NCDC This Week: Ogden Mustangs Improve Hold Upon Mountain Division Standings
By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com
It was a somewhat light week approaching and bypassing Thanksgiving, with only the Atlantic and Mountain Divisions in action. However, that doesn’t mean there was a limit to the excitement of NCDC Hockey. The wild chess match in the west continued unabated, as both the Mountain Division-leading Ogden Mustangs (2-0) and Utah Outliers (3-0) went undefeated in the last week, and the fourth place Pueblo Bulls are on a four-game point streak.
In the Atlantic, the Mercer Chiefs rose to third place after a two-game sweep of the second place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, but still no one is anywhere close to what the league-leading P.A.L. Jr. Islanders have managed – 14 wins in a row for the defending Dineen Cup Champions, giving them the third best winning streak in NCDC history and the best since the Hitmen set the record in 2018-19 with 19 dubs in a row. Speaking of the Hitmen, one of their players made some very unique history last Tuesday! Read further down to check that out.
We’ll take a dive into the teams that picked up at least many points as games played.
Utah Outliers Win Three More For Four-Game Streak
The Outliers took a pair of wins against the Rock Springs Grizzlies on either side of Thanksgiving, winning 4-1 on Nov. 22 and then 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 24. Two days later, they also took a 4-1 victory against the Provo Predators. Going back to their Nov. 18 victory against the division-leading Ogden Mustangs, the Outliers are enjoying a four-game winning streak, a season best run of points for the West Valley City squad.
- For the fifth time this season, the Outliers won a game that was tied after two periods, when they defeated Rock Springs 3-2 in OT on the game-winner by Makar Klochkov. At 5-1-0-0, they are one of two teams in the league with that many wins in that situation, the other being Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (5-0-1-0).
- Utah and Provo are the only two teams undefeated in overtime, with Utah having the better record at 3-0 and Provo standing at 2-0.
- Utah’s defensive corps has been among the best at keeping shots against to a minimum, with their 32.43 opponent shots on goal ranking third fewest in the nation.
- David Utkin’s two goals in the most recent game against Provo, giving him the most productive current points streak in the league at 10 points over six games (4-6-10). His 16 goals are now No. 1 in the whole NCDC.
- Utkin had game-winning goals in both the 4-1 victories, giving him five on the year, good for second overall in the NCDC.
Mercer Chiefs Leapfrog Three Teams To Climb To Third With Weekend Sweep
Wow, those four points were important! The Mercer Chiefs entered the Thanksgiving weekend in sixth place in the tight Atlantic Division. They’ll enter December in third, and just one point out of second. Their two-game sweep of the second place WBS Knights, winning 4-1 and 4-2, on Nov. 24 and 25, respectively, launched them three spots higher bypassing the Rockets Hockey Club, Connecticut Jr. Rangers and Jersey HItmen in the process.
- The Knights and Mercer both entered this season with a 3-2-0-1 record against the other, both being first-year NCDC teams in 2022-23. Through four meetings this season and 10 overall, the Chiefs hold a 6-3-0-1 series lead.
- Assists in his last two games propelled Mercer defenseman Kyle Cupolo into the top 10 of NCDC defenseman scoring. Cupolo, a USPHL Premier Midwest West Division All-Star blueliner last year while with the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, is a great example of success from #USPHLAdvancement In Action.
- Returning Chief David VanIterson registered a goal and an assist in the Nov. 25 game, which officially saw him bypass his nine points in 40 games last season with 11 points in 20 games this year.
- Another veteran, Gregory Diamond, registered his first game-winner in 33 career NCDC games. He scored the GWG on Nov. 25.
Ogden Mustangs Put Up Two W’s To Keep Healthy Mountain Division Lead
The Mustangs ended November with a 6-1 victory over the Provo Predators on Nov. 22 and three days later, they claimed a 3-2 victory against the Rock Springs Grizzlies. This helped the Mustangs get back to winning business after they suffered their first shutout loss on Nov. 19 against the Utah Outliers.
