Stinging after losing a 2-0 lead and the game Thursday night, the El Paso Rhinos responded with a 4-1 win over the New Mexico Renegades. As a result, the Rhinos are in first place in the WSHL\’s Mid-West Conference for the first time this season.
El Paso\’s Eric Miller scored twice and goaltender Trent Caspar stopped 24 of 25 shots to help the Rhinos improve to 22-7-1. Their 45 points puts them one ahead of the idle Dallas Ice Jets (20-6-4, 44 points).
Friday\’s game started much the same way Thursday\’s did, as the hosts took an early lead off Nicholas Sadow\’s goal at 2:09 of the opening frame.
But, much as with its 3-2 win the night before, and despite being outshot, New Mexico played to its strengths, slowing the game and not allowing El Paso\’s forecheck to spend extended period of time in the Renegades\’ zone.
Again, in the second period, the Rhinos took a 2-0 lead on Miller\’s first goal at 5:06. And, again, New Mexico scored the third goal.
The difference was that El Paso scored the fourth goal, then the fifth in a three-goal second frame to take the game over, then made it all stick by continuing its aggressiveness.
John Morales put the Rhinos up 3-1, ripping a slap shot from right circle past New Mexico\’s Joey MacConnell at 10:18, followed by Miller\’s second goal just 1:21 later.
MacConnell did an admirable job against an El Paso barrage, stopping 51 of 55 Rhinos shots.
The two teams face off once more Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. MST. For tickets and information, contact the El Paso Rhinos\’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.