Ten different Rhinos scored 11 goals as El Paso overwhelmed their hosts, beating the New Mexico Renegades, 11-1, in the final game of a three-game series in Rio Rancho, NM, Sunday afternoon.
Forward Brett Polaski was the only Rhino to score more than once with consecutive strikes exactly 40 seconds apart in the third period, and goalie Trent Casper picked up his 10th win since joining the team last December.
El Paso squandered a 3-1 lead in the third period of Saturday’s game before winning in overtime, 4-3. And it appeared that, after defenseman Brandon Roseboro opened the scoring 10:32 into the game, the Rhinos again took their foot off the gas only to have the game tied – this time by the Renegades’ Cole Fletcher at 14:52 of the first.
It was the last wake-up call the visitors would need, and the resulting Rhinos’ goal-scoring rampage was unrelenting.
Tyler Ridgedell scored the game winner on a power play at 16:38 – less than two minutes after Fletcher’s tally – followed by Ryan Harrison at 18:55.
Another power play goal from D-man Jackson Dorsey at 5:06 of the second period was followed by a short-handed goal from Frankie Posillico exactly 1:10 later.
The Western States Hockey League’s leading scorer Tyler Beasley notched his 29th goal of the year at 11:56. Beasley also had two helpers to bring his league-best assists mark to 37.
Defenseman Chris Wilhite also scored in the second period – his second goal as a Rhino. Wilhite, the younger brother of former Rhinos great Marcus Wilhite, is only 17, but already making a case that he can play at the Junior A level in just his sixth game with El Paso.
The third period saw more of the same, as Todd Thomas, Polaski and Ben Henne all scored.
El Paso (23-9-2, 48 points) is still tied with its next opponent, the Texas Brahmas (22-14-4, 48 points) for second in the Mid-West Division. The teams are only two off the pace set by division-leading Boulder (24-8-2, 50 points).
The Rhinos host the Brahmas in a three-game set that will begin a day early, with Super Bowl Sunday looming at the end of the week. The series runs Thursday, Feb. 3, through Saturday, Feb. 5. All game times will be 7:30 p.m. MST. For tickets and information, contact the El Paso Rhinos’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.