Quick Look: Ogden Mustangs
With the 25th anniversary season just around the corner, the WSHL will take an inside look at every team leading up to their respective first games. As the season nears, more than one team will be featured.
The Mustangs are looking to zero in on what their identity, as a team, will be this season after winning the Mountain Division Finals.
In 2017-2018, they relied on key returners that not only produced, but also set an example for the younger skaters on the roster. It was that lead-by-example mentality that helped every piece fall into place.
“Last year we came in with a small nucleus.” Head Coach Jake Laime said. “It was really about bringing the new guys in, embracing it and getting everybody to recognize their roles.”
“The first few weeks, regardless of wins and losses, there were some uphill battles in recognizing who we are.”
(Photo taken by Mark Mauno)
The Mustangs finished with a 38-12-1 record good for second in the Mountain Division. They swept the division finals versus Utah in an exciting back-to-back overtime night. It’s safe to say that everyone found a role that they could hit the ground running in.
This season, Head Coach Laime will be without eight key players, including standout player Matus Spodniak. Finding out how the team can gel together might be an easier objective this season with at least half of the team returning. Spodniak, Team Captain Jacob Laurin and Ross Bartlett are among those players and also made up Ogden’s top three point producers. The trio netted 157 goals for the Mustangs last year.
“Every year is a different year and you have to find your strengths and balance your weaknesses. We really have to identify what team we are going to be early on.”
“I’m happy with the character, work ethic and the attitudes of the guys that are coming back this year. We don’t have a 150-point guy but I think that we are going to be a blue collar team with good work ethic and character.”
Without the individual stardom of players from last year, everyone must carry their own weight and Coach Laime believes that won’t be a problem.
“We are going to be a hard team to play against and will be well structured.”