David Fegler broke open a 2-2 stalemate in the second period and defenseman Josh Deloach added two of his own, as El Paso made it three-in-a-row over the Colorado Outlaws with a 6-2 win at the Sierra Providence Events Center Sunday.
With the win, the Rhinos move into a tie atop the Mid-West Division of the Western States Hockey League with the San Antonio Diablos, each team with 28 points. El Paso earned its 14th victory against one loss, while San Antonio is 14-4-0, having played three more games.
Sunday’s game started much the same as Saturday’s 7-6 overtime nail-biter, as the Outlaws scored two goals to open the game, including the first just 1:16 into the game as Curtis Smith took advantage of a scrum in front of Andrew Duff’s net to pop the puck past the Rhinos goalie.
Matt Butler was credited with a power play goal for Colorado at 7:30 of the first, but that was all the Outlaws could muster as El Paso woke up both offensively and defensively.
Duff, who started the night with the league’s best goals-against average with a stellar 1.17, picks up his seventh win in seven tries, getting better support from his defense after Colorado’s opening markers.
The Rhinos pressure offense finally started to click, as Zach Goller, playing on the first line, forced his own rebound past Outlaws keeper Darius Mack at 11:03 of the first.
Less than 90 seconds later, Deloach found himself the last man with the puck on a 4-on-1 break for El Paso, tying the game, 2-2.
Fegler notched the game-winner on a lapse of judgment between Colorado’s Jake Elliot and Mack. Mack stopped a Rhinos’ dump-in shot and Elliot set the puck down to clear the zone, but failed to notice Fegler bearing down from his right.
Fegler arrived on Elliot’s backswing and putted his tee shot between the two Outlaws and into the net at 10:40.
As easy as the game-winner was for Fegler, his second at 12:57 was slightly higher in its degree of difficulty. Taking a pass from Anthony Knuth atop the right circle, Fegler fired on a dead run and tucked his blast just inside the far post.
Deloach got his second of the night with El Paso short-handed, starting the Rhinos break-out by standing in front of a dump-in pass, then depositing a last-second pass from Nick Gorup neatly over Mack’s left shoulder for the top shelf goal at 19:30 of the second.
The Rhinos finished out their scoring on the power play as Eric LaBounty worked a shot in from low in the right circle at 9:14.
Colorado falls to 5-19-1 and its 11 points keeps them fifth in the six-team Mid-West Division.
El Paso hits the road for three against the Mid-West’s last place team, the Dallas Hawks, next weekend.