(EL PASO, TX) — Hampus Akesson stopped all 30 shots he faced and the Superior RoughRiders became the first team in the 10-year history of El Paso Rhinos hockey to sweep the Rhinos in the regular season, winning game and the series, 3-0.
El Paso earned one point out of six available by taking Superior to overtime night, but the Rhinos fall to 3-5-1 and their six points keeps them at the bottom of the Western States Hockey League’s Midwest Division — a division they’ve won in the regular season every year they’ve been in the WSHL.
The game was either team’s for the taking, scoreless through the first period; but it took only 26 seconds of the second frame to change that. Aidan Doughty scored on the power play, tucking in a perfect near-post strike just between the right post and El Paso goalie Nikifor Mukharev’s skates.
It would stay 1-0 to the visitors through the rest of the frame though the Rhinos continued to have their chances, but a disastrous start to the third period doomed a team with an offense struggling to score goals.
Scott Appleby scored his third goal of the weekend just 48 seconds into the third, depositing a bad clearance past a stranded Mukharev, followed just 12 seconds later by a defensive breakdown that allowed Craig Bailey and Marc Demers to walk in on the beleaguered Mukharev. With the goalie forced to track Bailey, he had only to pass to a wide-open Demers to tap it into an empty net at of the third.
Not only did Superior’s win mark the first time the Rhinos have been swept at home or on the road, it’s also the first time El Paso has been shut out at home.
The Rhinos are on the road the next two weekends to face Long Beach, Valencia and Wichita before returning home in three weekends to face off against the Dallas Snipers. For tickets and information, contact the El Paso Rhinos’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.