Eric LaBounty notched the Texas hat trick, accounting for all but one El Paso Rhinos goal, while Andrew Duff turned away all 25 San Antonio Diablos shots for his second shutout of the season, as El Paso beat San Antonio, 5-0, at the Northwood Ice Arena in the Alamo City Saturday night.
The Rhinos rolls to 8-0 on the season with one more to play against the Diablos Sunday afternoon.
“Duff did a great job,” said Rhinos head coach Cory Herman. “He really kept us in it in the early going. And LaBounty was just solid.”
LaBounty scored his first 6:55 into the game and followed with another at 14:09 to put El Paso ahead, 2-0, at the end of the first 20 minutes.
A much more game San Antonio team kept at it, but the Rhinos defense was stifling and Duff was there when the Diablos were able to break through.
LaBounty would get the natural hat trick at 2:28 of the second period and John Scorcia would tack on another for the visitors at 18:14 before LaBounty wrapped up the scoring on a two-man advantage at 15:18 of the third period.
“We still need work on our power play,” said Herman. “But five-on-five we did great. The forechecking was solid and we kept the pressure on.”
El Paso will host the Tulsa Rampage in its first homestand of the season beginning Friday, Oct. 24th, at 7:00 p.m. as the Rhinos will honor the 2007-08 Thorne Cup champions with a ring ceremony, unfurling their Western States Hockey League championship banner as well.