(EL PASO, TX) — Trey Hughes and Matthew Plesa scored twice and the El Paso Rhinos improved their lead atop the Midwest Division with an 11-1 win here Sunday afternoon.
El Paso (12-0-0-0, 24 points) remains the only undefeated team in the Western States Hockey League, having taken top spot in the division with Saturday\’s shutout win. Texas drops to 10-10-1-0, tied with the Dallas Ice Jets with 21 points.
As he did Saturday night, Hughes scored an early opening goal; Sunday’s coming just 31 seconds into the game.
For the third consecutive game, the Rhinos scored three goals in the first period with at least one goal coming from special teams play.
Matthew Plesa scored at 5:15 and Dakota Beaulieu tallied El Paso’s league-leading 9th short-handed goal at 17:02 — his team-best 13th goal of the season.
Plesa earned his second at 5:55 of the second period, the first of a five-goal onslaught in the second frame. Amarillo native Kendal Craig scored on the power play, a hard wrist shot that beat goalie Ryan Mulka five-hole at 9:41.
Matthew Plesa’s brother Nick — part of a trio of brothers, including Peter, who come to El Paso from Calgary, AB — scored to make it 6-0 at 10:30 of the second, chasing Mulka from net in favor of Domenic Contrino.
Hughes scored his second into an empty net off a nifty pass from defenseman Elliot Herz at 13:28. Herz deliberately fired the puck wide of the net pulling Contrino off his line. The puck bounced perfectly to Hughes who one-timed it in to make it 7-0.
Jeremy Rezaeepour made it 8-0 with a power play goal at 14:46.
Anatoly Upsanyev got the visitors on the board at 2:54 of the third, but defender Nick Wright, affectionately referred to as “Sasquatch”, scored his first goal as a Rhino at 7:35, followed by Chad Cesarz at 11:49 and Andrew Bradford, who wrapped the scoring at 16:58.
The Rhinos head to Wichita, KS, for a three-game series against the Junior Thunder over Thanksgiving weekend before returning home for Thursday through Saturday series against the Tulsa Junior Oilers, Dec. 12-14.
For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos\’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.