12/18/2011 6:46 PM -
Dec. 17, 2011
LAS VEGAS , NV – For the first game of the WSHL Western States Shootout for the Rhinos, the breaks did not go their way. In an ironic turn of events, El Paso played more disciplined than any game this December in a losing effort as the Boulder Bison skated away with a 4-1 victory.
The story for this game was all about the play between the pipes. Brandon Smolarek for the Rhinos and Hunter Fernandez for the Bison both faced a flurry of shots in a highly offensive game; but where Fernandez stood tall in the blizzard stopping 29 of 30 shots, Smolarek faltered while also facing 30 scoring chances, but only able to keep 37 out of the net. On the other hand, it wasn’t a bad game for Boulder’s Jake Bauer who led the charge with two goals. Don’t worry, no Kiefer Sutherland jokes here.
Despite the loss there are several things to think about after this game. First of all, the last time these two teams faced each other was in early October where El Paso swept Boulder in a three game series; and the Bison came into this game on another three game losing stint. With these two pretences, it isn’t out of the question to think that Boulder felt they had something to prove here. When you mix that with a team that just had a big weekend six days ago, it is a recipe for the tides to change.
It is also important to remember that the Bison are prone to having either a great goaltending performance or a horrible one. In this case, the Rhinos caught them on a good day and suffered a loss because of it. The boys in orange will lace up the skates again on Sunday at 10:15am against the Cheyenne Stampede who are also coming off of a 4-1 loss.
Matt Prosser | El Paso Rhinos Beat Writer | Follow on Twitter @kssuMattProsser
Matt Prosser is a freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past two seasons he has been the voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and is the host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU 1580AM in Sacramento and KSSU.com. His other broadcasts include Hornets football, baseball, and softball as well. To get in touch with Matt for comments and writing ventures please e-mail him at MProsser58@gmail.com