Five Players

Feb 5, 2012

Who Needs Five Skaters?

Feb. 04, 2012
Phoenix, AZ – Typically when two teams agree to play a game of ice hockey, the general idea is that playing 5-on-5 is a fair pretense. It is also assumed that when a team does something bad (i.e. slashing, roughing, cross-checking, etc.) that the right thing to do is to force them to play with one less person for a given amount of time to give the other team an advantage. But what do you do when a team is seemingly just as dangerous, if not more, when they’re skating one man short? Apparently the only fair thing to do (if there is such a thing as “fair” in sports) is to sit two players instead of one if you look at the results from Saturday’s game between the El Paso Rhinos and the Phoenix Knights.

The Rhinos went back into the Polar Ice Chandler in Phoenix after their dominating performance the night before and had no problem doing the same one day later as they defeated the Knights 10-1. However, the real storyline here isn’t the fact that they are one game off of proving my prediction of “double-digit goals every game this weekend” right, it isn’t that they have won 10 of their last 11, and it isn’t that they were 67% on the powerplay. No, instead what everyone in attendance will remember was that Matthew Tritsch scored a hat trick when all three goals were shorthanded.

They might also remember the fourth shorthanded goal of the game scored by Trey Hughes, or the other five scored by Gunnar Bjorklund, Craig Hanish, Matthew Pietrzykowski, John Morales, and Tomas Stastny before the Knights even got on the scoreboard with a Kelby Minshull goal; however, that too was followed up by the tenth El Paso goal scored by Tyler Basham.

But if that wasn’t enough of a memory for folks in attendance to take home with them, maybe they could appreciate the efforts in both nets. On the losing end, Alex Palumbo did allow ten goals by him but he didn’t stand much of a chance when the Rhinos were one shot shy of 60. Across the ice though was a standout performance by Vincent DiCarlo who gave Trent Casper a rest after his win the night prior. DiCarlo stopped 23 of the 24 he faced, and that one he let by was off a nice setup on the powerplay for Phoenix.

El Paso has one more evening to make some memories in the desert as they will faceoff against the Knights one last time before travelling to Texas to take on the Brahmas. Will they carry an eight game winning streak with them? After the last two performances it almost seems inevitable.

Matt Prosser, El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer for Matt is a freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past two seasons he has been the voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and is the host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU 1580AM in Sacramento and His other broadcasts also include Hornets football, baseball, and softball. To get in touch with Matt for comments and writing ventures please e-mail him at You can also follow him on Twitter @kssuMattProsser or visit his website: