(EL PASO, TX) — Lukas Znosko scored twice to open and close the scoring in the second period and the El Paso Rhinos rallied to beat the Tulsa Junior Oilers, 7-1, to open the teams’ three-game series Friday night.
Though El Paso outshot the Junior Oilers, 26-3, in the first period, the Rhinos couldn’t beat Tulsa goalie Teke Murphy. The Junior Oilers’ fourth shot gave them the lead just 1:21 into the second frame.
Hunter Best found the puck at the Tulsa blue line and broke up the ice, finding Ivan Bukshevannyy who backhanded his shot past El Paso goaltender Ryan Buttazzoni.
But it took only 1:43 for Znosko to answer, finding the puck behind Murphy’s net and beating the goalie with a wrap-around shot at 3:04.
Znosko’s goal opened the floodgates. David Brancik scored on the power play at 7:04, Clinton Hildebrand scored at 13:08, followed by Jiri Pestuka on the power play at 14:19 and Znosko at 16:34.
Defenseman John Bowen ripped a top-shelf strike in from the blue line 57 seconds into the third frame, then lifted in a beautiful two-line pass to Martin Ha’nl who walked in on Murphy, getting the goalie down on the ice before lifting the puck over his pads at 12:47.
El Paso improves to 32-3-0-0 and leads the Midwest Division with 64 points. Tulsa drops to 7-27-1-0.
The teams play twice more, Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. MST, and Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. MST. Sunday afternoon’s game will feature $1 hotdogs.
Team 600 ESPN El Paso is broadcasting all three games over the air and online at 600ESPNElPaso.com. Rhinos home games can also be viewed through America One Sports through a link provided via the Rhinos’ website, www.elpasorhinos.com.
For tickets and information, contact El Paso’s front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or through the website.