Despite trailing early in the first half, the Rhinos pulled out a win over the Cheyenne Stampede in their first game of the Western States Shootout. Assisted by Kyle Keeder, forward Evan Hunchar scored El Paso’s first goal. Keeder then scored his own goal minutes later before finally earning his second assist and third point of the game when Austin Grawbarger tallied the Rhino’s third of the game. Shortly thereafter, Cheyenne’s Heath Lantz and Craig Thurston scored two quick goals to tie the game late in the first. Santeri Ketola’s penalty shot goal, however, left the Stampede with a one goal deficit entering the second half.
After holding the lead for the first 18 minutes of the second half, netminder Ryan Buttazzoni let Lukas Slanksy’s shot slip by, knotting both teams at four. The Rhinos’ offense persisted in the final minutes when Ketola notched his second of the game, giving El Paso the win.
This victory over the Stampede extends the Rhinos’ streak to six games. Tomorrow, they will play the Seattle Totems at 1:15 pm for their second game of the WSHL Showcase (MT). To keep up with all Showcase games, download the Rhinos’ mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play store for scoring updates and game notifications.