Under the Hood: Ogden Mustangs
From now until the season starts, we will be taking a quick look under the hood of each team. From players leaving, to new signings, we will preview each team based on what coaches and players have to say.
2018-2019 Finish: Thorne Cup Final Runner-Up
Standings/Records: 47W-2L-0OTW-1OTL 143 Pts. (1st Mountain)
(Photo by Tim Broussard, Ogden Mustangs Photographer)
The Ogden Mustangs qualified for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Thorne Cup Championship game, and lost to the El Paso Rhinos both times.
All the dominos were in line for Ogden to win the Thorne Cup at home last year. The Mustangs steamrolled through the schedule, with ease, only losing one game at home and three on the road.
The losses began to sting in Game 2 of the Mountain Division Finals, to the Outliers. But the Stangs persisted and took the divisional crown in Game 3.
The next two losses, however, were at the Thorne Cup.
The Rhinos stormed the Ice Sheet at Ogden and conjured two wins against the hosts, with the latter being the dagger in the finals. A 2-0 loss ended the Mustangs’ record-setting season on a sour note. Ogden will surely play with a spark in their stride to hopefully return to the finals for the third consecutive year.
“It’s certainly nothing that we dwell on,” Head Coach Jake Laime said. “Obviously returning players will have a little fire in their belly for redemption. You use it as a learning experience to try to get better.”
(Photo of Ogandzhanyan by Tim Broussard, Ogden Mustangs Photographer)
A part of what made Ogden so successful was the stalwart performance from their netminders. Arthur Ogandzhanyan was the league’s top goalie all year long with a 1.83 GAA and .938 SV%. Ogandzhanyan monopolized the goaltending position but always had a reliable back up.
When Ogandzhanyan wasn’t in net, Neverve held is own only allowing seven goals in 107 shots. Neverve won eight games and did not lose while Ogandzhanyan had 26 wins, one loss and two overtime losses.
In early July the Mustangs announced the return of Ogandzhanyan. He has since decided to pursue an opportunity elsewhere.
The Mustangs have signed three goalies during the offseason including former Long Beach Bomber, Matthew Genter, Titan Anderson, and most recently, Mason Palmer.
Genter is coming off a Thorne Cup run of his own recalling last year's season with the Bombers.
Although the majority of the action was handed to Domenic Bosetti, over the regular season, Genter held his own with a .900 SV% and a 2.87 GAA.
(Photo of Genter by Tim Broussard, Ogden Mustangs Photographer)
“With the rink and staff and how the atmosphere felt, there’s no question it’s a nice, friendly place and a well-run program,” Genter said. “The Mustangs were the team to beat last season, with a good record and a better team. With the outstanding performance last season I see no reason to not uphold that reputation this season.” (OgdenMustangs.com)
Palmer comes from a familiar pipeline picked up from the TPH Thunder program that has seen the advancement of multiple impact players into the Mustangs organization. He was among the final cuts of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, this summer, who play in the USHL. Palmer is eager to backstop the team to a triumphant finish.
There wasn't a clear No. 1 goalie when first speaking with Head Coach Laime on Aug. 29.
Harry Gulliver & Bryson Bartell
What may be one of the bigger tandems to return this year are Harry Gulliver and Bryson Bartell. Both have reached a mark that only one other player in Ogden History has accomplished—play four seasons with the Mustangs.
Gulliver on returning to Ogden:
“I just wanted to finish in Ogden,” Gulliver said. “I love the fans, and I’m ready to win a Thorne Cup in my last year. I’ve had a great three seasons here, so I don’t know why I wouldn’t come back for my last one and finish what I started.”
As it stands, Gulliver will be entering his senior season with 160 career games played—fourth All-Time. Coming off a career high 21G-33A-54Pts. in 45 games, Gulliver will be looked upon as a team leader going into his final year of junior hockey.
(Photo of Gulliver by Tim Broussard, Ogden Mustangs Photographer)
“We have watched him grow not only as a hockey player but as a young man,” Laime said. “We’re expecting big things from him; Accountability, he’s going to be relied upon. He had a great season last year but he was still in the shadows of a couple players so he’ll be a spotlight player this year.”