- The five-goal margin they put up against the Predators was the Mustangs’ best following a loss. They’ve made a habit of putting up big margins of victory following a loss, as they’ve enjoyed winning margins of two, three, four and now five goals in games immediately following a defeat. Ogden remains the only NCDC team to have not lost two games in a row.
- With that, the Mustangs are the only NCDC team to have wins with margins of one goal, two goals, three goals, four goals, five goals and six goals.
- Ogden is in a three-way tie for the best offense in the league, being one of three teams averaging 4.00 goals per game – along with Pueblo and South Shore. They are third in team defense at 2.25.
- Ogden has the league’s second best defensive corps in terms of limiting opponent shots. They have given up just 32.20 per game.
- Parker Osborn’s eight point stretch in the last two games (3-5-8) helped push him all the way to No. 2 in league scoring, with 31 points in 18 games. He is one spot and three points ahead of teammate Dimitri Voyatzis. Osborn is also tied for second in goals with 15, and he’s also fifth in power play points (20).
- Vlad Bryzgalov bounced back from the Nov. 18 loss to Utah to stop 31 of 32 on Nov. 22 against Provo. He remains second in the league in save percentage at .945, and third in goals against average at 1.80.
P.A.L. Jr. Islanders Win Two More To Stretch Winning Streak to 14
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders continue to increase their franchise record winning streak, picking up two more wins against the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, 3-1 and 7-4 on Nov. 24 and 26, respectively, in a home-and-home series. P.A.L. has not lost a game since Oct. 7, a 4-1 loss to the South Shore Kings in their third and final game of the Hitmen Classic. The Jr. Islanders are two more straight wins away from tying for second all-time in most consecutive wins, as the Islanders Hockey Club won 16 straight two times in their inaugural Dineen Cup Championship campaign of 2017-18. The Jersey Hitmen of 2018-19 hold the all-time best winning streak of 19 straight.
- P.A.L. remains undefeated when leading after one period (11-0) and after two periods (18-0). Also, P.A.L. earned their first win being down after two periods when they came back from a 1-0 deficit to score three in the third period to beat Connecticut on Nov. 24.
- P.A.L. has the league’s best defense, giving up just 1.86 goals per game, the only team averaging less than two against each game. They also put up the most shots on goal per game (44.27).
- On Nov. 26, the Jr. Islanders went 5-for-8 on the power play with five straight power play goals, all scored in a row between the second and third periods, giving them a season high and their best single game power play output going back to at least 2020-21. P.A.L. is tied with four other teams with that five power play goal mark in a single game.
- The big performance helped them move up to 26.3 percent as they have now cashed in with 25 goals on 95 power play opportunities.
- Also in that game, defenseman Coleson Hanrahan posted five assists to set a season high along with a league-best mark, which he tied two days after Pueblo’s Jack Hanson had the first five-assist game of the year. Coleson leads all NCDC defensemen in scoring with 26 points, and he is also first in assists (22), power play assists (10) and power play points (13). Coleson’s four power play assists in a single game are a league high as well.
- Carter Hanrahan’s three power play assists in a single game on Nov. 26 was the second-most this year (and tied with three other players). Carter’s eight assists in five games is the best active assist streak, and goes back to Nov. 11.
- Ty Broad and Ryan Kearney are 1-2 in terms of longest active goal streaks, with Broad posting five goals in his last four games and Kearney registering four in his last three.
- Nicholas Bevilacqua continues on a tear, putting up 13 straight victories, and he is the undisputed No. 1 goalie in the NCDC. He leads in wins (16), goals against average (1.77), save percentage (.955), shutouts (three), minutes played (1152) and saves (715). He is second in NCDC history in games played (73) and fourth in wins (38).
- The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders are the only team with four players in the top 10 of scoring, as Broad leads the way with 37 points, Carter Hanrahan (28 points, tied for third), Coleson Hanrahan (26 points, tied for seventh) and Heikki Virtanen (25 points, ninth). Broad, Carter and Coleson Hanrahan are also 1-2 in assists with 25 from Broad and 22 from each of the brothers. Broad and Carter lead in power play points (15).
- Broad’s last two goals, one in each of the two wins against Connecticut, pushed him up to sixth all time on the P.A.L. leaderboard with 33, one ahead of teammate Virtanen’s 32nd.
