The Ogden Mustangs continued their hot streak to start the season with 13-2, 7-1 and 9-0 victories on the road over the Cheyenne Stampede last weekend.

The wins put the Mustangs at 18-0, matching the franchise-record 18-0 start set by the team two seasons ago.

2016-17 start:
18-0
5 overtime/shootout wins
96 goals for
28 goals against
+3.9 average margin of victory
Montell Greene – 34 points
Henrik Axelsson – 22 points
Alex Forbes – 21 points
Vladimir Cibulka – 1.08 GAA, .965 SV%

2018-19 start:
18-0
0 overtime/shootout wins
114 goals for
26 goals against
+4.9 average margin of victory
Rhett Rampinelli – 42
Ammon Anderson – 32
Kerry Kruzel – 29
Artur Ogandzhanyan – 1.55 GAA, .940 SV%

The 2016-17 season ended with the Mustangs hosting the Thorne Cup Finals and falling in a heartbreaker to the eventual champion Wichita Jr. Thunder. This season, the Mustangs again will host the Thorne Cup Finals but are hoping for a different end result.

Ryan Mascali is one of three current Mustangs who played on that 2016-17 team. While both teams were very comparable in overall skill, speed, discipline and more, he pointed to one specific thing that’s a defining characteristic of this season’s team.

“We have a very competitive culture,” Mascali said. “We just have a lot of players here who want to be here and want to work hard every single day to get better.”

That 2016-17 team was on a wild, yet entertaining, ride. They found a lot of gutsy ways to grind out wins and come back and take games to overtime. This season has been a lot more consistent domination as head coach Jake Laime has bred that competitive culture and focusing on winning the right way, no matter who the opponent is.

With last weekend’s series against the winless Stampede, it was another one of those opportunities to not let up, keep getting better and not play down to their opponent’s level. The Mustangs were able to do that for the most part.

In Friday’s game, the Mustangs exploded out of the gates with six goals in the first period. So much for the bus legs. They went on to score 13 total in the game, powered by Rampinelli who continues his tear through the early part of the season. He had three goals and three assists in the game. Ogandzhanyan and Alex Neverve shared the win in goal.

In Saturday’s matchup, the Mustangs were in danger of letting the Stampede into the game after only managing a single goal in the first period. This goal by Anderson on the first shift of the second period was a big one to not let the home team grab any sniff of momentum.

Harry Gulliver also had this nice individual effort on Saturday.

Owen Zdunski picked up the W in goal on Saturday.

In Sunday’s game, Zdunski got the start again and picked up his second shutout of the season, facing 25 shots, the most of the weekend from Cheyenne. He’s now sitting on a 1.00 goals against average and .956 save percentage in his five games played this season. Offensively, the Mustangs were led by Bryson Bartell who had a hat trick and an assist in the game.

Top scorers over the weekend:

Rampinelli – 6 goals, 4 assists
Anderson – 2 goals, 6 assists
Bartell – 5 goals, 2 assists
Gulliver – 4 goals, 2 assists
Lukas Vacin – 4 goals, 2 assists
Ian Currie – 6 assists
Kruzel – 1 goal, 4 assists
Mascali – 1 goal, 3 assists
John Shively – 4 assists

Congrats to Cannon Rogers who scored the Mustangs’ final goal of the series on Sunday, his first as a Mustang.

After a stretch of nine straight blowouts; which have included sweeps over the Stampede, Steamboat Wranglers and Casper Bobcats; the Mustangs are now going to be thrown right into a tough series against a tough opponent this weekend. They head back on the road for their first games in franchise history in the state of Oklahoma as the No.1 in the Western States Hockey League Mustangs take on the No. 2 Oklahoma City Blazers in an out-of-division clash.

WSHL Standings:

Ogden Mustangs – 54 points (18-0)
Oklahoma City Blazers – 33 points (11-1)
Bellingham Blazers – 33 points (11-3)
Long Beach Bombers – 32 points (10-3-1-0)
Utah Outliers – 32 points (10-7-1-0)

The Mustangs and Blazers have met plenty of times on neutral ice at league showcase events over the years and most recently met in last season’s Thorne Cup Finals in El Paso. They have both been in the upper echelon of the WSHL for the past five seasons, when the Blazers joined the league.

“This will be another good measuring stick for us this season,” Laime said. “They’re a hard-working team and should give us a real challenge.”

Games this weekend are slotted for earlier-than-usual puck drops: Friday at 5 p.m. CST and Saturday at 4 p.m. CST. Sunday is at 2:15 p.m. CST.

unnamedPhoto: Aaron Pederson

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