The Rhinos’ special teams carried the day, scoring four of the team’s six goals, as El Paso was 3-for-9 on the power play and added the team’s first short-handed goal of the season in the third period.
Kowalski got the scoring started at 5:50 of the first period, assisted by Zach Hale. Marcus Wilhite made it 2-0 at 13:01 and the Rhinos never looked back.
All El Paso goals in the second period were scored with the man advantage, as Kowalski danced in unassisted at 5:01 of the second period, Nick Gorup was fed by Costi Hinn and Zach Kohn at 9:04 and, after a Colorado goal from Braxton Green less than a minute later, Kowalski got his hat trick at 18:22 with the assist from Jeffrey Schmudlach.
Hale, Hinn, and Schmudlach saw their first action of the season this weekend after dealing with health issues over the first two weekends of action.
Kevin Coyne rounded out the Rhinos’ scoring with his short-handed goal at 12:57 of the third, assisted by Bo Hernandez and Schmudlach.
“We just wore them out tonight,” said El Paso head coach Cory Herman. “They took a lot of penalties to slow the game down this evening, but the kids just rolled with it and got it done.”
The Outlaws lived up to their nickname a bit, whistled for 45 PIMs on 13 penalties while the Rhinos had four penalties and spent just 11 minutes in the penalty box.
Hollinger remains the top goaltender in the Western States Hockey League with a 1.57 goals against average, the only netminder in the league under 2.00.
El Paso is the WSHL’s lone unbeaten team, as the Rhinos beat Colorado 3-2, Friday night in the first game of the three-game series. The two teams play once more tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. MDT.
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