Locking Horns and Trey Hughes Spotlight
Feb. 13, 2012
North Richland Hills, TX – Physically, this weekend was possibly the most taxing on the faces, hands, heads, and chins of the Rhinos and the Brahmas. In two of the three games there were eight total fights that included numerous ejections and must have been treated with copious amounts of Excedrin, Tylenol, and lidocaine for the stitching.
The weekend got off to a hot start and didn’t fizzle down the stretch. After the Rhinos lost their first game in three weeks, 3-2 after the extra period, they came back and won on Saturday 6-3, and Sunday 4-2. They had eight different goal scorers in the first half of their six game series with Texas.
Both teams will have five days to lick their wounds and get ready to suit up for the battlegrounds again this coming Friday in El Paso. This will be a critical weekend for the Brahmas as they have 18 possible points remaining on the table which in theory could be enough to help them jump to the 1 or 2 seed in the Mid-West Conference. The Rhinos on the other hand, just want to stay on top before they host the Thorne Cup in late March.
With the Rhinos in the middle of another hot streak, this seemed like a good time to catch one of them for a spotlight. This month I’ve decided to chat it up with Trey Hughes, the young forward who has been playing terrific hockey this season and has been one of the more consistent contributors to the orange and black.
Name: Trey Hughes
Age: 18 years old
Birthplace: Lionel Lakes, MN
Current Status: Amateur
Tenure with El Paso Franchise: First Season
MP: How would you rate this season so far?
HUGHES: Overall I’d say the season has gone better than expected. I wasn’t sure what to expect but our team has come together really well. I was really nervous in the beginning being so far from home but they made me feel really comfortable and the guys have been really supportive so it’s been real nice. Assistant coach Murray [Bates] has been behind me the whole way and Matt Tritsch has been great to spend time with.
MP: Since the start of the New Year you guys have been playing phenomenal hockey, what changed?
HUGHES: All of my teammates were really disappointed after the performance in Las Vegas but our goal since has been to go 18-3 afterwards so our coach has been pushing us. We just started fighting harder to make sure nothing like that happened again.
MP: You have six games remaining on the schedule before the playoffs, what do you expect in your last three against the Brahmas and your final series against the Ice Jets?
HUGHES: Winning the first half of this series against the Brahmas was big for us and I think that they will be a little scared and a little timid when they come into our building now. And the Ice Jets were good for the first part of the season against us but I really don’t see us losing another game the rest of the season.
MP: Points-wise you personally have had a good season averaging a point per game; however, you have three game winning goals, only one short of Szustak. How do you turn it up and morph into Mr. Clutch when your team needs it most?
HUGHES: I get a lot of support from my teammates and they rely on me more during those pressure situations. I know I need to step up and do it for them. It’s really a confidence and team support thing; those really push me to want to be that guy.
MP: You’re a young guy with a bright and promising future so what are you hoping to do with your hockey life?
HUGHES: The dream is to keep moving up the junior levels and get some college paid for. Getting pro is a long time from now but I’ll just keep working and do what I can.
MP: Trey is an interesting name; I used to play football with a guy who went by that. Is there a story behind your parents naming you that?
HUGHES: Well my dad had a really weird name with Trey in it and my mom didn’t like it so they just shortened it to Trey. I can’t really remember what he wanted the name to be though, but not quite as interesting of a story there as you might think.
MP: El Paso is hosting the Thorne Cup Tournament this season so regardless if you win it or not, it will be in your building. Will that put any fire into your team to keep it there or do you think it could be a distraction?
HUGHES: I think it’ll put a lot of fire into our team. We have great fan support and that makes it difficult for others to play in our barn. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all and it will be a good thing for it to be here. The fans will keep us leveled.
MP: What does it mean to this city, this franchise, and yourself to have the tournament here at home?
HUGHES: The city loves it. There’s obviously not a lot of hockey that goes down in Texas, but the Hermans really brought the city around so this will be a really big thing for them and will only help hockey grow.
MP: You are six games away from winning all but two games in 2012, what does that feel like?
HUGHES: It feels great, although it was really expected by our coach. Our team just needed to realize we have the potential to make it happen so once the wins started coming we started believing a little bit. Coach works us hard and with the wins, our confidence started to build. Once that train started rolling it just wouldn’t stop.
MP: What can we expect out of the Rhinos this weekend?
HUGHES: Expect a lot of goals. After these last three games the Brahmas will probably come in to pick a lot of fights with us so expect that. But they aren’t going to be able to touch us at all this weekend.
Matt Prosser, El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com. 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 KSSU 1580AM in Sacramento and KSSU.com. Also broadcasts Hornets football, baseball, and softball. E-mail MProsser58@gmail.com for comments and writing ventures. Follow on Twitter @kssuMattProsser or visit www.kssusportscycle.com.