Sierra Providence Events Center 2008
Roadrunners 2008

Thorne Cup Day 3

Saturday Simplicity
Apr. 01, 2012

El Paso, TX – Following two days of hard fought hockey, day three of the Thorne Cup Championship Tournament was practically an exhibition event. Neither game would have any outcome on who would play on Sunday since the Dallas Ice Jets (2-0-0) and defending champs Idaho Junior Steelheads (2-0-0) have already secured their places. However, on the negative side of their successes are the two teams that will be on the outside looking in: the El Paso Rhinos (0-2-0) and the Fresno Monsters (0-2-0).

Coincidentally, the two teams who will be playing for the Thorne Cup played each other on Saturday with the Junior Steelheads winning the tune-up 3-2. Idaho scored all three of their goals in the first period beginning with a beautiful one by Ivo Crhak when he received a long pass from the high point by Matt Sanford and went top shelf above Michael Baldwin’s shoulder.  Although there weren’t many shots, Idaho controlled most of the game using their size and forcing Dallas to make some shots that fell lame in front of Josh Benton (Jordyn Kaufer was given the day off).

About halfway through the period Idaho lit the lamp again off of a faceoff draw to the left of Baldwin. Once the puck was dropped, collectively the entire Ice Jets line skated away from the puck that was caught in no-man’s land as if expecting each other to pick it up. Instead, Skyler McKnight did and fired a shot that went wide left, bounced off the boards, and slid left of the goal where Sean VanEysden had no problem putting in the backhand to take a 2-0 lead. Almost immediately after, Dallas went on the penalty kill and Jake Webber banged another one home to take a three goal lead.

The final two periods were some more of the same when it came to grind-it-out hockey. Although shots came more at a premium, the only goal scored in the second period was by Dallas who was hoping to have a repeat of their game on Friday when they rallied from 3-0 to beat Fresno 6-3. This time, the tough earned goal from 15ft out by Christian Elsborg wouldn’t spark the team enough to come back in this one. The Junior Steelheads would only allow one more goal the rest of the game (a long shot by Tommy Mines) to maintain the win.

The game in prime-time was the final one that El Paso fans would see of their Rhinos this season as they played the Monsters in a game that’s only significance would be crowning third place in the tournament. Both teams were shockingly winless entering the match as it very easily could have been them playing for the title. But that wasn’t the case an instead drew the straw to close out Saturday’s play at the Sierra Providence Events Center.

This one was full of back and forth action with lots of physicality. Two teams who felt dejected after their chances at playing on Sunday withered left it all out on the ice to end the season. Fresno struck first when Zach Alvarez scored while Rhinos Kyle Stephens and Matthew Pietrzykowski were each serving two-minute minors. El Paso hardly had a chance to do much damage in the first period as they spent a good portion of it in the box due to three Pietrzykowski penalties (all for Slashing) which left them winded.

The second period however, the penalty minutes would go the other way as Zach Alvarez jumped off the deep end with Roughing, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, and Abuse of the Officials penalties all at the 3:18 mark. The Rhinos still failed to score with the man-advantage. However, Michael Rivera would eventually get them a powerplay goal while Kyle Baker went off for Interference to tie it 1-1. By the end of the period, ten different players sat for timeouts.

Coming back from the intermission Fresno was still serving a David Kann penalty, but that expired and about two and a half minutes later they took the lead off of a Mark Haaf goal. However, it wouldn’t last long as El Paso battled back with a David Nelson blast. John Morales would follow that up with the game-winner ten minutes later and the Rhinos won 3-2 to avoid going winless in the tournament they hosted and ended the season with a victory.

Now that all of the preliminary games have been completed, two teams remain and there will be a rematch of the game from Saturday. But while the Junior Steelheads and the Ice Jets played each other already, it was hardly what we will see on Sunday. With Saturday essentially being worthless, third and fourth liners were given more time while the top players were given more time to rest. With the two teams at full steam for the grand-daddy of the WSHL, this should be the most intense hockey of the season to close it out.

Matt Prosser, El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com. Founder of Fifty8 Productions and freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU1580 Sacramento. For comments and writing ventures e-mail [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @MattProsser58 or visit www.kssusportsycle.com.

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

June 2020
May 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
June 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007