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Just Chirp'n 5

10/01/2010 2:05 PM -


Just Chirp'n #5 2010-2011

Sept. 29, 2010

by Michael Hissam

Rhinos look for rebound in Metroplex

It's pretty much a whole new team, and in the game of hockey, they got to get to know how each other plays and how each other will execute the game situation.

For El Paso Rhino Coach Cory Herman that's the situation following the season's opening weekend in Boulder, Colo., where the Rhinos dropped two of three to the always tough Bison.

"We got a lot of new players and there definitely is going to be a learning curve," Herman said.  "Boulder is going to be one of the top teams.  It is good we started with them; it's a good measuring stick. In years past we had so many veteran players coming back.  With so many players going on to college or aging out last year, basically we have a new team this year."

Despite the start, Herman quickly pointed to the potential of this year's squad:  "We just need maybe up to nine games to get everybody singing the same song.  There is a lot of potential there.  They just need to learn our system."

Herman described this week's preparation for the contest at the Texas Brahmas' barn as a "good week of practice.  We are going the system, especially for the new guys to learn.  You can practice all day long, but never really imitate a real game.  Last week was learning."

El Paso's bench boss knows about Brahma Coach Jeremy Law's approach to the game: "He always has a good team, skilled and hard working. We just got to go out there and work the guy next to them shift by shift.  We don't just try to win a game or a period.  We try to win each shift."
 
Herman credited El Paso goalie Keenan Wallace for playing very well in Boulder.  "He was our third-string goaltender last year and worked his way up to being our first goalie this year. I am looking forward to this weekend."
 
This week's game plan for the Rhinos calls for more discipline.  "We were taking too many penalties and they scored too many power play goals. You can't win a hockey game when you are constantly killing penalties."

Law and company eagerly await the Rhinos.  "El Paso has been one of the premier teams in the league in each of their seasons.  It will be nice for us to see where we notch up against one of top teams in the league, and will allow us to know what we need to work on to be a top team in this league."

Looking at players to watch, Law pointed to the depth of his roster, but singled out goalie Anton Olsson for great play.  "He has been a key addition for us, and has played outstanding for us."  Olsson comes from Sweden, a hockey hotbed that seems to be sending more players to the Lone Star State for additional grooming. 

mjhissam@sbcglobal.net