Rhinos 6, NM 0

Renegades Treated Like Outlaws in El Paso
Mar. 09, 2012

El Paso, TX – After a rough series against the Dallas Ice Jets and a week off, the El Paso Rhinos are back to their winning ways as they roughed up the New Mexico Renegades 6-0 in round one of the WSHL Mid-West Conference Playoffs. Throughout the season, the Renegades play the Rhinos better than most teams as they scratched for two wins in the six game series.

Coming into the opening round of playoffs there were a lot of questions surrounding El Paso. After dropping two games of their final series, many were uncertain if this team would play their best given that they already have spot in the Thorne Cup Championships. However, the orange and black were more than inspired after a tough two weeks of practice to prepare for the post-season.

The Rhinos just dominated the Renegades. It was a quick start with a 1-2 punch at the six minute mark of the first period as Kyle Stephens and Craig Hanisch scored within 21 seconds of each other. Hanisch’s goal would be the only one not scored on special teams of some sort.

The second period wouldn’t be much different as Tyler Basham got his first goal of the playoffs while Cole Dodson was sitting in the box for New Mexico. That goal came with a rare goalie-assist for Trent Casper who had possibly his best game of season stopping all 16 shots thrown at him. Trey Hughes closed out the period with a shorthanded goal as well.

If four goals wasn’t enough to finish off the Renegades, the third period was the final twist of the knife as El Paso tacked on another powerplay goal by Tomas Stastny and another shorty by David Nelson. It was a fantastic show for the Rhinos in front of a home crowd of over 1,000 people. And while he allowed six goals, New Mexico goalie Eric Messer still had a standout night despite not having much of a defensive support in front of him. Typically when you make 46 saves in a game you win, but not tonight.

There are still a couple questions remaining for Saturday. Will the Rhinos take the next game lightly after Friday night? Will this game light a fire under New Mexico? If both of those answers are a yes, then expect the exact opposite as the Renegades are just a good team in hiding. However if both are no, we may just have to copy this article for publishing on Sunday. And if the answers are different, this should get a heck of a lot more interesting.

Matt Prosser, El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com. Founder of Fifty8 Productions and freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU1580 Sacramento. For comments and writing ventures e-mail Matt@Fifty8productions.com. Follow on Twitter @MattProsser58 or visit www.kssusportsycle.com.