(EL PASO, TX) — Kole Hudson scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner, and the Oklahoma City Blazers earned their third victory over the El Paso Rhinos this season with a 5-4 win in the Events Center night.
The Blazers (34-11-0-0, 68 points) sit second behind the Rhinos (40-5-0-0, 80 points) in the WSHL’s Midwest Division, but the two teams are using this final series of the regular season to send a message that will resonate through the playoffs.
After a 3-2 El Paso win night, it was the Blazers who returned the favor , setting up what promises to be an eventful rubber match afternoon at .
Oklahoma City ran away from the Rhinos to take a 2-0 lead in the first period. Ivan Bukshevannyy notched a power play goal at , followed just later by Viktor Ekk.
El Paso got one back before the end of the frame as Sebastian Borg’s pass-out from the right corner found Jordan Cullum who walked in to beat OKC goaltender Jakub Krejci at .
But the hosts weren’t done, scoring the next two goals just 20 seconds apart to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Jonah Pearson put Marek Langhammer’s pass-out over Krejci’s left shoulder to tie the game at , followed by Kendall Craig’s seeing-eye strike from the left circle at to give El Paso the lead.
However, the Blazers roared back to life in the third period scoring three unanswered goals of their own. Johan Sorkin scored at to tie the game. Then, Oklahoma native son Kole Hudson put home a rebound at , followed by the game-winner, five-holing Rhinos’ goalie Adam Vay at .
El Paso mounted a game challenge in the final minutes. Having pulled Vay for the extra attacker, Jiri Pestuka scored his team-leading 40th goal for the Rhinos at ; but it was too little, too late for the Rhinos.
El Paso’s loss also assures that the Idaho Junior Steelheads (41-2-1-1, 84 points) will have home ice advantage throughout the Thorne Cup Playoffs, which will start next weekend.
El Paso and Oklahoma City have each earned a bye in the first round and will host first round winners in best-of-three series the weekend of. But first, the teams will face off once more afternoon at the Events Center to wrap up the regular season.
Every www.elpasorhinos.com. home game features $1 hot dogs at the Events Center along with other food specials. For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825), or go to
game can also be viewed via America One Sports through a link at the team’s website.