3View: Peoria Mustangs
The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2020-21 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2020-21 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2019-20 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
2019-20 Record: 23-20-4, 50pts (4th in Central Division)
2020 Playoffs: Qualified
Head Coach: Steve Ortman
2020-21 Division: Central
With 10 NA3HL seasons now in the books, the Peoria Mustangs have evolved into a consistent threat in the Central Division. Consistent playoff appearances each season, 22+ wins each year and some deep runs towards a title provide fuel for the Mustangs to continue a championship charge.
After the season pause last year, we won’t know exactly how far the Mustangs could have gone in the 2020 playoffs, but Head Coach Steve Ortman and his team are ready to make up for the lost opportunity.
“As a team, we feel that we have unfinished business with the way the playoffs ended just hours before game one. That left us with no closer on the season. Our returners, coaching staff, and new players are hungry and eager to make a run this year,” said Ortman.
Several of last season’s Mustangs will be back to finish the job in 2020-21. With veteran voices sprinkled throughout the lineup and a set of fresh talent, Peoria wants to raise the bar on its established consistency.
“We will be leaning on our vets to lead the way with leadership. Along with that, we will be teaching some very talented new players the Junior hockey game, and have set some very high expectations for those players to step up and contribute right out of the gate,” said Ortman.
Specifically, Ortman targeted strengthening the team’s defense when recruiting in the offseason. With hockey shifting to a more offensive, fluid game, having defensemen who are confident when carrying the puck is crucial to success at the Junior level.
“We spent the second half of the year recruiting to improve our roster. We have added speed and size to our roster along with some very good puck-moving defensemen,” he said.
The Mustangs thrived in terms of advancement last season, with four players committing to ACHA schools and two signing tenders with NAHL teams. And as is the focus for every NA3HL team, Peoria will look to set its veteran players up for success at the next level in 2020-21.
“As far as moving players on, we have already been in contact with schools and NAHL coaches about our players. We will continue to stay in constant contact during the year with these coaches to make sure the players have every opportunity to reach their goals,” said Ortman.
As one of the longest-standing organizations in the NA3HL, the Mustangs have more than established themselves on the ice. But away from the rink, they have become a mainstay in the Peoria community — something Ortman looks forward to the team continuing in the new year.
“The Mustangs have always been a big part of the community with our yearly ‘Stuff a Bus’ program, having players on the ice with our youth teams and anything else we can do in our community,” he said.
Peoria has been a safe bet since joining the NA3HL in 2010. Now, the Mustangs will look to elevate their game and mount a title charge in the Central Division.
Next Up: Rochester Grizzlies