In a physical match up for both teams, the Rhinos managed 11 unanswered goals during the second game of the series.
Within seconds onto the ice, Alex Johanson earned a major fighting penalty with Knight, Teighan Keller. The Rhinos tried not to let their aggression get the best of them as they consecutively scored throughout the entire game. Although the Knights earned yet another penalty, Phoenix managed to take a 1-0 lead, thanks to Jared Mickelson and Marcel Hack on the assist. The Rhinos were just warming up, before Brody Surette negated the Knights’ lead. Johanson racked up points for his team to secure the lead by scoring another goal to conclude the first period with a score of 3-1.
Phoenix couldn’t hold back the Rhino stampede as Johanson struck again to earn his hat trick only 8 seconds into the second period. Johanson’s linemate, Chaseton Sare, scored his fourth goal of the series and in turn, helped Johanson earn a Gordie Howe hat trick. The period then took violent turn. Just over four minutes after Sare’s goal, Rhino defenseman Jake Kopinski was ejected for an instigator penalty. Sare dropped the gloves with Phoenix’s Kalum Urton before the fourth fight of the game ensued. Brody Surette and Knight Damion Keller engaged fought it out and received matching fighting majors. In between bouts, new Rhino Jesse Vuorinen (2), David Chachalak and Phil Pugliese helped the Rhino to an impressive 9-1 lead over the Knights at the end of the second.
Skating into the third period, Phoenix received a penalty for having too many men on the ice. Artur Laukaitis saw another scoring opportunity and took it, the Rhinos still with a healthy lead in the third period. Another penalty was called on the Knights before Rhino Adam Cech sat for elbowing. However, Laukaitis notched a shorthanded goal, adding one final Rhino goal to the scoresheet. Despite 66 penalty minutes for El Paso, the Rhinos netminder Tymen Edelkoort held the Knights to only one power play goal.
With a series win in the books, the Rhinos will look for a sweep tomorrow when they take on the Knights for game three.