02/20/2010 1:18 AM -
Nine different Rhinos were able to find net on the short-handed Renegades, the last place team in the Mid-West Division, as both teams finish out the regular season with this three-game series.
The four-time defending Mid-West champions, El Paso runs its Western States Hockey League-leading record to 45-5-0, earning a team-record for most points in a season with 90.
Playing in only his eighth game this season, goaltender Keenan Wallace stopped 10 of New Mexico's 11 shots on the evening for his third win.
Though the score was a team record, for El Paso head coach Cory Herman, it's more a matter of staying game-fit in anticipation of the Mid-West Division playoffs, beginning next weekend at the Sierra Providence Events Center against the San Antonio Diablos.
"We rested our top scorers beginning in the second period, but for the rest of our guys, I want them to play hard and keep the intensity headed into playoffs next weekend," said Herman. "One of the things you want your team to think when they go into a game is that what we're doing is always more important than what the other team's doing."
Herman is friends with New Mexico head coach Peter Ambroziak. The pair were on-ice rivals in their playing days, Herman as an El Paso Buzzards defenseman and Ambroziak as one of the top scorers for the New Mexico Scorpions.
"I've known Peter a long time," said Herman. "It's unfortunate they're short a few players, but he's building something good in Albuquerque and that takes a coach making hard decisions about his team and who gets to play on it. I give his guys a lot of credit. It's not easy staying in a game when you're tired and the game gets out of hand."
One of those players is El Pasoan Jared Alires, a solid defenseman who plays, schools and lives in Albuquerque during the hockey season.
Friday's and Saturday's games can be seen on MetroSports Southwest, Time Warner Cable channel 24, and will be available mid-week to Time Warner digital subscribers via MetroSports On-Demand, digital ch. 832.
The Rhinos and Renegades face each other twice more, Saturday at 7:35 p.m. MST and Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. MST.
Saturday's game will once again feature a special presentation of the Honor Flag before face-off -- one of the American flags that flew over the site of the World Trade Center after 9/11.
For tickets and information, contact the El Paso Rhinos front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.