OGDEN — A historic season has come to an end for the Ogden Mustangs after falling 2-0 to the El Paso Rhinos on Saturday night in the Western States Hockey League Thorne Cup Championship Game at The Ice Sheet.
It’s the second straight season the Rhinos have defeated the Mustangs for the championship, last season in El Paso and this time in Ogden.
The Rhinos opened the scoring Saturday in the second period when Martin Dubsky got open on the weak side, received a pass and wired a shot to the top corner in the far side of the net.
That would be all the Rhinos needed as goaltender Richie Parent made save after save. El Paso’s defense was stifling, blocking shots and passing and not allowing the Mustangs to get into any sort of rhythm offensively.
Ogden pulled its goalie late for an extra attacker after generating a number of chances, but the Rhinos punched in an empty-net goal to clinch the victory.
The Mustangs were the WSHL’s highest-scoring team, averaging more than seven goals per game. Saturday’s title game was the first time in a total of more than 60 games this season that they were shut out.
The postseason heartbreak is a disappointing finish after totaling a regular-season record of 47-2-2, second-best in WSHL history. It was the first time Ogden has finished with the league’s best record and the Mustangs also picked up their second consecutive Mountain Division Championship.
Rhett Rampinelli finished the regular season with 134 points, third-most in the WSHL. Ammon Anderson had a remarkable second season, still as a youngster, turning 18 this season and putting up 104 points. Artur Ogandzhanyan was the league’s top goaltender with a .938 save percentage.
The Mustangs already have eight players who are moving on to NCAA hockey next season, with two more commitments soon to be announced. That’s the most the Mustangs have had in a single season.