The Ogden Mustangs went into Casper, Wyo., last weekend looking for six important points while currently in a battle for the No. 1 spot in the Western States Hockey League’s Mountain Division.

They came back with four of the six points, getting better as the weekend went on, but were disappointed especially in Friday’s effort.

The Mustangs lost 5-3 on Friday, won 4-1 on Saturday and won 11-2 on Sunday.

“We didn’t play well,” said Mustangs head coach Jake Laime. “There was zero urgency or pride in our defensive game. Lots of dump and chase from Casper, with little-to-no flow to the game, doesn’t assist in our style of play either. We got better over the weekend, but we still need to find another level.”

On Friday, the Mustangs put up an incredible 88 shots, only managing to score on three of them. The Coyotes scored three powerplay goals. Kerry Kruzel, Matus Spodniak and Ross Bartlett had the Ogden goals.

On Saturday, the Mustangs came out stronger, but still struggled to put the puck in the net until Harry Gulliver scored in the first minute of the second period. Ryan Mascali had the goal that would stand as the game-winner on a shot all the way from his own defensive zone, somehow managing to get the puck underneath the Casper goaltender, who had been so solid previously.

On Sunday, it was a wild, physical game with multiple ejections. The Mustangs scored four powerplay goals. Jacob Laurin scored a hat trick, while Kruzel and Bartlett added two goals each.

In goal, Tymen Edelkoort III played the first seven periods of the series, before giving way to Jon Chin for the final two in Sunday’s game, after the result was far from in-doubt.

After picking up five points last weekend, Spodniak now sits at a league-leading 117 for the season. He’s eight points ahead of the Fresno Monsters’ Daylon Mannon, who’s been narrowing that gap.

With two goals last weekend, Spodniak is now eight goals away from breaking the WSHL’s all-time record. While he’d most likely need a couple hat-trick performances to do it this weekend at home, Spodniak does have seven hat tricks in total this season.

Come on out to The Ice Sheet this Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see is Spodniak can do it and cheer on the Mustangs to what would be three very import victories.

Full details on our event page:

OM Event Page 020918

In the division standings, the Utah Outliers now sit alone in first place with 65 points in 39 games. The Mustangs are second with 63 points in 42 games. The Colorado Eagles are third with 61 points in 39 games.

This coming weekend should be an interesting one for the Outliers, Mustangs and Eagles. While the Mustangs host the 20-20-0 Superior RoughRiders, the Outliers and Eagles have out-of-division contests against two of the top teams in the league. The Ouliers host the 34-4-1 Idaho IceCats in Salt Lake, while the Eagles hit the road to face the 37-1-1 El Paso Rhinos.

With six points this weekend, the Mustangs have a chance to jump back into first place, which would be important considering the Outliers and Eagles both have three games in hand.

IMG_4754Photo credit: KD Nova