El Paso Rhinos Return Home Friday Night
After starting the 2012-13 season with two road trips, the El Paso Rhinos return home for the first time this weekend. The Rhinos are 4-2 to begin their seventh season in the Western States Hockey League and look to continue their dominance at the Sierra Providence Events Center against the Arizona Red Hawks.
Since their inception, the Rhinos have always been a fast team with plenty of scoring. However, they have lacked size and toughness, and despite dominating the regular season, they would get worn down in the playoffs. The Rhinos coaching staff made sure that would not be a problem this season. “Size wise, we are the biggest we’ve ever been,” Rhinos head coach Cory Herman said. “We’re not as fast, but we more than make up for it with our physical approach.” That includes Matej Steiguaf, a 6-foot 7 inch defenseman who came to the Rhinos from Kladno, Czechoslovakia. Another Czech player, 17-year old Daniel Vosyka is 6’5, 200 pounds, and plays right wing. All in all, 14 of the 26 players on the roster are at least six-feet in height.
This week's opponents, the (Peoria) Arizona Red Hawks played the Rhinos tough earlier this season. Coach Herman knows his team will need to be sharp Friday night. "Arizona is a hard working team, they are physical and finish all the checks," Herman said. "This weekend should be another good test for us. In order for our team to be successful we need to play our style of game, keeping it simple, playing our system and being very physical." That physical play has been a big key to the Rhinos' early success. They physically overpowered the Red Hawks in their first meeting of the season. It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments Arizona makes when they drop the puck at the Sierra Providence Events Center Friday night.