Just Chirp’n #5 2009-2010
October 8, 2009
by Michael Hissam
Famous sharpshooters in U.S. history: Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, “Chicago Nick” Gualano.
Gualano, as in El Paso Rhinos?
“Yer darn tootin’!” as old Gabby Hayes would most clearly articulate.
Gualano’s six goals in last Sunday’s game totally wrecked the Tulsa Rampage. He set a team record for goals in one game with that performance. His team now sits atop the Midwest Division of the Western States Hockey league, sporting an 8-1 record, good for 16 points and two games up on the Rampage.
“When I got the hat trick, I felt good. I hadn’t had a hat trick in a long time,” Gualano said. “When I got to five, everyone said, ‘one more for the record!’ A little later, (Austin) Balko was in the slot and fed to me. Their goalie went down, and I went around him. I celebrated, but kind of felt bad for Tulsa as we went up at 11-0
“I owe it all to my line mates Balko and (Navarone) Copley. Everything’s working right now.”
Of growing significance: The goals-against El Paso record. With 16 goals surrendered in nine games, the math works to a 1.77 per game average. That type of record has opposing coaches muttering, and El Paso bench boss Cory Herman grinning. Bet that Herman will promptly ditch the grin and order more “hard work” for his team. “We played hard. The guys came to work every night. That is what we need to do night in and night out. We are starting to develop an identity; we are going to work harder than the opposing team. Our identity is we are going to work harder than the opposing team – battling for the puck, racing for the puck. We are going to throw everything at you with a very aggressive style on every end of the rink.”
Concerning Gualano’s big game, Herman pointed out, “Sometimes players have a knack for scoring, and Nick has that knack. When players are ‘on’ they are hard to stop. He has a good sense of walking the lanes and seeing the ice. He is a natural goal scorer.”
Goalie Max Dizgun pitched a shutout in Sunday’s 11-0 romp. It was his first contest as a Rhino starter. Herman said, “Max played well, a very calm goaltender who doesn’t panic. He is very composed and played well under pressure.”
With this coming weekend being a bye week, Herman outlined the practice plan. “We will be working on a lot of little things: transition, special teams, D-Zone and different faceoff scenarios.”