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10/17/2016 10:09 AM -
With a final score of 18-0, the Rhinos swept the Arizona Hawks after blanking them in game three.
For the second consecutive game, Hunter Cooley opened the game with a goal. Seventeen more unanswered goals followed. Arty Laukaitis, Joe Roach, Evan Camba, and Drake Cartwright also netted one goal each during the first period. Alex Johanson earned a natural hat trick when he finished the first twenty minutes with two goals only to score the Rhinos’ first goal of the second period. Most impressively, the Illinois native’s first two goals were only 18 seconds apart.
With three goals and one assist already on the scoresheet, Johanson, with the help of Chaseton Sare, set up linemate Hunter Cooley for his third goal at 10:35 of the second. Cooley would score again in the third period, earning his fourth goal of the game and his thirteenth goal of the series. Arguably the best line on the team, Sare, Johanson, and Cooley had seven goals in Sunday’s game alone.
For the relentless Rhino forwards, hat tricks were plenty. In addition to Cooley and Johanson, Joe Roach and Evan Camba also netted three goals in Sunday’s win. Jayden Ritchie also finished the game with a pair of goals.
While the offense stayed busy, El Paso’s physicality and defense never dwindled. Chaseton Sare and Simon Hobbis both dropped their gloves for their first fights of the season. Despite having eight penalties throughout the game, the Rhinos killed each one and came up with two shorthanded goals. Rookie netminder Kobe Bridges only faced 18 shots through three periods, but he stopped them all, earning his first junior start, win and shutout.
Confirming their usual offensive power, the Rhinos posted 54 goals in the three games against the Arizona Hawks. Although their defense was hardly tested, both Rhino goaltenders only allowed four goals collectively. As they prepare for the San Diego Sabers, who are currently ranked second in the WSHL’s Western Division, the Rhinos will look to further polish their offense and continue building a strong defense.