OGDEN — 144 penalty minutes on 42 infractions during a heated series with the Valencia Flyers didn’t help the Ogden Mustangs’ opening weekend as they were swept 3-2, 4-3, 5-3 at the Weber County Ice Sheet.
Sunday’s loss proved especially tough as the Mustangs carried a 3-2 lead into the third period only to watch as Valencia logged three unanswered goals to complete the sweep.
“We just weren’t learning from our mistakes,” Laime said of the series. “They scored on four power plays today and we just simply can’t allow that.”
After a heartbreaking 3-2 shootout loss on Friday, Ogden gave up a goal to Valencia’s Kevin Antipov less than a minute into the game on Saturday and finished the first period down 2-1.
Antipov finished Saturday’s contest with a pair of points adding an assist in the third period on what would be an equalizing goal from Viktor Hook.
The Mustangs rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the second period on goals from Syracuse, NY. native Zach O’Mara and Great Britain’s Bobby Chamberlain, but Ogden’s defense couldn’t hold off the Valencia attack and Hook’s score coupled with an unassisted goal from Dmitriy Dementev buried Ogden for the second-straight night.
“We’re a young team and we need to bear down,” O’Mara said after Sunday’s loss. “We’re taking too many retaliatory penalties and we really just need to find a way to get it done in the third period.”
Valencia goalie Stephen Palmer turned away 35-of-38 shots for the win while Ogden’s Daniel Selby faced 30 shots in the loss.
Ogden came out firing early in Sunday’s match as the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead when Kody Rodriguez scored his second goal of the series on an assist from Dusty Watt.
Valencia countered with a pair of goals from Austin Erlich and Eddie Keshishian to grab a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
Erlich would end with a hat trick on Sunday and led offensive production throughout the series with a six points.
Mustang goals from Matic Ovsenar and Christian Kraus put some life back in the Ogden bench and gave them a 3-2 lead going into the third.
But again the Ogden defense collapsed 45 seconds into the period after Valencia’s Kevin Antipov logged his second goal of the series and Erlich notched two more including a late empty-netter that finished off the Mustang’s chance of the season’s first win.
Ogden defenseman David Clements recognized the struggles the Mustangs had on defense and what needs to be done before a road series with the Bay Area Seals that opens Oct. 5.
“It’s our weakness right now,” he said. “We’re good on the puck and we can score but we run around too much in the defensive zone and we don’t stick to the game plan.”
Valencia’s Palmer was solid in-goal again for the Flyers as he faced 36 shots while Colby Atkinson turned away 41 shots in the loss for Ogden.
Confident in his team’s ability, Laime is hopeful that the positives from opening weekend carry over into practice this week and into the next series.
“Hopefully this weekend will be what it takes to gel the guys a little bit,” he said. “We need to learn from our mistakes and we’ll have the time to process this before the series in California.”