Squatch slip past Outlaws in wild opening night

by Scott Ludwig

Isanti Outlaws began their regular season on Friday night in Elk River facing the Minnesota Squatch. In a wild, high-scoring affair, the Outlaws ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard losing 8-7.

An expansion team for 2022-23, the Squatch are owned and coached by Chris Pojar. His son, Jack, is on the roster and scored the first goal in franchise history just 1:09 into the game. Daniel Ellingson made it 2-0 before Trevor Ripley scored the first Outlaws goal of the season at 14:27.

The Squatch would add a pair of goals before the period ended to lead 4-1 at intermission.

It was a different story in the second period as the Outlaws came out of the locker room with purpose. Kolton Kane scored a natural hat trick to even the score at 4-4 then Tyler Schmitt gave the team their first lead when he scored his first of the season.

Things continued to escalate in the period as the Squatch would scored the next two goals - one shorthanded - to retake the lead 6-5. Kane was not done though as he scored his fourth of the period to tie the game again 6-6. Before the intermission buzzer sounded Ripley added another giving Isanti a one-goal advantage.

The third period belonged to the home team though. Henri Mustoden tied the game 7-7 at 4:49 before Colten Craig netted the eventual game winner at 9:38 of the period. The Outlaws were outshot 20-4 in the frame, 54-30 in the game.

Goaltender Robert Bymers played well in spots, but took the loss in his Outlaws debut. Bymers finished the game with 46 saves.

Up next for the Isanti Outlaws is another short road trip to Coon Rapids. The team will face the Minnesota Blue Ox on Friday 7:00 PM at the Coon Rapids Ice Center.