Rhinos Anniversary

Join The Conversation

Mobile App


Just Chirp'n 6

10/15/2009 2:48 PM -

Just Chirp’n #6  2009-2010 
October 15, 2009

by Michael Hissam

Déjà vu.  Sort of.

Ten years ago this weekend at the Blades Multiplex in Rio Rancho, N.M., Peter Ambroziak, an up-and-coming player for the New Mexico Scorpions, skated onto the ice to tangle with the El Paso Buzzards and no-sass, “hard-work” forward Cory Herman.

This weekend, Ambroziak and Herman meet again:  same location, no skates.  Each will pace the bench as head coach respectively of the New Mexico Renegades and El Paso Rhinos hockey teams.
Rivalry reborn.  
Those Buzzard-Scorpion battles featured just about everything, including a hockey game.  You knew something was going to happen, in El Paso or up in Duke City.  You didn’t know what – either on the ice or in the stands or the runways back to the locker room – but it would be something, as in mayhem.  Those stories get better, especially with consecutive sasparillas.
Back to 2009.
Both coaches feel the excitement of the re-kindled rivalry.  El Paso fans are asking Herman for directions to get to that rink a slap shot north of Albuquerque.  “El Paso-New Mexico is always a great rivalry,” said Herman.
Polar opposites in the standings, Herman told his 8-1 division-leading team not to look at who-is-where on the sport pages.  “They’ll throw everything at us.  We need to play them as though they are second place.  They’ll be riled up.  They’ll have a full house.  As with every other team, they’ll say, ‘We want to beat those El Paso guys!’” 
Ambroziak’s gang already has lined up the proverbial kitchen sink.  “My guys want to show the league we are here.  I know the Rhinos will not take us for granted.  There could be an upset; it’s hard work every shift!”     
New Mexico’s coach pointed to goalie Colton Ishmael and defenseman John Connolly as keys to any upset.  “Look beyond the goals against, and Ishmael has been a great surprise.  Connolly, from Scotland, is a leader with skills for the next level.  He’ll get the (13) rookies to step it up.”
Over the past two weeks – a bye weekend in there – Herman had the Rhinos working progressively “tough practices,” with an emphasis on game situations.  “You’re up 5-4 with a minute to go, or you’re down a goal with a minute to go.
“We also worked with our new guys to understand the philosophy, ‘Practice the way you play.’  Each day you improve.”
That practice philosophy extends into peppering your own goalies with “everything you got” on practice shots, as well banging up your own defenseman with a solid forecheck.
Real hockey.
Speaking of goalies, Herman will have to decide between Max Dizgun and Keenan Wallace, both 17- year olds to replace star netminder Andrew Duff, injured in Tulsa.  Dizgun shut out the Rampage in his first El Paso start.
Ambroziak and Herman love the new schedule which later this season will see one or two games a weekend in one city, then jump on I-25 toward the other to round out the set of three.


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