Weekend Recap Against El Paso
Snipers Drop 3 in Chippy Season Opener - Reigning Thorne Cup Champion, El Paso Rhinos, Sweep Dallas in Aggressive Rivalry Series
By Jason Felts
Any time the Dallas Snipers and El Paso Rhinos get together, it’s bound to be a tough, chippy, and aggressively played series with a fair share of extra-curriculars on the ice. The home opener for the 2018-19 season was no different, as El Paso strolled into Dallas looking to defend their place as the reigning Thorne Cup Champions, bolstered by a winning streak that started way back in December of 2017.
El Paso and Dallas had vastly differently seasons last year as El Paso set a league record by going 49-1-1 in the regular season, including an 11-0 record against the 13-38 Snipers, who mustered a measly 5 goals combined in those 11 matchups. After a highly successful recruiting period in the offseason that brought in 5 World Juniors players, the Snipers looked to open their season with a much-needed win in the Midwestern Division.
The series was aggressive from the get-go, with 4 major penalties issued in the first period. The teams went back and forth through the first two and a half periods thanks to goals from World Juniors players Jasa Jenko (Slovenia) and Leo Selitaj (Croatia), as well as returning center Salomon Aberg (1G and 1A in 8 games last season), but after a stalemate at 5-3 El Paso, the Rhinos was able to net 2 goals in under a minute, deflating the Snipers’ chance at an upset and securing a 9-3 victory in game one.
From there, Dallas would be unable to score in games two and three of the series, as El Paso took those by counts of 7-0 and 6-0, respectively.
It’s not all-hands-on-deck for Dallas just yet however, as the season is still very young, and there were several bright spots that shined above the score line. Starting goaltender Danny Jamison, a Dallas product making his first starts for the Snipers, put up 75 saves in parts of all three games, and after his early departure due to injury in game one, backup goaltender Kyle Plantz put up 20 more to round off game one, followed by 50 saves the next night.
Dallas’ most experienced WSHL unit, the defense of Arvidas Domeika, Simon Birkehorn, Nicklas Pehl, and Mikhail Romanov, will have to generate more goal-scoring opportunities for prolific new forwards like Jenko, Icelandic National Team member Axel Orongan, and returners Eric Eaton and Danil Trenikhin in the coming series’ to help get the Snipers back on track and competitive in the newly reworked Midwestern Division that welcomes in Northern Colorado to fill in Springfield’s exit.
The Snipers will be back in action on the road this weekend as they travel to Cheyenne, Wyoming to take on the Cheyenne Stampede, who were also swept this past weekend by scores of 6-4 and 4-2 by the Northern Colorado Eagles. The games will take place at 7:35 PM MT on 10/12 and 10/13, and 1:00 PM MT on 10/14. Games can be streamed live on BDEHockey.com, and updates can be found on our twitter and Instagram pages, @DallasSnipers.