All season long, the El Paso Rhinos have been one of the most consistent winning teams in the Western States Hockey League. Despite their 26-6 overall record and 11-point lead for first place in the Mountain Conference, head coach Cory Herman is not satisfied. That's why his team practiced at 2:30am Monday morning after a long bus trip back to El Paso from Dallas. His team won two out of three games on the road against the Dallas Ice Jets, but Sunday's 5-1 loss bothered Coach Herman.

"Sunday we didn’t get out to the start we would have liked to," Herman said. "The Ice Jets are a good team and to be honest with you, if you have any mental lapses they will capitalize on it.  I thought when Mikey (Rivera) scored the shorthanded goal, things were turning in our direction. However, we took so very selfish penalties which resulted in us losing the momentum.  I think we are improving each week. We are starting to play our system more consistently now which is good, but we still need to work on playing a full 60 minutes of hockey. I think we are getting closer.  We need more players to buy in; sometimes I think we have some guys just along for the ride"

After winning two out of three games in Dallas, the Rhinos hope to continue their success this weekend when they host the second place Cheyenne Stampede for a key series at the Sierra Providence Events Center. Both teams play a similar physical style of hockey, which should make for three exciting games of hockey.

"It will be like play-off type hockey, faced paced hard hitting that’s for sure and very physical, we have a very fiery rivalry with Cheyenne," Herman added.

The teams will face off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Sierra Providence Events Center. Game times for Friday and Saturday are 7:30pm while Super Bowl Sunday’s game is set for a special 10:30am start time. Coach Herman is not worried about the early start time and short turnaround for Sunday's game. "I don’t think it will be a big deal at all, especially since we are firm believers that practices are harder than games.  With our training center and the amount of practice hours we have each week we should still have a lot of gas in the tank early Sunday morning."

All three games will be broadcast on 600 ESPN El Paso with Duke Keith calling the action.  Single game tickets start as low as five dollars and can be purchased at the Coliseum Box Office or any Ticketmaster location. For more information, call 479-PUCK (7825) or visit

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