The night had special significance for Kowalski as his mother, Laura, is a cancer survivor. Kowalski took the draw for El Paso in the ceremonial face off before the game as another cancer survivor, Jennifer Lee, dropped the first puck.
Kowalski led the Rhinos with five points on the night – along with his three goals, the 18-year-old also had two assists.
His linemate, Austin Balko, had a pair of goals for El Paso, as did Zach Goller. Also scoring were Bill Krueger, Zach Hale, Nick Gorup and defenseman Costi Hinn.
Anthony Natali picked up the win in goal for the Rhinos, but only had to make four saves. Dallas’ lone goal came just 23 seconds from time in the second period, scored by Jarred Alford.
Natali moved up to fifth in the Western States Hockey League’s goaltending standings with a goals-against average of just 2.28. Natali is directly behind El Paso’s Arthur Hollinger, who is fourth with a 2.15 GAA.
Wilhite is now ninth in the league in scoring with 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points. Right behind Wilhite and tied for 10th is Zach Kohn with 13 goals and 29 assists. Then comes Kowalski, who is now all alone in 12th with 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points.
The Rhinos lead the Mid-West Division of the WSHL by six points over idle Tulsa, 50 points to 44, and still have four games in hand on the Rampage.
El Paso will finish its final homestand of 2007 Sunday afternoon against the Hawks before heading to San Antonio next weekend for three games against their counterparts from the WSHL’s Western Division – including a Sunday showdown against league-leading Phoenix – in the league’s annual hockey showcase. Video webcasting of the showcase is available through the league’s website, www.wshl.org.
The jamboree finishes 2007 for the Rhinos, who will resume their season after the Holidays.
The Rhinos can be seen and heard via the HYPERLINK http://www.b2livetv.com/default.asp?v=Hockey as Duke Keith will have the play-by-play online. Fans can also keep track with live game-tracking provided by “http://www.pointstreak.com/“www.pointstreak.com. Just key “WSHL” into the hockey searchbar and follow the links.