinos 5-3 and the Edson Aeros 8-2. The Mustangs are highest-scoring team in the WSHL, scoring 172 total goals, averaging 6.1 per game. They’ve allowed the fewest goals in the WSHL, only 47 total goals, 1.7 per game. That +125 goal differential is the best in the WSHL by 44 goals.

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.

Wranglers this Season

  • The Wranglers enter this weekend with a record of 6-23-1-1. They lost six games in a row to start the season, all against the Utah Outliers, the first three in Steamboat Springs, the next three in West Valley. Since then, they’ve been able to rack up a few wins over the Wichita Jr. Thunder and Cheyenne Stampede. In their most recent action at the Western States Shootout, they got swept, falling 5-3 to the Southern Oregon Spartans, 7-5 to the Cold Lake Wings and 4-3 to the Hinton Wildcats. The Wranglers have allowed the third most goals in the WSHL this season, 170 total, 5.5 per game. They can put the puck in the net, however, scoring 101 goals this season, 3.3 per game, putting them right in the middle of the pack among WSHL teams.

Wranglers Historically

  • This is the first season in the WSHL for the Wranglers, and their third season of existence overall. This season they have a new coach and new ownership than previous seasons. The Wranglers made it to the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League championship game in each of the past two seasons, winning the championship last season. They went a combined 58-17 over the past two seasons. The Wranglers are coached by Ryan Dingle, who has quite the story. He played part of his youth hockey in Steamboat Springs as kid, then went on to have a career that featured three seasons in the USHL, four at NCAA DI Denver, AHL and ECHL stops, three seasons in Italy and his final three seasons in Great Britain. He was teammates with former Mustang David Clements in Coventry just last season, before retiring. Needless to say, this is his first season coaching.

All-time Series

  • Friday will be just the 4th all-time meeting between the Mustangs and the Wranglers. The two teams faced each other earlier this season, Nov. 2-4 in Ogden. The Mustangs won those games 5-1, 5-2 and 7-2.

Players to Watch

  • For the Wranglers, they’re led by Avery Albert, who is a WSHL journeyman. He’s played 152 total WSHL games, with stops playing for the Colorado RoughRiders, Colorado Evolution and Superior RoughRiders. Albert leads the team in assists (15), points (25), powerplay points (5) and penalty minutes (92). Jack Rousseau leads the team in goals with 12. Dalton Eagle Bear is right behind him with 11, with four of those being a game-winning goals, to lead the team in that category. The Wranglers have a very young team, with seven of their players born after 2000. Sebastian Cullver leads the youth movement, but watch for others of those young guns to get going as the season progresses and they get more comfortable. In goal, the Wranglers have four goaltenders on the roster who’ve remarkable all been seeing similar playing time. Jordan Belley has gotten the majority of work, though. He was remarkable in his performances in Ogden earlier this season with 64- and 55-save performances. Although his goals against average is 4.24, he still has a save percentage above .900.
  • For the Mustangs, Rhett Rampinelli continues to lead the charge, now with 62 points this season. He’s led the league in scoring for the much of the season, and now sits fourth in league scoring, just eight points out of first. Rampinelli was named the first star of the Western States Shootout, with a remarkable five goals and three assists in the three games in Vegas. He has points in all but three games this season and is just three goals away from matching his goal-scoring mark from last season. Ammon Anderson is second in team scoring with 48 points, continuing his impressive season as a 17 year old. He had five points in Vegas, including two huge goals in the win over El Paso. He has points in all but four games this season. He leads the team with six game-winning goals. He’s passed both his goal and assist marks from last season in about half as many games played. Ian Currie led the Mustangs over the Wranglers earlier this season, racking up seven points in that three-game series. Zeke Zeier will make his season debut this weekend, coming back to Ogden after playing in the NAHL for a season and a half. He’ll wear No. 11. (UPDATE: Zeier will NOT be in the lineup this weekend, rehabbing an injury.) Ryan Mascali leads the Mustang defense corps, with a “C” on his jersey. The Mustang depth on defense continues to be an asset with Mascali, Matts ThielemannJohn Shively and Oliver Wieringa as possibly the best group of top four defensemen on any WSHL team. In goal this weekend, Artur Ogandzhanyan is back in Ogden after missing the team’s last home series while playing in the world championships with Ukraine U20 team. He was huge in Vegas, playing all three games. His numbers continue to be solid this season with a 1.88 goals against average and .929 save percentage.

Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes

  • Mustangs special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 34/145 – 24% (6th)
    Penalty kill – 102/116 – 88% (4th)
  • Wranglers special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 15/134 – 11% (23rd)
    Penalty kill – 110/147 – 75% (19th)
  • Records watch:
    • Rampinelli has passed Montell Greene for the No. 4 spot for all-time points in Mustangs history. He’s 27 points away from Corey Iapalucci at No. 3. Only Schuyler Seyfert and Matus Spodniak are above that.
    • Mascali has passed Austin Dittenhafer for the No. 2 spot for all-time points by a defenseman. He’s just 19 points away from the all-time record set by David Clements.
    • Anderson has passed Martin Hallin for the No. 5 spot for all-time game-winning goals in Mustangs history.
  • Players in/out of the lineup:
    Zeke Zeier is not yet ready to return to the lineup this weekend
    Kerry Kruzel will be out of the lineup this weekend
    Owen Zdunski has committed and enrolled at SUNY Cortland for the remainder of the season

WSHL Info

  • Mountain Division Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 79 points
    Utah Outliers – 57 points
    Casper Bobcats – 27 points
    Steamboat Wranglers – 21 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 12 points
  • Overall WSHL Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 79 points
    Bellingham Blazers – 66 points
    El Paso Rhinos – 66 points
    Oklahoma City Blazers – 62 points
    Long Beach Bombers – 61 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
    Wranglers at Mustangs
    Bobcats at Outliers
    Stampede at Dallas Snipers
  • Saturday
    Wranglers at Mustangs
    Bobcats at Outliers
    Stampede at Dallas Snipers
  • Sunday
    Wranglers at Mustangs
    Bobcats at Outliers
    Stampede at Dallas Snipers

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. Depth – The Mustangs keep getting deeper. With new players continuing to get added, how will lines be adjusted? Who’ll fight for those third and fourth line positions up front? As far as depth goes on the other side of the ice … When the Wranglers were in Ogden earlier this season, by Sunday’s game they were down to 15 skaters, including goalies. You just can’t win at this level with so few guys. They have 23 listed on their roster now. Can that depth keep things a little closer this weekend than last time?
  2. Zeier Addition – The Mustangs are getting a huge addition back in Zeier. Two seasons ago, he turned into a key player down the stretch and into the playoffs. Coming back from the NAHL, how will Zeke look this weekend? (UPDATE: Zeier is rehabbing an injury and will NOT be in the lineup this weekend)
  3. Rampinelli Scoring Race – Rampinelli enters the weekend just eight points out of the No. 1 spot in WSHL scoring. Can he put up another eight points in three games this weekend like he did in Vegas and continue to make a push for the scoring crown?

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