The Ogden Mustangs continued their hot streak to start the season with 13-2, 7-1 and 9-0 victories on the road over the Cheyenne Stampede last weekend.
The wins put the Mustangs at 18-0, matching the franchise record for best start set two seasons ago.
That 2016-17 season ended with the Mustangs hosting the Thorne Cup Finals and falling in a heartbreaker to the eventual champion Wichita Jr. Thunder. This season, the Mustangs again will host the Thorne Cup Finals but are hoping for a different result.
Ryan Mascali is one of three current Mustangs who played on that 2016-17 team. While both teams were very comparable in overall skill, speed, discipline and even respective statistics for goals for and goals against, he pointed to one thing that’s a defining characteristic of this season’s team.
“We have a very competitive culture,” Mascali said. “We just have a lot of players here who want to be here and want to work hard every single day to get better.”
That 2016-17 team was a wild, entertaining ride. They found gutsy ways to grind out wins, come back and take games to overtime. This season has been a lot more consistent domination.
The series against winless Cheyenne was another opportunity to not let up and not play down to the opponent’s level. The Mustangs were able to do that, for the most part.
In Friday’s game, Ogden exploded out of the gates with six goals in the first period. They went on to score 13 in the game, powered by Rhett Rampinelli with three goals and three assists. Artur Ogandzhanyan and Alex Neverve shared the win in goal.
In Saturday’s matchup, the Mustangs were in danger of letting the Stampede into the game after only managing one goal in the first period. A goal by Ammon Anderson on the first shift of the second period was a big one to not let the home team grab any sniff of momentum. Owen Zdunski picked up the ‘W’ in goal.
In Sunday’s game, Zdunski got the start again and picked up his second shutout of the season, facing 25 shots. He’s now sitting on a 1.00 goals against average and .956 save percentage in five games. Offensively, the Mustangs were led by Bryson Bartell who had a hat trick and an assist.
Ogden will now be thrown into a tough series, going back on the road to play its first games in franchise history in the state of Oklahoma. The Western States Hockey League’s top two teams face off as the Mustangs take on the No. 2 Oklahoma City Blazers in an out-of-division clash.
The Mustangs and Blazers have met plenty of times on neutral ice at league showcase events over the years and most recently met in last season’s Thorne Cup Finals in El Paso. They have both been in the upper echelon of the WSHL for the past five seasons since the Blazers joined the league.
“This will be another good measuring stick for us this season,” Laime said. “They’re a hard-working team and should give us a real challenge.”
The puck drops for three games Friday, Nov. 16 through Sunday, Nov. 18.