The Ogden Mustangs faced their toughest task yet this season last weekend in Oklahoma City against the Blazers. It was what some deemed as a Thorne Cup Finals preview, and the results couldn’t have been much closer.
The Blazers won 3-2 on Friday, the Mustangs won 5-4 on Saturday and Sunday’s game went all the way to a shootout before the Blazers won it 4-3.
“I thought we played well when we had to,” said Ogden head coach Jake Laime, “but it was always catch up and never out of pure want. We need to learn how to battle adversity and play as a team within our systems during those times. OKC worked hard and earned what they got. We made several mistakes, and they took advantage.”
Top scorers over the weekend:
Bryson Bartell – 2 goals, 4 assists
Lukas Kucera – 4 assists
Matts Thielemann – 4 assists
Rhett Rampinelli – 2 goals, 1 assist
Ammon Anderson – 2 goals, 1 assist
John Shively – 2 goals
Cannon Rogers – 1 goal, 1 assist
The line of Bartell, Kucera and Rogers was the most productive of the weekend for Ogden.
“Bryson played very well,” Laime said. “I was also happy with Cannon Rogers’ game. It was consistent, and he was rewarded for getting to and playing in the dirty areas.”
Owen Zdunski got the start in goal on Friday for the Mustangs. Artur Ogandzhanyan played Saturday and Sunday.
Ogandzhanyan had two huge saves at the end of the 2nd period on Saturday, to help the Mustangs to their win.
— Ogden Mustangs (@OgdenMustangs) November 17, 2018
While the scores were extremely tight, the Mustangs had a clear advantage is shots: 44-23 on Friday, 35-28 on Saturday and 53-31 on Sunday. While goaltenders on both sides of the ice had some impressive play, the Blazers were the more opportunistic team.
Despite the Mustangs dropping their first games of the season, the remain No. 1 overall in the Western States Hockey League standings.
Ogden Mustangs – 58 points (19-1-0-1)
Bellingham Blazers – 45 points (15-4-0-0)
Utah Outliers – 41 points (13-7-1-0)
Long Beach Bombers – 40 points (12-3-2-0)
Seattle Totems – 39 points (12-4-1-1)
Oklahoma City Blazers – 38 points (12-2-1-0)
The Mustangs have this weekend and next weekend off before they’re back on home ice for three games against the Cheyenne Stampede.
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Even with the two weeks off, the Mustangs have enough of a cushion on the rest of the league that statistically, no one else can catch them for that No. 1 spot while they’re idle.
Photo by Candace Kutheis Riley