Gulliver had a decent start to his WSHL career but he scaled up in his second and third year. Gulliver had 51-points his second year with Ogden and then finished last year with career high marks as previously mentioned.
Much like Gulliver, Bryson Bartell has seen a noteworthy upward trend.
Bartell will be spending a fourth season in Ogden as well. Highlighted by the organization late last month, his numbers skyrocketed more than doubling his output from two seasons ago.
Postseason numbers indicate that Bartell lives up to expectation when most needed. He registered 6G-4A-10Pts in 10 postseason tilts last year. Not just a regular around the Ice Sheet, Bartell boasts 110-points in 138 games only adding to the firepower of the team. That places him 15th among All-Time team leaders.
(Photo of Bartell by Tim Broussard, Ogden Mustangs Photographer)
He went from 28-points, in 2017-2018, to 58-points last season, shaping up for another monster season by the New Hampshire native. Bartell rejoins the Mustangs as the highest-scoring returner.
Coach Laime was sure in saying that the team is excited, up front, with the return of these long-time presences.
Shane Gilbert will be back with the Mustangs and will be an undeniable boost to the pace of the team. Gilbert clocked in big time minutes last year particularly down the stretch. He scored 18G-21A-39Pts.
Gilbert was a net-front-presence for the Mustangs often showing that he can be a disturbance in the crease to fish out rebounds and capitalize on second efforts.
“I’ve been working hard all summer,” Gilbert said, “and I’m excited to build off last season’s success. I can’t wait to get the ball rolling with a great group of guys and see what we can accomplish this year.” (OgdenMustangs.com)
The native of California will be entering his second year with the Mustangs but final year of junior hockey.
(Photo of Gilbert by Tim Broussard, Ogden Mustangs Photographer)
With new player signings being announced, the Mustangs identity won’t be unfamiliar. Coach Laime expressed the possibility of an identity shift but assured that they will still be a quick transitioning team with a high-powered offense.
“Looking back at teams that we have struggled with in the past; The Oklahomas, Northern Colorados and El Pasos, just that heavy style, we’ve brought in some bigger and heavier forwards to compliment our speed and skill.”
For Coach Laime, it’s all about finding the perfect blend to mold the ideal style of play. There is no such thing as too much competitiveness and the team is closely studying all their scenarios of adversity to come back stronger than ever.
Of the new players coming in, Coach Laime highlighted Caleb Dolman, Gleb Krivoshapkin, and Johan Zöllner as ones he’s eager to get started with.
Dolman brings invaluable championship experience to the team winning the NOJHL title with the Cochrane Crunch two seasons ago. Coupled with a winning mentality, Dolman is precisely the type of player that can bring a contagious work ethic to the team understanding what it takes to hoist a cup.
To be a leader amongst the squad, not necessarily wearing the ‘A’ or ‘C,’ Coach Laime said you have to be a product of the environment to understand all that’s demanded. It is why he will likely lean heavily on returners; However, Dolman was named as a new signing that already exhibits such qualities.
Krivoshapkin is described as a player that fits the Mustang’s mold of speed and skill. Krivoshapkin comes as the assistant captain of HK Kremenchuk from Ukraine’s top professional league. He skated a 20-point season last year and was also assistant captain for Ukraine’s U20 WJC squad.
“He’s a very high offensive, speedy forward,” Coach Laime said.
Zöllner was already familiar with the Mustangs with both his older brothers having played for the team before. Unlike his siblings, he will be taking the point as a defensemen. He most recently played for IF Troja-Ljungby of the J20 Elite league. Zöllner was the first new signing announced by the Mustangs. His older brothers were dominant players for the team and he’s hoping to have the same success but as a defender.
“I would say I’m a two-way defender,” Zöllner said. “I feel quite confident in both ends of the ice. I like having the puck and being a part of plays all over the ice.” (OgdenMustangs.com)
More news and details to be released by teams as the 2019-2020 season approaches. Stay up to date with the latest and complete Ogden Mustangs news by going to OgdenMustangs.com