The Rhinos posted 24 goals and blanked the Knights twice in this past weekend's series. With the three wins over the Phoenix Knights, El Paso earned their eighth straight sweep of the season, extending the win streak to 24 games.
Game 1, 10-0 W
On Friday, the Rhinos boasted their offensive strength, posting 10 goals in their shutout of the Phoenix Knights. Austin Simpson had a trick trick and two assists while Chaseton Sare and Ty Erramouspe also saw pairs of goals. Rhino defenseman JC Dubecky tallied 4 assists on Friday as well.
Both teams incurred 10 penalty minutes on 5 penalties, but unlike the Knights, the Rhinos were able to capitalize on the man advantage. El Paso earned three power play goals and Sare even netted a shorthanded goal in the second period.
While Filip Krasanovsky didn’t see much action in the net, the Rhino netminder stopped all 16 shots he faced.
Game 2, 7-0 W
Unfortunately for the Knights, game two in Phoenix had a similar outcome. Filip Krasanovsky and the Rhinos blanked the Knights for the second game in a row. After Saturday’s win, Krasanovsky earned his sixth shutout of the season and tied the franchise shutout record.
Seven different Rhinos earned goals to contribute to the seven-point win. Rookie forwards Jared Marquette and Jayze Dundas-Schwartz both earned their first Rhino goals and helped lift El Paso over Phoenix.
Game 3, 7-4 W
Phil Pugliese, with the help of Cole Richardson put the Rhinos on the board early in the first period of Sunday’s matinee game. Max Kamper scored the Rhinos’ second goal of the game, but El Paso’s two goal lead was cut to one when Phoenix’s Anthony Masanotti earned a power play goal just before the end of the first period. With Masanotti’s goal, Rhino goaltender Filip Krasanovsky finally allowed a goal after 136 minutes.
The Knights held the Rhinos scoreless in the second period and evened the game at two after a goal by Joseph Platt’s power play goal.
Just over three minutes into the third, Phil Pugliese’s second goal of the night gave the Rhinos the lead once again. Adam Stalzer increased the Rhinos’ lead by a goal before Phoenix scored two goals back to back to come within one point of El Paso. Rhinos Austin Simpson and Ian McCollum also scored consecutive goals before Ty Erramouspe ended the game with an empty netter, making game three’s final score 7-4.
Not having lost a game yet, the Rhinos sit at the top of the Western States Hockey League’s Midwest Division. However, the also unbeaten Oklahoma City Blazers will travel to the Sun City for the Rhinos’ next home series this weekend. Ranked second in the Mid-Western division behind El Paso, Oklahoma City has posted 205 goals in 21 games.
The final home series of 2017 will be Military Appreciation Weekend in Rhino Country! All military members and veterans with a valid military ID will receive free tickets for themselves and their families for this series and every series throughout the season. The Rhinos will wear military themed jerseys on Friday and Saturday. The game-worn jerseys will then be auctioned off following Saturday’s game. The Rhinos will also recognize active and retired military members and veterans from El Paso area during each game of the three-game series. On Saturday, one active duty military member will shoot to win a new Ford truck, courtesy of Shamaley Ford.
The puck will drop at 7 pm on Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9, and at 4:30 pm on Sunday, December 10, at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center (4100 E. Paisano). Tickets start at $5 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the El Paso County Coliseum Box Office at 915-533-9899.