It’s the first ever meetings between the Ogden Mustangs and Steamboat Wranglers this weekend at The Ice Sheet. It should be some good hockey in front of what could be big crowds for the Mustangs’ First Responder and Military Appreciation Weekend.

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 12-0-0. They are coming off a three-game sweep on the road against the Casper Bobcats last weekend. They won 7-0, 8-1 and 6-2. The Mustangs are the highest-scoring team in the Western States Hockey League, scoring 68 total goals, averaging 5.7 goals per game. They’ve allowed only 18 total goals, 1.5 per game. That +50 goal differential is the best in the WSHL. The Mustangs are six wins away from matching their best start in franchise history, set two seasons ago.

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 2-9-1-0. 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. They then hosted the Wichita Jr. Thunder and picked up the sweep for their first wins of the season, one of them an overtime victory. Last weekend they dropped three in a row on the road against the Dallas Snipers, including a heartbreaking series finale that they were winning 5-4 heading into the third period and somehow lost 11-5.

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

  • There have been no games previously played between these two franchises.

Players to Watch

  • For the Wranglers, they’re led by Avery Albert, who is a WSHL journeyman. He’s played 136 total WSHL games, with stops playing for the Colorado RoughRiders, Colorado Evolution and Superior RoughRiders. Albert leads the team in assists (9), points (14) and penalty minutes (41). Tristan Wells and Dalton Eagle Bear lead the team in goals with six a piece. The Wranglers have a very young team, with 10 of their players born after 2000. Wells 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 all seen playing time. Jordan Belley has gotten the majority of work. In his nine games this season, he’s faced 355 shots. That is the most of any goaltender in the WSHL this season.
  • For the Mustangs, all eight returners from last season continue to play major roles this season. Rhett Rampinelli leads the team and the WSHL with 28 points. Ammon Anderson is coming off a solid outing last weekend. He had four goals and five assists in those three games. He wasted little time, scoring the Mustangs’ first goal of the series, 16 seconds into the first game. Lukas Vacin and Lukas Kucera have become a potent duo of wingers, combining for 10 points last weekend. Ryan Mascali leads the Mustang defense corps, and all WSHL defensemen, with 16 points this season. The Mustang defense has gotten very deep with Mascali, Matts ThielemannJohn Shively and Oliver Wieringa as possibly the best group of top four defensemen on any WSHL team. In goal, Artur Ogandzhanyan has continued his stellar play. He’s sitting at a 1.56 goals against average and .943 save percentage. The Mustangs have also added Owen Zdunski in goal from the NAHL. Zdunski started last Friday and Sunday’s game, surrendering a total of two goal on 56 shots.

Team Stats/Statistics/Other Player Notes

  • Mustangs special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 18/71 – 25% (2nd)
    Penalty kill – 48/54 – 89% (6th)
  • Wranglers special teams statistics:
    Powerplay – 6/60 – 10% (23rd)
    Penalty kill – 48/71 – 68% (22nd)
  • Records watch:
    • Rampinelli is 2 points away from passing Alex Forbes for the No. 7 spot for all-time points in Mustangs history.
    • Gulliver is two games away from passing Austin Shea for the No. 7 spot for most games played in franchise history. Mascali currently sits in the No. 6 spot, four games away from passing Corey Iapalucci for No. 5.
    • Mascali is 9 points away from passing Thomas Hargrave and Nick Frankich for the No. 3 spot and 10 points away from passing Austin Dittenhafer for the No. 2 spot for most points by a defenseman in franchise history. He needs 52 total points this season to pass David Clements for the No. 1 all-time spot.
  • Players in/out of the lineup:
    Diego Contreras and Owen Zdunski will make their home debuts for the Mustangs this weekend, after playing in two games last weekend in Casper
    John Shively is expected to be back in the lineup after being sitting out last weekend with a sickness
    Anders Johnson remains out of the lineup, rehabbing an injury

WSHL Info

  • Mountain Division Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 36 points
    Utah Outliers – 21 points
    Casper Bobcats – 9 points
    Steamboat Wranglers – 8 points
    Cheyenne Stampede – 1 point
  • Overall WSHL Standings
    Ogden Mustangs – 36 points
    Oklahoma City Blazers – 24 points
    Bellingham Blazers – 21 points
    Utah Outliers – 21 points
    Seattle Totems – 20 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
    Stampede at Outliers
  • Saturday
    Wranglers at Mustangs
    Stampede at Outliers
  • Sunday
    Wranglers at Mustangs
    Stampede at Outliers

What Jon’s Watching For

  1. 60-minute effort – Coach Laime continues to want to see his team winning the right way, part of that is putting in a complete-game effort, not letting off the gas, sticking to their systems. Can the Mustangs do that this weekend?
  2. Special Teams – The second best powerplay of the Mustangs will be up against the second worst penalty kill of the Wranglers. Will we see that matchup often this weekend?
  3. The Streak – How long can the Mustangs stay undefeated? Can they pass their 18-0 franchise record? It’s one at a time until we get there.

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