El Paso outshot their visitors, 64-15, but credit has to go to Cajun Catahoulas’ goaltender Brendan Parkyn, who nabbed 59 saves for Second Star of the Game honors, and to Lafayette forward Tyler Ridgedell, whose never-say-die approach yielded two of the three goals for the visitors and Third Star honors.
Due to injuries and defections, the Catahoulas are skating a roster of only nine players – eight skaters and a goalie – handing the visitors nearly impossible odds before the first drop of the puck. Despite that, Lafayette skated well.
But the Rhinos were just too much. First Star of the Game was Parker Harrison for his two assists in just his fourth game as a Rhino. The leading scorer for the Colorado Outlaws, Harrison was traded to El Paso for forward Zac MacLeod and defenseman Seth Longbottom.
Bill Krueger started the scoring for the Rhinos at 3:23 of the first, followed by defenseman Bo Hernandez at 7:07 and Jeffery Schmudlach at 15:47.
It looked like the rout was on, but the diminutive Parkyn stood tall between the pipes, not allowing another goal until Nick Gorup was able to break through at 12:41 of the third period, including all 20 El Paso shots in the second frame
Meanwhile, the Catahoulas zapped the Rhinos on the powerplay as Guy Marcoux beat El Paso goalie Darius Mack at 10:50 of the second and Ridgedell notched his first at 13:58.
Gorup’s third period ice-breaker was followed just 27 seconds later by Austin Balko for a 5-2 Rhinos lead, but Ridgedell finished the scoring at 17:27 of the third.
El Paso keeps pace with defending league champion and Western Division leaders, the Phoenix Polar Bears, with its 40th win. The Catahoulas are 5-39-2 on the season.
Due to prior scheduling, the Rhinos and Cajun Catahoulas will once again face off Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. MST. Sunday’s series-ender will start at the usual time of 5:30 p.m. MST. Live game tracking is available at www.pointstreak.com. Just key “WSHL” into the hockey searchbar and follow the links. The game can also be seen with a subscription at www.elpasorhinos.com.