By Joshua Boyd / USPHLNCDC.com
We’ll be taking time over the next month to look at how some NCDC teams are working on building their 2023-24 squads through the acquisition of tenders, commitments from returning players and past draft selections they continue to evaluate.
The Ogden Mustangs are new to the NCDC for 2023-24, being part of the former USPHL Premier Mountain Division teams’ move to the USPHL’s Tier II conference. The Mustangs made their USPHL Premier National Championships debut this past season.
They also saw their leading scorer, Buffalo State College recruit Jake Meure, set the all-time regular season scoring record for the USPHL Premier Conference with 226 career points.
All quotes in the sections below come from Mustangs Head Coach Kenny Orlando.
The Mustangs are looking at some of their 2022-23 USPHL Premier standouts as potential NCDC roster players for their inaugural Tier II season, and will continue to do so right until the 23-man roster is finalized. Top contributors from this past season who remain junior eligible include three USPHL Premier Mountain Division All-Stars in forward Dimitri Voyatzis and defensemen Teddie Hember and Luke Faas.
Voyatzis, an ‘03 from Fountain Valley, Calif., improved from 43 points in 2021-22 to 82 points this past season.
On the blue line, the ‘03 Swede Hember led the ‘Stangs in ice time last season, skating an average of 23:51 per game, just ahead of Faas’ 22:37. In Hember’s first North American season, he posted 58 points in 49 games.
Faas – also an ‘03 – had 58 in 46 contests. He improved from an already impressive 37 points the prior season.
Although not a returning player to the Mustangs, the team is excited to bring in former New Hampshire Jr. Monarch defenseman Liam Chapman to help build around on the back end.
“A 2004 defenseman, he is another great add for our group knowing that he understands the pace of the NCDC and how to be successful at the Tier II level. Smooth skater and simple decision maker.”
Jake Fillion – New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
Another former Monarch, Fillion was one of the NCDC’s top goaltenders until a January injury ended his 2022-23 campaign early. He still finished fifth overall in save percentage (.926) and fourth in goals against average (2.24).
“He was a big add for our group to know and trust we have someone in the net that has been through the grind of the NCDC with a proven track record.”
Payton Struck – Rogers (Minn.) High School
An ‘05 right wing out of Rogers High School, which was ranked 14th among all Minnesota High School teams by Myhockeyrankings.com.
“He brings a great combo of skating abilities and puck skills that will make him tough to defend on our Olympic-sized ice sheet. I can see him being a fan favorite very quickly with the way he plays.”
Carson Melquist – Rogers (Minn.) High School
An ‘05 center and teammate of Struck’s with the strong Rogers program, which is the alma mater of Washington Capitals veteran defenseman Nick Jensen.
“Another highly skilled forward who seems to see the ice with eyes in the back of his head. Super high hockey IQ and unselfish with the puck, creating more opportunities for his linemates to score.”
The Mustangs took part in their first NCDC Entry Draft in April, and have identified at least two who will be top candidates for an NCDC roster spot right away in 2023-24.
Sam Anderson – Rocky Mountain Roughriders 16U
Led the 16U Roughriders in scoring with 48 points in 51 games.
“We see Sam, an ‘06 forward, stepping up to his new challenge of the NCDC. Sam is highly skilled and elusive, making him very hard to play against. We are excited to see what he can do against older, more mature opponents and how his skill sets blossom.”
Ty Izadi – Anaheim Jr. Ducks 16U
Finished second among Jr. Ducks forwards with 71 points in 73 games, and competed at the USA Hockey 16U Nationals this year.
“Ty, a 2006 forward, is a familiar name in Ogden as we have had his cousin Lewis on our roster the last two seasons at the Premier level. We expect Ty to carve a path with our forward group and find success in growing his junior style game for years to come.”
The Road Ahead
There has already been much work taken on, with several Mustangs NCDC camps already in the books.
“We ran some camps around the country in the early spring (Las Vegas, Elk River, Anaheim, Philadelphia) to see what type of talent was out there, which went really well. Many kids from those camps earned a spot at our final selection camp in July in Ogden.
“Between our coaching staff and our scouting staff, you can find the Ogden Mustangs NCDC at most of the large events throughout the whole summer from coast to coast. We have all of the marquee get-togethers circled on the calendar, as well as some smaller events, to investigate anywhere possible to find the next Mustang player.”