After a disappointing ten-game losing streak, the El Paso Rhinos finally won last weekend against the Wichita Jr. Thunder. Some say that winning is contagious, so let’s just hope that the Rhinos can turn things around this weekend when they take on one of their division rivals, the Dallas Snipers.
The Snipers have also struggled as of late, dropping seven of their last eight games. Don’t let the stats trick you though, as most of those games were lost by only a point and remained mostly competitive as well. The Snipers overall record sits at 9-11, with more than half (5) of their wins coming on the road. Their home record (4-10) is surprisingly worse than on the road, so this can be another slight advantage for the Rhinos in this series.
Although the Rhinos have been in a bit of a slump, most of their losses have come from opponents with winning records who are near or at the top of their own respective division. This weekend’s matchup against the Snipers will be crucial though, since divisional games may be the difference between competing for a championship and sitting on the couch come playoff time. One weakness that Rhinos must fix if they want to win any more games this season is their defense. They have allowed 18 goals in the past five games, and if the Rhinos continue to use that same formula, they are going to end up as one of the cellar dwellers of the division.
The Rhinos offensive playmaking hasn’t been as big of a problem as defense, but there is still plenty to improve. Coach Herman’s squad certainly knows how to sling the puck into the net, and this is a feature that must stay consistent. One player that the Rhinos should feature more often is their offensive weapon Connor Beaudet. Beaudet has four goals to go along with one assist in his past two games, so the talent on offense is definitely there to balance out the team.
If the Rhinos truly want to compete in their first year of the WSHL, then their defense has to find a way to get it together. There are simply too many talented teams across the league that are primed to feast on a weaker defense. Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.