Ogden Mustangs winning early, prepare for first 3-game homestand

Thursday , October 12, 2017 - 6:06 PM

This information was provided by Jon McBride of the Ogden Mustangs. It has been edited for length and clarity.

The Ogden Mustangs moved to 5-3 early in the 2017-18 season after a 2-1 series victory at the Superior RoughRiders in Colorado last weekend.

The Mustangs now prepare to face the Cheyenne Stampede for a three-game series this weekend at The Ice Sheet.

“We are looking good this season,” Mustangs co-captain Matus Spodniak said. “This team is all new. We only have a few returners. So it’s important that we get all the guys together and become a team and play like a unit to win games. The season is still long, and we have a lot of work to do.”

Spodniak, a native of Kosice, Slovakia, is one of those few returners. He led the team in scoring last season with a Mustangs single-season record of 108 points. He’s picked up where he left off, racking up 19 points in eight games this season. He is sixth overall in Western States Hockey League scoring.

Last weekend’s series started rough Friday, Oct. 6. The Mustangs fell behind 4-1 midway through the second period, then battled back to a 5-5 tie on a Spodniak powerplay goal with 2:18 left in the game.

But a minute later, Superior top gu Nikita Sheberov scored finished a hat trick to give the RoughRiders 6-5 final. Sheberov leads the WSHL with 13 goals in seven games.

Ogden responded Saturday, Oct. 7, winning 8-1 and outshooting the RoughRiders 61-17. Hunter Hansen’s goal 8:47 into the first period, his first as a Mustang, stood as the game winner and was Superior’s first loss of the season.

“We found success on Saturday because we paid attention to our structure and systems,” said Mustangs head coach Jake Laime.

On Sunday, with both team’s battling for the series victory, the Mustangs fell behind 2-0 early in the first, but scored five straight to win 5-2 and take the series.

Spodniak led the charge for the Mustangs offensively with five goals and four assists in the three games.

Jacob Laurin had two goals and four assists, Matt McClelland had one goal and three assists, Harry Gulliver had two goals and two assists, Ross Bartlett had four assists and Bryson Bartell had a point in each game.

Along with Hansen, two more players registered their first goals as Mustangs. Brayden Mannek scored Friday and Ammon Anderson had the final goal of the series Sunday.

Anderson, a Syracuse native, became the youngest Mustangs player to score a goal in team history.

Ogden averages more than four goals per game in the young season.

Defensively the Mustangs still have some things to work out. The team allows more than three goals per game, much more than last season.

“I think we’re underperforming right now,” Mustangs goaltender Jon Chin said. “We have so much potential and show moments of greatness, but we need to be more consistent.”

Chin played all three games last weekend for the Mustangs, making 59 saves. Chin has faced the fourth-most total shots in the WSHL with 172 shots in six games.

“We’ve got to avoid sloppy, selfish and undisciplined play,” Laime said. “When we’ve had problems this season, especially in our defensive zone, it’s come down to that.”

The Cheyenne Stampede come to town as a wild card. They began their season losing four games by a combined tally of 33-0, but rebounded by winning two of three on the road against the Wichita Jr. Thunder.

Ogden sits in a tie for second in the WSHL Mountain Division, two points behind the Colorado Eagles, every point is important right now. The team will look to make up some ground this weekend.

“We expect to sweep,” Chin said, “and build upon the last two games from the Superior series.”

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