Rhinos 6, Ice Jets 4

Big Battle for Texas Dominance Rages On
Jan. 07, 2012

Grapevine, TX – The state of Texas is defined by a motto: everything’s bigger in Texas. In a state of gigantic hair, oversized boots, and even grand handlebar moustaches, even a hockey rivalry has thrown itself into the big category. The season series between the two most competitive teams in the Lone Star State battled on with another victory for the team hailing from El Paso as the Rhinos continue their fresh start to 2012.

This tilt hosted by the Dallas Ice Jets was one for the ages and the difference was an unassisted shorthanded goal by Dallas Szustak. The Ice Jets opened up the scoring in the first period when Austin Rehwinkel got a feed by Greg Sauers on the powerplay to give Dallas the early lead. They wouldn’t extend this lead until 4:53 into the second period with a goal by Jefferson Wright. The newest Rhino Travis Cornwell, who came over on a trade with the Cheyenne Stampede for forward Carl Graf, got his first two goals in black and orange. In between his pair, Michael Rivera squeezed one past Thomas Scoggin as well.

With the Rhinos sitting at a 3-2 lead coming into the third period Dan Hudson notched a powerplay goal to tie it up. Special teams played a large role in this game with five of the ten goals scored being either on the man advantage or short end.  El Paso continued their relentless onslaught against Scoggin for the next eight minutes before they would finally bury one on a blast by Matthew Pietrzykowski to regain the lead and control of the game.

4:17 later, Pietrzykowski gave the Ice Jets a chance to get the goal back as he went to the box for hooking, however it was his own team that scored while he was on timeout. Szustak would get the game winner on an unassisted shorthanded effort with just under three minutes to go. Hudson would later get his second powerplay goal of the evening on that same man-advantage but that was followed up with an empty netter by Pietrzykowski to make the final score 6-4.

The energy and intensity were certainly nowhere to be missed in this one; in fact this game was a perfect example for why people attend junior hockey games. Physicality set the tone and neither team was willing to let up. What really made the difference for El Paso though were shot totals. When shots are generated, goals occur and that’s what happened here. The Rhinos scored five against Scoggin who faced a whopping 45 shots: a rough day at the office if there ever was one. Trent Casper in the other pipes had a decent outing as well stopping 32 of 36 attempts. This is just what you would expect from two of the most offensive powerhouses in the game so look for this trend to continue in Sunday’s weekend finale. The Rhinos and the Ice Jets won’t face each other again afterwards until the final series of the regular season in El Paso.

Matt Prosser, El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com. Matt is a freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past two seasons he has been the voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and is the host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU 1580AM in Sacramento and KSSU.com. His other broadcasts also include Hornets football, baseball, and softball. To get in touch with Matt for comments and writing ventures please e-mail him at MProsser58@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @kssuMattProsser or visit his website: www.kssusportscycle.com.