Rhinos Anniversary

Join The Conversation

Mobile App


Rhinos 4, Ice Jets 2

03/18/2012 10:52 AM -

For the second straight night, El Paso Rhinos' goaltender Trent Caspar was clutch when it counted, not allowing a goal in the third period.

For the second straight night, the El Paso Rhinos edged the Dallas Ice Jets for the win, sweeping Dallas aside Saturday, 4-2, for a second straight Mid-West Conference championship.

The conference crown earns El Paso a better seed in the Thorne Cup Finals in two weeks, though both the Rhinos and Ice Jets will be in the four-team championship tournament -- El Paso as hosts, the Ice Jets representing the conference.

Nonetheless, the win was important for a team that finished the regular season with questions about its ability to play a full 60 minutes, especially after Dallas nearly became the first team to sweep the Rhinos in El Paso in a three-game series at the end of the regular season. Only a furious three-goal rally by the Rhinos in an overtime win kept that from happening.

Those questions lingered after a heavily-favored El Paso squad dropped the second game of the best-of-three conference semifinal to New Mexico last weekend.

This was different.

Caspar's third period play was key in both wins this weekend. Though he allowed three in a 4-3 Rhinos win in Game One Friday night, the Minnesota native stopped all 10 Ice Jets shots in the third period of that game.

He stopped all eight Dallas shots Saturday, and the hard-hitting El Paso defense didn't allow the high-flying Ice Jets offense to lift off all night. One of the fastest teams in the Western States Hockey League, Dallas' shot totals never hit double digits in any period of the series-clinching win; and the hosts outshot the Ice Jets, 35-25, in the game.

The Rhinos struck first on the power play with the only goal of the opening frame, as Nelson beat Dallas goalie Michael Baldwin at 15:57.

El Paso made it 2-0 on Trey Hughes' goal at 3:18 of the second before the Ice Jets could answer.

Sam Akins scored at 9:47 for the visitors, but less than three minutes later the Rhinos and David Nelson were able to notch another to make it 3-1.

However, Dallas got the last goal of the period in the last second of the period, as Jefferson Wright scored on the power play at 19:59, making the score 3-2.

But the third period belonged to the goalies. While Caspar stopped eight, Baldwin shut down all of the 11 shots he faced from El Paso.

Baldwin made 31 saves on the 34 shots that came his way on the night, but wasn't in net for the last shot of the game -- team captain Mike Rivera's empty-netter that clinched the win at 19:58.

The Ice Jets will return to El Paso in two weeks for the Thorne Cup Finals, joined by the champions of the WSHL's West and Mountain Conferences. For Thorne Cup Finals tickets and information, contact the Rhinos' front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825), or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

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