It was the second shutout in the three-game series, including both Holllinger’s Sunday effort and Anthony Natali’s blank slate in Friday’s 9-0 win. El Paso outscored Colorado , 26-3, in the three games.
The Rhinos win streak is the longest currently in the Western States Hockey League and the second longest this season next to the Phoenix Polar Bears’ 26 straight.
Austin Balko started the scoring at 9:19 of the first period, followed by Kowalski’s first of the night on the power play at 12:37.
Kowalski got the only goal scored in a hard-work second period at 14:56.
Nick Gorup put in El Paso ’s second on the man advantage just 39 seconds into the third, followed by a nifty wrister from Kowalski at 10:43 that found a way past the inundated David Herman, in net for the Outaws.
Defenseman Costi Hinn scored on a bounce deflected in off a Colorado stick at 12:23, followed by Gorup’s second of the night a mere 57 seconds later.
Finally, Eric LaBounty broke away at 15:56 of the third to the Rhinos’ league-leading 17th short handed goal of the season.
El Paso picks up its 37th win of the season against just two shootout losses, leading the WSHL’s Mid-West Division with 74 points. The Outlaws fall to .500 at 18-18-3, but their 39 points puts them firmly in the playoffs as they still lead the Dallas Hawks for the final postseason spot by 17 points.
El Paso went 2-for-4 on the power play, giving it a 28.1-percent success rate, second in the WSHL. The Rhinos penalty kill is currently the best in the league, asEl Paso keeps its opposition from scoring on the man advantage more than 92.6-percent of the time.
Hollinger lowered his goals-against average to 2.12, fifth-best in the league. Natali is second with a 1.93.
Marcus Wilhite still leads Rhinos scorers with 68 points (29g, 39a), good for sixth in the WSHL, but Zach Kohn is just two points behind him with 22 goals, 44 assists and 66 points. Kowalski also finds himself in the league’s top 10, as the hat trick gives him 34 on the season. Along with 29 assists the Highland Ranch, CO, native has 63 points.
The Rhinos travel toTulsa, OK , next weekend to take on the Tulsa Rampage, currently in third place with 58 points. Tulsa is the only team this season to take a full two points out of theSierra-ProvidenceEventsCenter , beatingEl Paso in shootout, 2-1, last October.
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