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Western States Hockey League: Ogden Mustangs look to ‘play within our structure’ in playoffs

Ogden finished at the top of the Mountain Division standings in the regular season. After the first round of the playoffs, they look every bit like a contender for the Western States Hockey League’s Thorne Cup.

By Brian Lester

The Mustangs will face the Colorado Eagles in the Division championships.

The position the Mustangs find themselves in isn’t a surprise to head coach Jake Laime.

“We have slowly built this product, year by year, and have continued to have success,” Laime said. “We knew from Day 1 this was going to be a special team.”

Ogden won 42 games in the regular season and beat Casper two games to one in the division semifinal round of the playoffs. The success of the Mustangs has hinged largely on their ability to do things the right way.Ogden Mustangs,Ice Sheet,Western States Hockey League,WSHL,Jake Laime,USA Junior Hockey

“We’re going to win games and lose games, and at times it can be a roller coaster, but our big focus is on doing things the right way,” Laime said. “We want to play within our system, play within our structure, and stay out of the penalty box. If we do those things, we’re going to be successful.”

Ogden has a great deal of experience as well, returning 12 players from a season ago. That has helped steer the Mustangs into contention for a championship.

“We have a lot of two-and three-year guys,” Laime said. “They know what is expected of them and they set the tone immediately this season. They also do a great job of encouraging the younger players to play the game the right way.”

Matus Spodniak, of Slovakia, leads the Mustangs in scoring with 47 goals and 96 points. Montell Greene has risen to the occasion as well, tallying 37 goals and 74 points for a team that has only one player ranked in the top 20 in scoring in the league.

“Our depth has really helped us. We have four lines that can score,” Laime said.

Ogden has faced off against some of the best teams in the league this season, and went into the postseason feeling good about its chances at winning a title.

“We feel prepared. From a skill set, speed and size standpoint, we are very confident in our abilities,” Laime said. “The key for us is getting to the dirty areas and winning the battles in those areas.”

 

Read past Western States Hockey League articles in our archives:

Offensive power key to Ontario Avalanche’s success

Phoenix Knights progressing, creating scoring chances