Playing their first game against the WSHL’s Mid West expansion Colorado Outlaws, the Rhinos struggled with the mile high altitude.
In their first two home series, the Outlaws beat both San Antonio and Tulsa in two of the three games. Going into this weekend Coach Herman said “We can’t make the mistake of underestimating this new team.”
It was El Paso’s Sean Molina who scored first, on a backhand assisted by Billy Krueger and Zach Kohn. It took another 20 minutes before Marcus Wilhite, with help from Nick Gorup, put another one home to make the score 2-0.
The Outlaws closed the gap to within one, getting a shot by Rhino goaltender Arthur Hollinger in the second period. Molina struck again 55 seconds into the third period with his second goal of the night from newcomer Jeffrey Schmudlach and Zach Kohn.
Rashad Harris added a fight against Colorado Outlaw Ben Douglass, receiving both cheers and jeers from Outlaw fans and the Colorado based friends and families attending tonight’s game. But the Outlaws capitalized on a power play, keeping the game a tightly contested one.
With only 3 minutes and 40 seconds left, the Rhinos were down two men and had to kill off a 5 on 3 to keep their one goal lead. The situation only got more desperate when with 1:15 left the Rhinos again found themselves with two players in the penalty box and Colorado pulling their goalie resulting in a 6-3.
“Artie was stopping shot after shot, the guys were laying down to block shots, and doing whatever it took to get the win. I was very happy with our effort tonight especially in the last few minutes”, continued Herman “things got a little crazy with all the penalties, but the guys kept their heads and stayed focused.”
Despite experiencing some difficulty with the altitiude, having two goals called back, and receiving 5 consecutive penalites in the final minutes this mostly new Rhino team played well enough to become the first team to take out a victory from Colorado in the first game of the series.