Defenseman Josh DeLoach earned the game-winning goal and the El Paso Rhinos edged the resilient Tulsa Rampage, 4-3, at the Sierra Providence Events Center Saturday night.
El Paso held a three-goal lead at the end of the second period, out-scoring the Rampage 3-1 in the frame.
Zach Goller opened the scoring in the first period, tipping in Kyle Shapiro’s shot from the right point at 12:53, and the Rhinos were controlling the tempo after being challenged step-for-step in Friday night’s 3-2 loss.
Trevor Erickson tallied for the home team to make it 2-0 at 1:08 of the second before Tulsa’s Michael Criscuolo earned a penalty shot and made the most of it, bleeding a puck underneath El Paso goalie Arthur Hollinger at 11:27.
But the Rhinos’ kept the pressure on, as new forward Casey Lutz tipped in a DeLoach shot at 12:34 and DeLoach cracked one past Rampage goaltender Brent Troyan from the blue line that earned Troyan a trip to the Tulsa bench.
His replacement, Brenden Parkyn did not allow a goal and the Rampage countered with two goals in the third period from Criscuolo at 1:31 and Tony Bruno on the power play at 6:44.
For the second straight night El Paso spent the latter part of the final period killing Tulsa power plays, but the Rhinos’ defense was steady against a ready Rampage team.
Both games of the series have been decided just one goal, but El Paso gave itself seom breathing room atop the WSHL’s Mid-West Division. The defending Thorne Cup champions are now 24-1-1 and, at 49 points, lead Tulsa (21-7-1) by six points.
The third and final game of the series begins Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. MST. For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos offices at 915.479.PUCK (7825) or head to the team’s website, www.elpasorhinos.com.
‘, ‘caption’: None}}