Rhinos defenseman Kyle Shapiro scored twice in the third period to break open a tight game and El Paso survived a late Texas Brahmas rally for a 4-3 win.
El Paso (13-5-2) leapfrogs the Brahmas (12-10-3) back into second place in the WSHL\’s Mid-West Division, 28 points to 27.
Texas scored first, as they did in a 6-1 blowout win Friday. The Brahmas\’ Kevin O\’Donnell avoided the Rhinos\’ back-check, wheeled around the left side and got new El Paso netminder, Trent Casper, to go to ground before backhanding his shot top shelf at 8:59 of the first period.
But the Rhinos stormed back after an old-fashioned line brawl to take the lead before the first intermission.
After Fort Worth\’s Nick O\’Donnell high-sticking call set off the fight, El Paso capitalized on the resulting double minor called on O\’Donnell, scoring on each of the resulting power plays.
Defenseman Gunner Bjorklund threaded a shot from the high slot past a screened Anton Olsson at 16:53 and Todd Thomas stuffed home a rebound from Olsson\’s right at 18:34 for the Rhinos\’ first lead of the weekend.
Kevin Filthaut equalized for the Brahmas, scoring the only goal of the second period. But Shapiro lasered a beautiful power play strike over Olsson\’s left shoulder just 34 seconds into the third period for a 3-2 El Paso lead.
Shapiro scored the game-winner at 10:14 — another hard-work goal for the hosts similar to Thomas\’.
Texas pulled Olsson for the extra attacker and it yielded results as Albert Bolush rang one off the crossbar and in at 19:35, but El Paso\’s defense and Casper held on for the win.
The two teams play once more at 5:30 p.m. MST Sunday afternoon. For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.