“I think that they did not give up,” said Spud Kings head coach Marty Quarters postgame. “… We knew that if we kept going and stayed the course, and then we got down, but we knew if we kept coming then good things would happen. And that is what happened tonight.”
Saturday was Star Wars night at the Mountain America Center. For the game, the Spud Kings wore Star-Wars-themed jerseys, presented by A-B-See Vision Care.
Idaho Falls entered with a 5-6-1 record after defeating the Provo Predators 4-3 in a shootout on Friday.
Ogden came into the game with a 10-1-1-1 record, following a 4-3 road victory over the Rock Springs Grizzlies on Friday.
Prestyn Carter was given a second consecutive start in goal for Idaho Falls, looking to build off his performance on Friday night.
The Mustangs opened the scoring 1:31 into the game when Dimitri Voyatzis collected a rebound and put the puck past Carter, giving them a 1-0 lead. Parker Osborn and Payton Struck collected assists on the play.
“Yeah, it (allowing early goals) is not the plan, that is for sure,” Quarters said. “But, I mean, ‘how do you respond to things?’ This team has shown the willpower to respond when their backs are against the wall. We do not like putting ourselves in those situations though. And you know, it is something that we are trying to fix.”
After one period, the Spud Kings trailed the Mustangs 1-0, while outshooting them 11-9.
“We just talked (in between periods) about ‘you need to work hard,’” Quarters said. “You need to compete harder and be a good teammate. And if you focus on those things and play one shift at a time, good things will happen.”
Ogden extended their lead 0:31 into the second period after Carson Melquist tipped home a pass and put them ahead 2-0. Cooper Fink and Owen Hendrikson were given assists on the goal.
The Spud Kings got on the scoreboard 1:51 into the period when Matvei Naumov found a puck in the slot and beat Bryzgalov. Milan Jobek got an assist on the goal.
Idaho Falls tied the game with 15:34 remaining in the second period when Jackson Beach slid a loose puck past the goaltender and tied the game at 2-2. Ryan Johnson and Brenden Fields picked up assists on the goal.
Naumov gave Idaho Falls a lead with 14:50 remaining the period when he swatted a bouncing puck behind Bryzgalov, putting them ahead 3-2. Xavier Goodwin and Matteo Mitrovic got assists on the go-ahead goal.
Brody Simko brought the game level with 9:51 left in the period when he hit the top left corner of the net on a wrist shot, tying the game 3-3. Ethan Hall was handed an assist on the game-tying goal.
After two periods, the Spud Kings and the Mustangs were tied 3-3, while the Spud Kings led 28-24 in shots.
The Spud Kings went on the penalty kill 0:15 seconds into the third period when George Goodwin was given a penalty for illegal head contact.
Osborn gave the Mustangs the lead on the ensuing powerplay when he jammed home a loose puck, making the score 4-3. Turner Richards and Struck collected assists on the powerplay goal.
Idaho Falls went back on the penalty kill with 14:59 remaining in the game when Jackson Howell was given a four-minute penalty for high sticking.
The Spud Kings struck on the penalty kill when Beach entered the zone on a rush and scored to tie the game at 4-4 with 12:55 remaining in the game. Xavier Goodwin added an assist on the goal.
“Xavier got away from a defenseman and we were kind of on a two-on-none,” Beach said. “He got a good pass through because a defenseman’s stick was in the way. And then, I saw the goalie come out. So, I just decided I needed to go around him and just slip it in.”
Naumov gave Idaho Falls a lead with 5:38 remaining in the game when he found a loose puck in the crease and scored his hattrick goal, making the score 5-4. Tadeas Jobek collected an assist on the goal.
“All week we were saying (to him), ‘You are going to go off this weekend’ and he did,” Quarters said. “He is not just a good skill player. He is showing that he is really good away from the puck and responsible. He is someone that we have a lot of trust in right now. So we are happy to see him be rewarded for his hard work.”
Idaho Falls returned to the penalty kill with 4:04 remaining in the third period when Beach was given a two-minute penalty for holding.
Ogden had a chance to score on the powerplay, but Carter stood strong and helped the Spud Kings kill the powerplay.
In the end, the Spud Kings defeated the Mustangs 5-4.
Carter was given the win for Idaho Falls, stopping 41/45 shots.
“Prestyn has been outstanding all year for us,” Quarters said. “Even in the games when he might not have come out on the winning side, he gave us a chance to win. As a coach, that is what you ask for from a goaltender, ‘give us a chance.’ He battled back (tonight) and the guys played really hard for him because he plays hard for them. He is a talented goalie.”
Bryzgalov was paired with the loss for Ogden. He stopped 34/38 shots, while Ryan Wallin stopped 2/3 shots when he replaced Bryzgalov for two minutes in the third period while Bryzgalov got a skate issue fixed.
With the win, the Spud Kings increased their record to 6-6-1 on the season.
Idaho Falls will return to action on Nov. 10 when the Rock Springs Grizzlies come to the Mountain America Center for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff.
“We got by far the best fans in junior hockey and I cannot wait to play in front of them again next week,” Beach said. “And then, we are for sure going to keep it rolling and take no prisoners along the way.”