Weekend Recap Against El Paso

By Jason Felts

            Anytime the Snipers (4-28-5, 6th in Mid-Western Division) and their cross-state rival El Paso Rhinos (27-5-2, T-1st in the Mid-Western Division) meet up, it’s sure to be an aggressive series with lots of hard hits and exciting plays. When the two teams met up this weekend in Plano, it certainly didn’t disappoint. El Paso came out victorious in all three games, however, and remained tied for the top spot in the Mid-Western Division with the Oklahoma City Blazers.

Game 1- El Paso 7 – Dallas 1

The Rhinos came into the series with 2 players in the top 8 in scoring for the league, and their high powered offense struck first in the first period, picking up a goal just 7 minutes in, then adding another on a powerplay to go into the break with a 2-0 lead. 

Dallas answered back in the 2nd with a goal from defender Alexis Ivansenko with one second left on a powerplay to cut the Rhino lead to 2-1, but El Paso retaliated with a 4-on-4 goal before the end of the period to hold a 3-1 lead at the start of the 3rd.

The wheels started to come off the bus for Dallas for a bit in the 3rd, as El Paso was able to put 2 goals past starting goaltender Alex Moustakas in quick succession midway through the 3rd, before adding 2 more in the following 10 minutes to take game 1 but a count of 7-1.

Game 2- El Paso 4 – Dallas 3

Despite the score from the night before, the Snipers hung well with El Paso for 2 and a half periods, and managed 70 hits on the night. Game 2 started off no differently, as the Snipers were flying around and making hits all night. The Rhinos were able to score shorthanded in the first to hold a 1-0 lead at the end of the period. 

Both teams exchanged blows (figuratively) in the 2nd, as the captain Sterling Cooper grabbed a shorthanded goal of his own to tie it at 1, before the Rhinos took the lead again on an unassisted goal with 2:48 left in the period. Defender Chandler Bedwell responded with another goal for Dallas to knot it at two, but El Paso stole one with 1.7 seconds left in the period to take a 3-2 lead.

Both teams exchanged blows (literally) in the 3rd after El Paso scored to take a 4-2 lead, then a fight broke out between Bedwell and defender Brody Surette for El Paso. Both players were given 5 minute major penalties for fighting, but no ejections occurred. This lit a fire under the Snipers however, as they started a comeback bid with a goal from Chris Mingus to make it 4-3. Time was Dallas’ enemy however, as the clock hit 0 before an equalizer could come through. 

Game 3- El Paso 8 – Dallas 1

Dallas elected to go with backup goalkeeper Brady Weiss for game 3, but El Paso wasn’t fazed, scoring 2 goals in the first 5 minutes. Weiss fell into form however, holding that deficit into the break. 

2 more goals from El Paso capped off a 36 to 19 shots-on-target count through 2 periods in what was a rather clean and quick game three. 

Jaroslav Vasicek picked up a goal to start the 3rd in a replacement role for the injured Peter Kutlak to cut the Rhino lead to 4-1, but El Paso had a quick answer to make it a 4 goal lead again. After a leg injury to defenseman Tyler Estermeyer, El Paso began to coast, scoring 3 more goals before the final buzzer to win game three 8-1, and finish the series sweep.

Dallas will be in action again next weekend in Oklahoma City against the Blazers (28-5-0, T-1st in Mid-Western Division).