The El Paso Rhinos – who lost 4-3 in overtime on Friday night – scored at will on Saturday to force a Conference Final deciding game three on Sunday. The final score in front of a sold out Sierra Providence Events Center was 8-2.
The Oklahoma City Blazers scored two power play goals against Rhinos goaltender Adam Vay – the first after only three minutes of play. The Rhinos would then score six goals in a row before the second for the Blazers.
The first goal for the Rhinos came only two minutes after the Blazers made it 1-0. Defenseman Robert Horak began what would be a four point day with a blast from the blue line that made it past OKC goaltender Jakub Krejci. Before the Rhino onslaught was over, Krejci would be on the bench watching backup Braden Lajoie finish out the game.
Just as it looked like the teams would head to the locker room at first intermission tied at 1-1, Rhinos leading goal scorer Jiri Pestuka would net a goal with only a minute left. Forward Bryton Tomko and Pestuka had a two on none breakaway and Tomko set Pestuka up with a beautiful cross ice pass.
The Rhinos would end the second period up 4-1 following goals by forward Jonah Pearson and Jeramy Rezaeepour. Rezaeepour — the player in the penalty box for the Blazers first power play goal following an iffy call early in the game – made amends by finishing the night with a hat trick. Rezaeepour’s second goal came when he slapped the rebound from forward Kendal Craig’s shot out of the air. This would prove to be the final goal that Krejci would see – from the ice — on the night.
The Rhinos would score two power play goals late when the Blazers – much like they have done in each game that they have lost to the Rhinos this season – began to rack up the penalty minutes late in the game. Before the period was over, defenseman Brennan Johnsson would net a blast from the point and Rezaeepour would round out his hat trick. The Blazers ended the third period with 45 penalty minutes in total.
The Conference Finals will be decided tomorrow at 4:30pm at the Sierra Providence Events Center.
Photo Credit: Sports Town El Paso