01/22/2011 1:47 AM -
The lanky centerman won some key draws and played solid defense in addition to the marker for his hometown team as El Paso ran its record to 18-9-2. The Rhinos 38 points is still only good for third place in a decidedly tougher Mid-West Division in the Western States Hockey League this season. But El Paso has five games in hand on division-leading Boulder and a full nine games on the second place Texas Brahmas.
After dropping two of three in Boulder last weekend, Friday night’s win answered the bell for a team that was not being as physical as head coach Cory Herman wanted it to be against its opposition.
Rivera, a former student at Chapin High School, was one of those who got the message loud and clear, capping a two-goal second period that answered the Rampage’s equalizer -- scored late in the first period after the hosts had earned a 1-0 lead.
Todd Thomas scored one of the easier goals of his career in El Paso to open the scoring after Tulsa netminder, Hayden Cappuozzo layed out to stop a shot from his left. In the scrum, Thomas found himself with the puck and steered clear of a pile-up near the crease to pop the opening goal into the emptied net at 9:42 of the first.
Rampage leading scorer, Shane Khalaf, scored to tie the game, 1-1, at 17:38 of the first. But Beasley answered after solid foreching yielded the puck for El Paso and defenseman Vinny Bohn. Bohn’s pass sprung Beasley for the breakaway goal at 3:15 of the second.
Rivera scored at 14:26 and a heavy-hitting El Paso defense preserved the win over the final 25-minutes-plus of regulation.
The Rhinos earned some breathing room between themselves and Tulsa, which drops to 17-15-1 – still just three points behind El Paso with two more games in the Sun City, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MST and Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m.
For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825) or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.