Rhinos Edge Ice Jets in Thriller, 4-2
(EL PASO, TX) — The El Paso Rhinos’ gave the Dallas Ice Jets 13 power plays, had their starting goalie thrown out with a match penalty, but still won a tough, physical game Saturday night, 4-2.
New forward Eric Baldwin scored the game-winning goal in the second period and the Rhinos’ penalty kill made it stick, despite an extended two-man advantage for the visitors as El Paso was whistled for six penalties over the final 4:12 of the frame.
The Rhinos had no power plays of their own; but of their 13 opportunities on the man advantage, the Ice Jets could only manage one power play goal, an early third period marker from Bryan Siersma at the end of the blizzard of penalties.
After getting blown out by El Paso, 12-2, in Friday night’s series opener, head coach Paul Taylor’s Dallas squad was determined to show their mettle Saturday night. But despite the Ice Jets controlling the play through much of the opening frame, the Rhinos were first to score as team co-captain Dakota Beaulieu popped in a rebound off of goalkeeper Vladimir Slyusarchuk at 15:45.
Peter Plesa scored the second El Paso goal just 1:24 into the second period, one-timing the draw won by brother Nick top shelf to give the hosts some breathing room.
James Bohan tightened things up for Dallas, though, scoring unassisted on a delayed penalty call at 4:46. But it took only 35 seconds for the Rhinos to regain their two-goal lead, as Beaulieu picked the puck away from the Ice Jets in stride at his own blue line, then sent in a tape-to-tape pass from the right circle to Baldwin, who one-timed the game-winning goal at 5:21.
Siersma scored at 3:29 to get Dallas back within one, 3-2, and it looked like momentum was truly with the Ice Jets when El Paso’s starting netminder, Adam Vay, was given a match penalty for trying to punch a Dallas player with his blocker. But the Rhinos survived the resulting five-minute major before centerman Tom Bartel salted the game away, one-timing a lively bounce off the end boards at 16:49.
El Paso earned its 37th win of the season against just two losses all season. The Ice Jets dropped to 23-13-1-2.
The two teams play once more Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825), or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.