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10/15/2016 11:07 AM -
The Rhinos took the ice in Arizona for the season opener hoping to forget last year’s disappointing finish. They were wildly successful.
From the first minute of play, the Rhinos’ physicality was apparent. Alex Rubin took a roughing penalty, forcing the El Paso team to test their penalty kill for the first time of the season. Unfortunately, an Arizona power play goal slipped past Rhinos netminder Brendan Cytulik, but Hunter Cooley evened the score only 15 seconds later. Cue seven more unanswered Rhino goals. Rubin (2), Cartwright, Goclan, Camba, and Johanson (4) all netted at least one goal before the end of the second period. In the final period of play, the Rhinos added 7 goals to the board, crystalizing the final score of 16-3.
As the final score portrays, the Rhinos powerful offense spent most of the game in Arizona’s zone. A pair of Arizona netminders faced 76 shots on goal. Hunter Cooley and Alex Johanson had four goals each and although their linemate, Chaseton Sare, never netted one himself, he finished the game with six assists. Jayden Ritchie (2) and Arturas Laukaitis also earned their first goals of the season. All but five El Paso players, two of which were goalies, had at least one point in the game against the Hawks. In normal Rhino fashion, the team totaled 31 penalty minutes on ten penalties. Joe Roach received a game misconduct after a fight with Arizona’s David Matusek.
The Rhinos will play game two against the Arizona Hawks at 7 pm on Saturday. Keep up with the game by downloading the Rhinos mobile App, following the team on Twitter and liking “El Paso Rhinos Hockey” on Facebook.