The Rhinos Fight to Sweep the Avalanche
The first period of game one against the Avalanche saw no goals from El Paso or Ontario. Despite the lack of points, the period was not uneventful. El Paso’s Donald Alchin and Ontario’s Reid Bosse eventually scuffled after chatter throughout the first period.
During the second period, defenseman Connor Mullins put the Rhinos on the board when he scored a power play goal after Ontario took delay of game and elbowing penalties. Fourteen seconds later, Austin Simpson earned the Rhinos’ second power play goal of the game, giving the Rhinos a two goal lead. Cole Richardson and Ontario’s Reid Bosse along with Jake Kopinski and Joseph Aguirre of the Avalanche all received fighting majors before Max Kamper scored an unassisted goal to end the second period.
With the one-man advantage, Ian McCollum netted the Rhinos’ fourth goal to start the third period. Less than two minutes later, Jesse Zaharichuk matched McCollum’s goal and finally put the Avalanche on the board. Chaseton Sare earned the final goal of the game, solidifying a final score of 5-1.
Early in the first period on Saturday, William Ma gave the Avalanche the lead. El Paso’s Adam Stalzer evened the game before Sare earned his second goal of the series when he also beat Avalanche netminder Filip Subrt. With just under four minutes remaining in the first, the Avalanche tied the game at two with a goal from Jeremy Van Dyke. The Rhinos were denied any goals during the second period while Ontario netted one, earning the lead for the first time in the game.
Only 46 seconds into the third period, Phillip Pugliese, helped by Stalzer and Carlo Wittor, tied the game at three. A minute later, John Doyle scored the game winning goal, making the final score 4-3.
On Sunday, Ontario scored first, putting El Paso down for only the second time of the season. The Rhinos were unable to score during the first period, despite 17 shots on goal. Ontario increased their lead to two when William Ma slipped one past Kayden Pickles just before the 12 minute mark of the second period. Nearing the end of the period, however, Mullins and Wittor scored consecutive goals just over two minutes apart to tie the game at two.
Chaseton Sare gave the Rhinos their first lead of the game when he scored at 10:04 in the second but the Avalanche quickly answered back and tied the game only forty seconds later with Jesse Zaharichuk’s goal.
While both teams were unable to score for the majority of the third period, they each amassed nine penalty minutes. El Paso’s Ian McCollum and Ontario’s Levi Hulston engaged in a scrum and both received game misconducts. Several minutes later, with only seconds left in regulation, the Avalanche got a single shot off forcing Pickles to make a miraculous diving save. After bouncing off the netminder’s chest, Pugliese found the puck, carried it down the ice and buried it with only 9.6 seconds left, giving the Rhinos the game three win and series sweep.
The Rhinos will finally take the ice at home for the first time of the season for their next series. On Oct. 27, 28, and 29, the Hockey Fights Cancer series will feature a jersey auction in which proceeds will benefit the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation. Friday and Saturday games will start at 7 pm and the puck will drop at 4:30 pm for Sunday’s game. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.