The Ogden Mustangs faced their toughest task of the season last weekend at The Ice Sheet, hosting the Idaho IceCats, winners of five of the past seven Western States Hockey League Thorne Cup Championships.
The Mustangs won 4-2 Friday after a four-goal third period, lost 5-4 in overtime on Saturday in a game they never trailed until the OT winner and won 5-4 on Sunday in a back-and-forth contest.
“I thought this weekend was a great measuring stick for where we are and where we need to be,” said Ogden head coach Jake Laime. “Idaho is a good team. We really enjoyed the pace. Offensively, I think we controlled the majority of opportunities and spent less time in our defensive zone. We need to take advantage of our offensive zone pressure more, as Idaho was very opportunistic when looking at their shot count. I think our defensive zone coverage got better and more aggressive, but there are still some holes.”
The Mustangs outshot the IceCats 119-91 in the series.
The IceCats were averaging 1.2 goals allowed per game this season, coming into the weekend. The Mustangs scored 4.3 per game against them.
Matus Spodniak continues to put up out-of-this-world numbers. He had multiple points in each game against Idaho, 10 total for the series, including the game-tying and game-winning goals on Friday.
— Ogden Mustangs (@OgdenMustangs) December 2, 2017
Spodniak also factored in on all five goals the Mustangs scored on Sunday — one goal, the game-winner, and four assists. He now has 92 points in 26 games this season to lead the league in scoring. The second leading scorer, his linemate Jacob Laurin, is 27 points behind at 65.
After going 0-17 in their first three seasons of matchups with Idaho, Ogden is now 12-7-1 since then. They are 7-1-1 in Ogden during that span. The Mustangs are one of only two teams in the WSHL to have a winning record against the IceCats over the past five seasons. The other team is the Thorne Cup Champions from last season, the Wichita Jr. Thunder, who beat Idaho twice during the finals. Those are the only times those two teams have faced each other.
Last weekend’s Ls were the first two losses of the season for the IceCats. The Mustangs’ record now sits at 21-4-1. They’re 18-1-1 in their last 20 games. They’re in second place overall in the 23-team WSHL, five points behind the undefeated El Paso Rhinos. The Mustangs are first in the Mountain Division, seven points up on the second place Utah Outliers, who leapfrogged the Colorado Jr. Eagles last weekend.
The Mustangs now get set to take on the Outliers for a home-and-home this weekend. The Outliers are coming off of a dominant victory over the Tahoe Icemen last weekend. They’ve won 18 of their last 20 games. Their only two losses in that stretch? Courtesy of the Mustangs. The Outliers have also defeated the Mustangs twice already this season. It’s been a tight, entertaining matchup between these in-state rivals.
Join our event page and share with your friends to help us pack The Ice Sheet on Friday:
The Mustangs and Outliers meet in Salt Lake Saturday night.
Following this weekend, the Mustangs will get set for the three-day Western States Shootout in Las Vegas from Dec. 19-21. They are then off for two weekends, opening 2018 on the road against the Cheyenne Stampede.