(EL PASO, TX) — Jiri Pestuka scored twice — notching the game-winner short-handed — as the El Paso Rhinos avenged a 5-2 defeat night with a 6-2 win over the previously undefeated Oklahoma City Blazers at the Events Center.
The win ties El Paso (12-2-0-0) and OKC (12-1-0-0) for second place in the Western States Hockey League’s Midwest Division with 24 points.
After the Blazers had scorched the hosts, 4-0, in the opening period , the Rhinos had shown signs of life, outshooting Oklahoma City in each successive period, including the first period . But El Paso had nothing to show for their efforts save two goals in the second frame of loss.
Again , OKC scored the opener. After a scoreless first period, Matthew Audette beat goalie Adam Vay through the five-hole with a powerful blast from the left circle at of the second frame.
night’s Rhinos lost their composure after the the Blazers’ opener. Perhaps because of , night’s version of the Rhinos just kept working. The work paid off as Pestuka scored at to even the score, followed by Marek Langhammer’s power play goal at , to give the hosts their first lead of the weekend.
Pestuka notched the game-winner with the El Paso’s second short-handed goal of the weekend just 54 seconds into the third period. After the Blazers won a draw in the El Paso zone, Rhinos defenseman David Brancik got possession of the puck. His clearance bounced straight to Pestuka near the OKC blue line. The Czech winger sent his shot top shelf over Blazers’ goalie Jakub Krejci’s glove for a 3-1 lead.
Kole Hudson scored a power play goal for Oklahoma City just 31 seconds later, but El Paso’s Martin Hanl, Brancik, then Hanl again silenced the Blazers’ rally with three unanswered goals to set up the rubber match for second place in the Midwest afternoon at .
For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos’ front office at 915.479.PUCK (7825), or go to www.elpasorhinos.com. All El Paso home games can be viewed live through AmericaOne Sports as well. Links to see games can be found at the Rhinos’ website.