Pueblo Bulls Capture Three Points, Pull To Within One Point Of Third In Mountain
The Pueblo Bulls hosted the Idaho Falls Spud Kings for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday, first picking up a huge 9-2 victory on Friday night before falling 3-2 in overtime the next day. The OT win was the Spud Kings’ first victory against the Bulls in their shared NCDC history, giving Pueblo a 3-0-1-0 mark against the Spud Kings.
- When the Spud Kings won in OT, it was the first time the Bulls suffered a loss when leading after the first period (8-0-1-0).
- The nine goals is now tied with South Shore (Oct. 15) and P.A.L. (Sept. 22) for the second most goals in a game, behind the WBS Knights’ 10 goals scored on Nov. 12. The nine goals is also a Mountain Division record so far. • There were a season-high 18 assists doled out, with each goal seeing two assists, on Nov. 24. Additionally, the Bulls’ 27 points are also a season high for any NCDC team.
- Another fringe benefit of the big goal outburst on Friday is that Pueblo is currently tied with the Ogden Mustangs and South Shore Kings at No. 1 in team offense with 4.00 goals per game.
- Going 4-for-8 on the power play over the weekend helped Pueblo stand second in power play percentage at 27.7 (26-for-94).
- Nate Farrell is tied for second in defenseman scoring in the NCDC with 21 points, and he is in a three-way tie for most goals by a defenseman with eight. The Bulls’ Will Sinclair is part of that tie after scoring his eighth on Friday.
- Jack Hanson’s five individual assists set the league mark on Nov. 24, two days before Coleson Hanrahan of P.A.L. tied him. Three of those came on the power play, tying with three others for second most power play assists in a game, and also putting him into a tie for most power play assists in the league with 13. His 14 power play points are second-most in the league.
- William Johson’s four goals in his last three games gives him the second longest current goal streak and also second most goals on a current streak.
Jersey Hitmen Go Into 10-Day Break On Winning Note
The Hitmen played the Rockets Hockey Club on Nov. 21, and earned a 4-3 comeback overtime win over their Interstate 287 in-state rivals. It was the first win in 12 games this season where the Hitmen trailed after two periods (3-1 Rockets).
- We dug and dug in the records, and we’re confident in saying that Daniel Prazma’s empty net shorthanded overtime goal was the first of its kind in the NCDC’s history. The Rockets, on a late power play in overtime, pulled their goalie and Prazma scored with 12 seconds remaining in the overtime. That’s one heck of a first NCDC goal to remember! (If we’re wrong and you know of another, please do e-mail [email protected]).
- Prazma’s historic GWG was also the league-leading sixth shorthanded goal for Jersey this season.
- The Hitmen are third in the NCDC in shots on goal per game with 41.43 per contest.
- Lucas DiChiara’s three power play goals are tied for first among NCDC defensemen, and his five goals on the season are second-most by a blueliner.
Around The Boards
The Spud Kings split with Pueblo and got their third straight win in extra time following a loss. Having lost by seven the night before their 3-2 overtime win, it was the second time they won a game one night later against the same opponent after falling by at least six. Utah had defeated them 7-1 on Oct. 20, and the Spud Kings beat the Outliers 5-4 in a shootout the next night.
- Not unlike the Jersey Hitmen a few nights earlier, the Spud Kings were down after two periods (2-1 Pueblo) before they were able to turn it around and get the game-winner from D.J. MacLeish. They are now 2-7-0-0 when trailing after two.
- Matvei Naumov’s eighth and ninth of the year keyed the comeback, the latter being the tying goal that forced OT.
- Idaho Falls is second in shots on goal per game in the NCDC at 42.74.
The Rockets salvaged a point against the Hitmen but at 0-3-2-0 in their last five, they are hoping for a much better December.
- Jonah Copre is on an active four-game assist streak, over which he’s put up seven helpers. He is second in assists league-wide with 19 and tied for second in league scoring with 21 points.
- Although it was a SHG that bit the Rockets on Nov. 21, the RHC’s Jonas Dobnig remains the league leader in both shorthanded goals (three) and shorthanded points (four).