Rhinos goalie Eddie Fritz earned a shutout in his very first game and El Paso took over first place in the WSHL’s Mid-West Division with an 8-0 win Saturday night.
The defending Mid-West champion Boulder Bison were beaten, 8-2, in Tulsa, so El Paso breaks its tie with Boulder for top spot with only seven games left in the regular season for both teams.
Fritz, joining El Paso to replace injured goalie Keenan Wallace, turned away all 18 Renegades’ shots in his debut.
Centerman Juan Tellez scored twice and six other Rhinos found the net as El Paso improved to 28-9-2 on the season.
El Paso will play one more against New Mexico at 5:30pm Sunday afternoon before traveling to Tulsa next weekend to take on the red-hot Rampage.
Currently in fourth with 39 points, Tulsa can unseat the Texas Brahmas for third place in the Mid-West with a big finish, which would avoid a road trip to the top seeded team in the first round of the Thorne Cup playoffs.
The top four teams in each division advance to the playoffs.
For the Rhinos, first place would mean home ice as long as it can win in the playoffs.
Whichever team takes the Mid-West Division will also host the Thorne Cup Finals as the Western States Hockey League rotates the finals between the Mid-West and Western Divisions each year.