The Ogden Mustangs finished up their regular season with three big wins at The Ice Sheet last weekend over the rival Colorado Eagles.
The two teams came into the series tied for second place in the Western States Hockey League’s Mountain Division. While all sorts of scenarios and tie-breaker possibilities were discussed previous to the matchups, none of the potential drama came to fruition, as the Mustangs put forth a dominant effort, winning 3-2, 6-1 and 3-0, never trailing the entire series.
“We had much more urgency in our game,” said Mustangs head coach Jake Laime. “I thought we controlled the neutral zone and dictated the tempo. Our forwards played 200 feet, allowing the defense to be more aggressive. Pretty complete effort, especially Sunday without our two leading scorers. It was good to see guys fill roles and be rewarded with some production in our depth.”
Mustangs and WSHL leading scorer Matus Spodniak was eyeing a big weekend, entering the three games just six points away from breaking the league’s single-season scoring record. However, he was ejected from Saturday’s game just 3:42 into the first period for a checking-from-behind penalty. He was also suspended for Sunday’s game.
It was still a momentous weekend for Spodniak, as his number was retired before Saturday night’s game, with a highlight video shown, interview video with Laime and Spodniak and a special surprise video message from Spodniak’s dad in Slovakia.
Spodniak’s absence on the ice, did open up some opportunities for others to step up, with some pretty balanced scoring all around. Here are all players with two or more points last weekend:
Rhett Rampinelli – 3 goals, 2 assists
Ammon Anderson – 3 goals
Ross Bartlett – 1 goal, 1 assist
Sage Fleming – 1 goal, 2 assists
Ian Currie – 2 goals
Kerry Kruzel – 1 goal, 1 assist
Matts Thielemann – 1 goal, 1 assist
In goal, Tymen Edelkoort III is finding his rhythm. He stopped 82 of the 86 shots he faced last weekend and picked up his first shutout as a Mustang in Sunday’s game.
The line of Fleming, Kruzel and Matt McClelland especially turned some heads this weekend. They were huge in Saturday’s win.
“Our line was really going,” Kruzel said. “Sage, Matt and I were just working hard, working corners, laying the body and winning one-on-one battles. That’s what allowed us to produce.”
The Mustangs have a bye this weekend, which is technically the final weekend of the regular season. They then have a bye the following weekend, which is the first weekend of the playoffs. They’ll host a best-of-three series in the second round of the playoffs, March 23-25. They will most likely face the Eagles once again in that series, unless a monumental upset takes place against the Cheyenne Stampede, who only won two out of 50 games this season.
Be sure to join the event page and help us spread the word:
The Mustangs have now won four games in a row, after dropping back-to-back, tight heartbreakers to the Idaho IceCats before that.
“The wins last weekend were needed after those Idaho games,” Kruzel said, “and I feel we came a lot closer as a team. Everybody was buzzing and had the will to win and go to work every shift. We’ll need that more in the playoffs.”