After an excellent week for the team, the Mustangs received some recognition from the league as Dakota Boutin was named player of the week, thanks to four goals and two assists.
Trevor Blevins, the team’s head coach, was really pleased to see Boutin get recognized for his great week, noting that when Boutin is on, he is one of the more dominant players in the league.
“He’s moved up now to fifth in scoring in the league and it’s not out of the question for him to get to be in the hunt for top scorer,” he said. “He’s just improved so much from the start of the season to now in a number of areas.”
The next step for Boutin is getting him ready to receive a scholarship to play hockey in the next year or two, said Blevins.
Against Notre Dame
The week kicked off for the Mustangs on Jan. 20 when they welcomed the Notre Dame Hounds to the Northern Lights Palace.
The game got off to a great start for the Mustangs as Jaxon Joseph put the Mustangs in front with his tenth goal of the season just 1:52 into the opening period.
The Mustangs could not hold the lead, as the Hounds would tie the score at one less than six minutes later on the power play before the game went into the intermission with the score tied at one.
After a fairly even first period, the Mustangs took over the game in the second as they drew three minor penalties and outshot the Hounds 14-8 but could not take advantage.
The game remained tied at one until early in the third period when the Hounds scored their second power play goal of the night to take a 2-1 lead.
Despite trailing in the third period, the Mustangs refused to go away and were finally rewarded as Kayle Tosh scored his second goal of the season on the power play to send the game into overtime tied at two.
In the extra session, Boutin sent Mustangs fans home happy as he scored his 18th goal of the season to give the Mustangs a 3-2 win in overtime.
Evan Plotnik was solid in goal for the Mustangs when called upon as he turned aside 18 of the 20 shots he faced to pick up his 13th win of the season.
After a back and forth first period, Blevins said the team made some adjustments during the first intermission and it paid off, saying he felt his team deserved to win the game.
“We carried the play and carried the shots on net and the offensive zone time so it was a really good effort for us for 40 minutes for sure.”
Against La Ronge
The Mustangs had little time to savour their victory as they were right back in action the following night when they took on the La Ronge Ice Wolves in Kinistino for their hockey weekend.
It was a slow start for the Mustangs as they were outshot 14-11 in the first period but found themselves ahead by a goal as Matt Goudy scored his second goal of the season to put the Mustangs ahead 1-0 after one period.
After a slow start to the game, the Mustangs once again responded with an excellent second period as they outshot the Ice Wolves 17-9 and outscored them 5-1.
The Mustangs wasted little time extending their lead to two as Reed Gunville scored his 11th goal just 1:11 into the period on the power play.
Andrew Thompson then matched Gunville with his 11th goal of the season a few minutes later and the route was one as Boutin scored twice in 1:16 to put the Mustangs ahead 5-0.
The Ice Wolves got one back late in the period but Miles Warkentine restored the Mustangs’ five-goal edge with his 11th goal of the season on the power play, sending the game into the second intermission with the Mustangs leading 6-1.
The third period started where the second left off as the Mustangs scored just 47 seconds in off the stick of Boutin, who completed the hat trick.
The Ice Wolves scored a few minutes later but they would get no closer as Tyler Heidt scored his sixth of the year with nine seconds to play to give the Mustangs an 8-2 win.
Derrick Hucul played a great game between the pipes for the Mustangs, turning aside 29 shots to pick up his third win of the season.
The second period was the real turning point in the game, with Blevins noting that from that point on the Mustangs really took control of the game.
“[We were] being harder in our zone and turning pucks over and managing the puck... and just defending and really we got harder and responded and got rewarded, so it’s always nice when that happens.”
Looking ahead, the Mustangs have a tough week as they take on a number of tough teams on the road.
The week started in Flin Flon on Jan. 24, before the team headed south for games against Weyburn Jan. 27 and Estevan Jan. 28.
Despite a tough stretch that includes games against the second, third and seventh place teams in the league, the Mustangs head into those contests with confidence after picking up points in six of nine games played against those three clubs.
To continue to have success, Blevins said the key for the Mustangs will be to play a more well-rounded defensive game in all three zones.
“We’re starting to fine-tune our positional play and I really think we need to buy into it. Once we don’t have the puck, we need to do all we can to get it back.”