After their game Sunday evening the El Paso Rhinos held their first-ever “Paint The Ice” party, which was appropriate — the team had just finished tagging the Tulsa goal in a 12-1 win to stay within a point of top spot in the WSHL’s Mid-West Division.
El Paso applied a third coat after a 12-0 win to open the series Friday and a 7-1 win Saturday, sweeping the Junior Oilers with another thorough effort Sunday afternoon as Chaseton Sare and Artur Laukaitis each scored twice and the Rhinos got goals from 10 different players.
Sare finished with First Star of the Game honors after a six-point performance, earning four assists to go with his 40th and 41st goals of the season. He becomes the ninth player in Rhinos team history to top 40 goals in a season.
El Paso peppered the Jr. Oilers with 66 shots in the game. Rhinos goalie Angus Campbell stopped 11 of 12 Tulsa shots.
El Paso (35-9-2, 72 points) leapfrogs Oklahoma City (35-12-1, 71 points) to sit one point behind the first-place Springfield Express (36-12-1, 73 points) with games in hand on both teams in the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Express will wrap up its regular season in El Paso next weekend in a pivotal three-game series with the Rhinos next Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 5, at 4:30 p.m. MST. It’s the final home series of the regular season for El Paso as the Rhinos head to Wichita the week after to finish the regular season against the Junior Thunder.
Not only are the Rhinos looking to earn the Mid-West Division crown back from the defending champion Blazers, but also home-ice advantage throughout the divisional rounds of the Thorne Cup Playoffs.
After the game, El Paso had its first-ever Paint The Ice night, as fans were encouraged to paint pictures on the the ice surface with paint supplied by the team. Players and fans alike painted cartoons, logos, spelled out their names and more in what is sure to become a team tradition.
Pictures from Paint The Ice night are below. For tickets and information for the last homestand before the Thorne Cup Playoffs, contact the Rhinos’ front office at 915.479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.