Just Chirp’n 9

Oct 28, 2010

Just Chirp’n #9 2010-2011
Oct. 27, 2010

by Michael Hissam

Last Sunday’s 8-2 Rhino win over Boulder demonstrated a critical component needed for a serious championship run:  leadership from the veterans.

Ben Henne , second-year man, earned First Star of the Game honors for his two goals, followed by Kyle Shapiro, third-year player, who also scored twice, and Tyler Benson skating his third season for El Paso.   As Henne said in the post-game interview, “We told the new guys about working hard.”

This extra effort by the veterans and the rookies sure calmed queasy guts following the Saturday night shootout loss.  Boulder managed to take the fans out of the game more than once – not a good thing on Parent’s Weekend.

Also good to see on the stat sheet was the percentage of face offs won by the Rhinos – well over 50 percent in several of the periods.  Control of the puck – especially at center ice – creates the opportunities.

Boulder’s team bus had barely made it out of town when Coach Brent Cullaton sent the message, “We were outworked, outplayed and outscored.  Can you decline a power play?”  The latter referred to the Rhinos scoring two short-handed goals on Sunday.

Despite taking two of three, word to the wise Rhino is “consistency.”  Coach Cory Herman and the Rhino braintrust looks for about 20 shots and 25 hits (checks) a period.  “The focus on a ’60-minute’ game this week in practice means not worrying about the outcome at the end, but outworking the guy next to you during the game.”

What Herman also likes is a more team-friendly schedule.  He was not happy with the three weeks downtime prior to Boulder showing up.

Speaking of showing up, attendance at the El Paso Special Events Center was the best ever for opening weekend and they competed with — Saturday — a UTEP football night – and Friday, the high school football night.

About 850 miles northeast of these parts, the Tulsa Rampage look to the arrival of the Rhinos for this weekend’s three games, the last of which will be in the 19,000-seat BOK arena.  Tulsa Coach Chad MacLeod shares a similar challenge with El Paso Coach Cory Herman:  a bunch of new guys.  “We have 19 or so new players,” MacLeod said.  “We are a younger team, but we have skill.  We move the puck.  We are ‘blue collar.’