New Rhinos John Scorcia and David Fegler each scored twice and El Paso has started the 2008-09 Western States Hockey League season where they left off – winning on the road. The Rhinos downed the San Antonio Diablos, 9-2, Sunday afternoon at the Northwood Ice Arena.
The defending Thorne Cup champions beat the Polar Bears in Phoenix to take the WSHL title and have continued their winning ways in league play, taking their first nine straight on the road for a full 27 points as they return to El Paso to open the home season against Tulsa next weekend at the Sierra Providence Events Center.
Rhinos goaltender Arthur Hollinger picked up his fifth win, turning away 22 of 24 Diablos’ shots.
Team captain Nick Gorup got El Paso on the board first, scoring a power play goal 1:15 into the game, starting up what would be a five-goal first period.
Jeffery Schmudlach scored his team-leading 12th goal just over two minutes later, followed by Kevin Davis at 5:15, Scorcia with his first at 7:06 and Trevor Erickson at 16:24.
The Rhinos and their hosts traded goals in the second period, each team scoring two, as Scorcia and Austin Balko tallied for the visitors at 3:51 and short-handed at 12:05, respectively.
But the third period belonged to El Paso and Fegler, finally pushing a couple past San Antonio netminder Anthony Maroney at 16:53, then scoring the last goal of the night one second from time.
“Fegler played really well, and so did Artie (Hollinger),” said Rhinos head coach Cory Herman. “Overall, we played pretty good hockey this afternoon. Our turnovers were better this game than they’ve been in the other eight.
“But the forechecking is what really gives this team an edge. That’s been solid and it was solid again today.”
El Paso will host the Tulsa Rampage in a three-game weekend series at the SPEC beginning Friday, Oct. 24th. Friday’s and Saturday’s games will start at 7:30 p.m. MDT and Sunday’s series-ender will start at 5:30 p.m. MDT.
Friday night’s first game promises to be a special occasion as the Rhinos unfurl their Thorne Cup banner and present the 2007-08 team with its championship rings.
Call El Paso Rhinos hockey at 915.479.PUCK (7825) for individual game or season ticket information, or log on to www.elpasorhinos.com.