Boulder goalie Zane Sampson stopped 38 of 39 El Paso shots and the Bison downed the Rhinos, 4-1, Saturday night.
It\’s the Rhinos\’ first outright loss at home this season.
Boulder got scoring from four different players as the Bison dominated possession from start to finish.
Deon Kidd started the scoring at 7:03 of the first period, halting El Paso goalkeeper Alex Paulumbo\’s three-game shutout streak. The Denver native went more than 216 minutes without allowing a goal in five straight starts.
The Rhinos equalized just after a power play as Aaron Rasmussen shot the puck out of the air. Deflecting off a Bison defender, the puck popped over everyone\’s head before settling into the net behind Sampson at 2:07 of the second frame.
But that would be it for the home team, to the disappointment of the near-capacity crowd at the Events Center.
Oleg Hayduk scored the game-winning goal exactly 53 seconds later, followed by team captain Ryan Gauthier\’s short-handed goal at 9:28.
Trying to spark his team, returning El Paso defenseman Nick Wright — out for most of the season with a broken arm — dropped the gloves to fight Boulder\’s Devin Hoogland at 13:58; but since Hoogland didn\’t drop his gloves in kind, he received a two-minute minor while Wright got a five-minute major.
Wright\’s penalty was bad enough, but Rhinos\’ winger John Ludwig then tried the same thing with the Bison\’s Jake Spinder at 14:31, referee Mark Thompson had seen enough. Spinder wasn\’t given a penalty while Ludwig picked up another Rhinos five-minute major, and El Paso had to kill off a nearly three-minute two-man advantage for Boulder.
It proved to be too much, as Matt Hefter put in the power play goal from the right circle to cap the scoring at 17:17 of the second period.
The Bison improve to 21-14-1-1 on the season with 44 points, but Boulder remains four points behind the Cheyenne Stampede for second place in the WSHL\’s Mountain Conference. El Paso drops to 30-7-0-2 but still leads the conference with 62 points.
The Bison\’s Saturday win following the Rhinos\’ 3-0 shutout win Friday sets up the rubber match Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. MST at the Events Center. For tickets and information, contact the El Paso Rhinos\’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825), or go to www.elpasorhinos.com
Click the link for the officials stats from Saturday\’s game at PointStreak.com: http://pointstreak.com/prostats/boxscore.html?gameid=2031459