Frustration or Immaturity?
Feb. 25, 2012
El Paso, TX – Just to make it clear, playoff bound does not mean playoff sound. On Saturday, the El Paso Rhinos left fans scratching their heads for many reasons, but the most puzzling question going through their minds must be if this team is ready for the post season.
After a disappointing performance on Friday night, the Rhinos were walloped by the visiting Dallas Ice Jets on Saturday by a final score of 6-3. The score however does not depict how ugly the game was. At one point in the game El Paso was down 5-1, Matthew Tritsch scored his second of the game to bring the Rhinos to within three, and allowed Chace Jackson to score his second of the game to bring it 6-2.
It was also after this goal that for no apparent reason, John Morales who had already been playing nasty, attacked Jackson which sparked an all-out brawl on the ice. Morales was ejected from the game and Chris Wilhite joined the fight while Richard Bohan and Christian Elsborg fought back for Dallas. All four were given fighting majors with Wilhite and Morales receiving additional minor penalties for slashing and facemask respectively.
If there were any shining lights in this one for El Paso, it was Trent Casper’s one-goal relief effort of Vincent DiCarlo who allowed five on less than twenty shots. Brandon Luke also received his first goal wearing orange and black, and Gunnar Bjorklund played all-guts hockey.
Sunday will be critical to see how this team responds and if they are ready for the playoffs. They are playing a team they have already swept this season and are on the brink of getting the broom themselves. The Ice Jets on the other hand are playing fantastic puck and appear to be in the driver’s seat.
The regular season finale for El Paso has a lot riding on it because they need to prove to themselves that they have what it takes to go all the way.
Matt Prosser, El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com. Founder of Fifty8 Productions and freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU1580 Sacramento. For comments and writing ventures e-mail Matt@Fifty8productions.com. Follow on Twitter @MattProsser58 or visit www.kssusportsycle.com.