It had been almost two months since their last victory, but after a 12-game losing streak, including back-to-back overtime losses at home, the Ogden Mustangs have fought their way back into the win column.
The Mustangs (6-19-3) played four games in four days during The Western States Shootout and went 3-1 in those contests.
Ogden opened with a 5-2 win over the Dallas Snipers on Friday, then fell 3-2 to the Arizona Red Hawks on Friday, but bounced back to beat the Long Beach Bombers 5-3 and the Phoenix Knights 7-2 on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
"From the drop of the puck in the first game until the final horn in the last game, they went hard," said Ogden coach Joe Pfleegor about his players. "They were all tough games. These weren't slouch teams. Our guys just worked hard, and it paid off."
The Mustangs are now 3-1-2 in their last six games and have been playing like a different team from what fans at The Ice Sheet saw earlier this season. Pfleegor said it all points back to the team's game Dec. 3 against the Idaho Junior Steelheads. Ever since that night, the team has turned a corner. The Mustangs fell in that contest 5-4 in overtime, but put forth a heroic effort against what many consider the be the best team in the Western States Hockey League.
Ogden's top line of Dax Hobbs, Lukas Moudry and Kody Rodriguez continued to play well in Las Vegas, combining for 19 points in the four games. But Pfleegor credited his second line of Kevin Collins, Devon Detillieux and Alex Pizarro as being a major part of the team's recent success, providing some much-needed secondary scoring. That line especially played a role in the final two games of the tournament, racking up 14 points in those two victories.
The Mustangs don't play another game until Jan. 6 when they open a three-game set at the Valencia Flyers. Their next home game will be Jan. 27.
"It's nice to get a couple weeks of break," Pfleegor said. "These guys can go back to their families, relax and come back determined and ready to go for the second half of the season."
With 18 games remaining on the schedule, Ogden will look to ride its recent momentum through the second half of the season and into the playoffs. Playing 11 of their last 13 games at home should help.
The Mustangs currently sit fourth in the Mountain Conference, six points ahead of the Park City Moose. The top four teams in each conference advance to the playoffs, but Pfleegor said the team isn't looking that far ahead.
"Sure, our goal is to make the playoffs," Pfleefor said. "But we're just taking it one game at a time. We're not looking past any opponents. That's what these guys want to do."