11/28/2009 11:15 PM
Another 31 shots for the San Antonio Diablos, another shutout for Rhinos netminder Andrew Duff.
Returning to the El Paso lineup Friday night after a knee injury kept him out for nearly two months, Duff celebrated by stopping all 31 shots from the host Diablos in a 7-0 Rhinos rout.
Saturday night San Antonio poured in another 31 on El Paso -- all for naught, courtesy of the young man from Brighton, MI, as the Rhinos win, 4-0.
Offensively, four different El Paso Rhinos scored as the visitors earned their 23rd win of the season to pace the Mid-West Division of the Western States Hockey League.
Defenseman Josh DeLoach started the scoring with an unassisted goal at
3:26 of the first period, followed just over two minutes later by Mike Vallier at 5:21.
The Rhinos would not get on the board again until the third period, standing behind Duff's inspired goaltending until the offense finally got started again as forward Navarone Copley scored at 15:38 to ease the building pressure.
Trevor Erickson wrapped the night's scoring on a short-handed goal at 17:32.
But the story of the night was Duff, now one away from tying Arthur Hollinger's franchise record of 10 career shutouts after his pair of goose eggs Friday and Saturday night.
El Paso improves to 23-3-0 with 46 points, leading the Mid-West Division over the Boulder Bison.
San Antonio falls to 9-16-1, remaining in fourth place behind Tulsa.
The two teams will battle once more Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. MST. The game can be viewed without audio at www.diabloshockey.net.
The Diablos will return the visit Dec. 4-6 at the Sierra Providence Events Center as the Rhinos celebrate Military Appreciation Weekend. El Paso will wear special jerseys in honor of the nation's armed services.
The jerseys will be auctioned off after Saturday's game to benefit Operation Santa Claus, which helps give Christmas presents to underprivileged kids in the El Paso area.
For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos' front office at 915/479.PUCK or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.