Just Chirp’n 23

Just Chirp’n #23
February 3, 2010

by  Michael Hissam

“To err is human.  To really mess up requires a computer!”  That’s exactly what happened last Sunday as the broadcast of the El Paso Rhinos-Tulsa Rampage game disappeared in the third period, just as the Rhinos were pouring it on in the 8-3 win.

No gloating over the game outcome.  Some of the most competitive hockey all season came from the three-there, three-here back-to-back series with Tulsa.  El Paso-Tulsa has been a fired-up rivalry since the beginning of Western States Hockey League action along the Rio Grande in 2006.

Back to the broadcast and the post-game interview that should have featured Donald Geary, Garrett Poland and Frankie Posillico as first-, second- and third stars of the game.

“This past weekend meant a lot to me; we’re probably going to see this guys again in playoffs,” said Posillico, a mid season acquisition for El Paso who added a goal and an assist to his stats.  “We wanted to send a message to them on Sunday.  In the previous two games we felt we let them back into the games.”

Posillico felt his short time in El Paso has helped him step up his game.  “Everything we do in practice has made me a better player.  I’m starting to hit more and my line mates help me out a lot.  It’s good to be here, I like it a lot,” noted the Long Island, New York resident.

Poland, gaining more ice time recently, also chipped in a goal and an assist.  “I’m getting on the ice and finally showing what I have been doing in practice.  It feels good to show everybody on the team that I can play with them.  I hope to play in the playoffs; I can hit, I can pass.  I just want to help the team anyway that I can,” said Poland who in the offseason lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Geary nailed two goals to get top-star status. “This team is making a lot of progress, especially coming off the weekend we had in Tulsa, barely squeaking out three wins.  Then they came here nearly showing us up in our house.  Coming back the way we have showed a lot of heart about our team.  They are tough to beat.”

Geary pointed out he is skating a lot faster and hitting more people.  “I’m trying to get that complete game: scoring, assists and defense.
“We can improve by playing the complete game.  When we nail down the little things and never let down, we’ll be a tough team to beat,” added Geary, who came to El Paso from Colorado Springs.

Rhino coach Cory Herman felt Wednesday’s practice went very well:  “High tempo with a competitive edge,” he started.  However, “we always find a couple things to work on.  I told the guys San Antonio always plays well in our rink.  They now have a full roster that they did not have before.  These three games will be very big for them.  We could be facing them in the first round.  We need to set the tone and play our best.”

Ouch!’ department:  Kyle Shapiro won’t play this weekend due to an injury.

El Paso has the best record in the Western States Hockey League at 41-5-0, having wrapped up the Mid-West Division of the Western States Hockey League.  El Paso has a 28-point lead over the second-place Boulder Bison.

The top two teams in the division have home ice advantage in the first round of the best-of-three divisional.  El Paso is one of those.  Odds favor Boulder for the second.  That’s favor, not lock.