After beating the Utah Outliers with style on Saturday, the Idaho Falls Spud Kings prepare for a pair of road games this weekend.

First on the hit list are the Ogden Mustangs, who occupy first place in the NCDC Mountain Division. The Mustangs have won six of the eight contests between the two teams this year.

Next, the Spud Kings visit Wyoming for their final play against the Rock Springs Grizzlies. The Spuds have won six of the seven games the teams have played to date.

What to expect from Ogden

There are six players in the division averaging a point or more per game, among those who have played at least 40 games. Two of those six players play for the Mustangs.

The Mustangs have also been solid between the pipes. Nikita Volski has a record of 8-2-2 since a trade sent him over from the Pueblo Bulls. He’s stopped 93.5% of the shots he’s faced and has averaged less than two goals per game.

Nikita Volski has been solid in net for the Ogden Mustangs.

Nikita Volski has been solid in net for the Ogden Mustangs. Photo credit: Brogan Houston

One of the highest compliments a hockey team can receive is that they can play any way the opponent wants to play. That’s exactly what the Mustangs do. They win high-scoring games, low-scoring games, physical games, fast games — they can do it all.

“Be ready to play the first period in Ogden,” Becanic said when asked what the game plan would be. “We can’t worry about the second or the third or the fourth game — It’s silly. All we can do is be mentally ready to play next Friday in Ogden against the best team in the league.”

What to expect from Rock Springs

With a total of 12 wins this season, one might think the Spud Kings have an automatic win when they visit Wyoming. While the Spud Kings are competing for a playoff spot, the Grizzlies are competing for their pride — and that can drive a team to accomplish the impossible.

The Grizzlies’ last win came on March 5 against the Outliers. Lithuanian forward Milan Levcenko scored both the tying and game-winning goals against his former team.

In the last matchup between the Outliers and the Spud Kings, the Spuds walked away with a 3-1 victory.

Scoring has been a struggle for the Grizzlies all year. Peyton Smith leads the team in goals, assists and points, with 13, 16 and 29, respectively.

Playoff implications

The Spud Kings need two more wins to clinch a playoff spot. They’re one point ahead of the Bulls, with whom they’ve been fighting for a spot for months. The number of games played will even out this weekend as the Bulls don’t play at all, but they host the Grizzlies twice next weekend.

The Idaho Falls Spud Kings could clinch a playoff spot this weekend.

The Idaho Falls Spud Kings could clinch a playoff spot this weekend. Photo credit: Brogan Houston

The Spud Kings would like to win both games this weekend to clinch the playoffs, but if that doesn’t happen they’ll still have the chance on Wednesday or Thursday as they welcome the Provo Predators to Mountain America Center for back-to-back games. Those games were supposed to be played in Provo, but because of a scheduling conflict, Idaho Falls will host them.

All games can be streamed on FloHockey.TV, which is available with a subscription.