In the midst of a three-game winning streak, the Idaho Falls Spud Kings will test their resilience as they take on the first- and second-place teams this weekend.

What to expect from Utah

On Friday night, the second-place Utah Outliers will visit the Mountain America Center in Idaho Falls. Among the newest members of the Outliers is former Spud King Matteo Mitrovic.

Between this season and last, Mitrovic potted 68 points in 73 games for the Spud Kings. He was named one of the NCDC Mountain Division players of the month in January. When he felt he wasn’t playing the role he wanted, he requested a transfer, which landed him on the Outliers.

A hockey player in a red jersey makes a move to get around an opponent in a white jersey.

Matteo Mitrovic played 73 games for the Idaho Falls Spud Kings before joining the Utah Outliers. Photo credit: Spud Kings Photo Gallery

Russian forward David Utkin leads the Outliers in goals and is second in points, despite the fact that he’s missed nine games this year. If the Outliers are to have success on this road trip, look for Utkin to make an impact.

What to expect from Ogden

The Spud Kings hit the road on Saturday to face the first-place Ogden Mustangs. The Mustangs have lost just seven games in regulation this year. One of those losses came against the Spud Kings, although they’ve beaten the Spud Kings six times this year.

Forwards Parker Osborn and Dimitri Voyatzis have contributed to a high percentage of the Mustangs’ goals this year, so neutralizing those two players will certainly be on the Spud Kings’ to-do list.

Goaltender Nikita Volski has lived rent-free in the minds of the Spud Kings lately, allowing just four goals in his last three games against them.

The Mustangs also have Vladislav Bryzgalov, son of former NHL and Olympic goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Vladislav Bryzgalov was recently named to NHL Central Scouting’s list of top North American goaltenders eligible for this year’s draft.

A hockey goaltender in a white jersey leans out over the boards, watching the game.

Vladislav Bryzgalov was recently named to NHL Central Scouting’s list of top North American goaltenders eligible for the 2024 draft. Photo credit: Will Vasseur

No matter which goalie the Spud Kings have the misfortune of facing, they’ll have to step up their game if they want to score.

Spud Kings notes

In four games under new head coach John Becanic, the Spud Kings are 3-1. They’ve shown that they’re a much different team with the new voice in the locker room. While the old Spud Kings never would have stood a chance against such tough competition, the new Spud Kings are setting out to prove what they’re made of.

“We’re together in the good times, we’re together in the bad times,” Becanic said of his team. “When you have the feeling of your teammates’ support no matter what, it’s incredible what you can do.”

Where to watch

Tickets to Friday’s game are available on the Spud Kings’ website and at the Mountain America Center box office. They start at $19.

Both games can be streamed on FloHockey.TV with a subscription.