The El Paso Rhinos scored five goals in the first period, including two in the opening minute, and Arthur Hollinger stopped all 22 shots from the Texas Renegades as El Paso shut down their Fort Worth hosts, 9-0, Saturday afternoon.
Braxton Green scored eight seconds into the game and Bill Krueger added another just 45 seconds later for a 2-0 lead before both teams had time to cycle through a complete set of shifts.
Rhinos forward Jeffrey Schmudlach notched his second straight hat trick in as many nights, including two short-handed strikes, getting his first “shortie” at 10:21 of the second period, then scoring both El Paso goals in the third period – a short-handed goal at 9:36 and the last of the night at 12:25.
Austin Balko scored twice, on a power play at 7:22 of the first and at 13:39 of the second period.
Balko’s goal was followed by Anthony Knuth at 7:46 and just over a minute later John Scorcia capped the first period onslaught on the power play.
While El Paso’s offense poured 61 shots on Renegade’s goalies Kyle Sykes and Hunter Shaw, the Rhinos’ defense was holding Texas to a mere 22 shots, all turned away by Hollinger for his second shutout of the season.
“Our defensemen really played well again, and with five goals in the first period I guess you have to say we had a really good start,” said El Paso head coach Cory Herman. “Our transition was solid, too, but we just need to work on turning the puck over around the blue line.”
One interesting piece of El Paso hockey history – the Renegades play their games at the Fort Worth Convention Center, formerly the Tarrant County Coliseum in downtown Fort Worth. Ten years ago, the El Paso Buzzards won their last championship in the 11,000-seat building, clinching the 1998 Western Professional Hockey League title with a pair of wins in Fort Worth to sweep the Fort Worth Brahmas in four straight.
The El Paso Rhinos run their record to 4-0 with 12 points, behind Tulsa and San Antonio in the Mid-West Division, as each of those teams have seven wins and 21 points by virtue of having played more games.
The Rhinos will play the Hawks Sunday afternoon before returning to El Paso in time for classes Monday. After heading to the Alamo City for three games against the San Antonio Diablos next weekend, the Rhinos will open their home schedule Friday, Oct. 24, with a weekend series against the Tulsa Rampage – a rematch of the Mid-West Division finals from El Paso’s Thorne Cup-winning season this last winter.
For more information and for season tickets, call the Rhinos at 915.479.PUCK (7825).