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Peoria Mustangs: Balanced scoring keeps NA3HL squad on winning side

Peoria owns a winning record through its first 10 games.

The Mustangs are 6-4 going into a road trip to face the Dayton Falcons over the Oct. 21-22 weekend. First-year head coach Steve Ortman is pleased with the way his team played through mid-October.

By Brian Lester

 

“We’re a different team than we were at the beginning of the year, and we have been improving every week,” Ortman said. “A couple of our losses were self-inflicted, but we’ve played well overall. I’m happy with where we are at.”

Balance has been integral to the Mustangs’ success, with 13 players scoring at least two goals. Brady Jackson and Ian McHenrey lead the way with five goals apiece.

Jack Healy and Jack Radley are the top two in points, with 14 and 13, respectively. Healy scored four goals to go along with 10 assists and Radley has come through with two goals and 11 assists.

“It seems like somebody is stepping up in every game,” Ortman said. “The veterans are always going to put up points, but it’s nice to see the young guys contributing, too.”

The goalie position has been stable as well. Peoria has used three different netminders this season, and all three have played in at least four games and have won two of those.

Jaden Gardner is one of the goalies and joins rookies Zack Freiburger and Dakota Meyer in the rotation. Gardner has the top goals against average at 1.64.

“We are staying steady in our rotation, but we are still looking to see who is going to step up and be the No. 1 guy,” Ortman said. “No one has played badly, but no one has taken the No. 1 spot. They’re still battling to be that guy.”

There is, of course, always room for improvement and defense is the focus of the Mustangs going forward.

“We are focusing on two or three different defensive zone systems, and we want to get the players dialed in on those,” Ortman said. “We’re putting in a lot of time and effort on the defensive end of the ice, and watching video. Overall, we are getting better at [defense] as long as they buy in and keep working hard, we are going to be pretty good.”

Read past Peoria Mustangs articles in our archives:

NA3HL junior squad welcomes back Coach Steve Ortman

NA3HL regular season schedule prepared Mustangs well for playoffs