Rhinos Sweep Blazers, Stay Undefeated with 6-1 Win in Series Finale
Chaseton Sare notched a hat trick and the El Paso Rhinos swept the Oklahoma City Blazers with a 6-1 win in the series finale Sunday to stay unbeaten on the season at 27-0-0.
The Blazers, who came into the weekend undefeated as well, fall to 21-3-0.
The Rhinos were able to impose their will in each game of the series, playing fast and physical hockey. Sunday, the wear and tear showed in the visitors' game. El Paso outshot OKC, 59-12, in the game, the largest margin of the weekend.
The team's top goal-scorer with 28 on the season, Sare scored a goal in each period.
The Saskatchewan native started the game's scoring with the only goal of the first period at 17:51. Darting from left to right through the high slot, Sare wristed his shot top shelf past Blazers' goalie Bobby Cloutier.
Defenseman JC Dubecky sprang Sare around OKC's defense for his second, coasting around the right wing at 3:18 of the second period. Sare's goal was followed just 31 seconds later by Cole Richardson's blast from the blue line to make it 3-0.
Dubecky would add his own goal on the power play at 7:04 while Leeam Tivers' point-blank rebound shot beat Cloutier at 8:32 to wrap up a four-goal second frame.
Sare's hat trick goal was another top shelf laser, this one coming from the left circle at 5:15 of the third.
El Paso leaves for the Western States Hockey League's Showcase in Las Vegas, NV, next week with a large target on its back as the only undefeated team in the league.
The Rhinos will take on the WSHL's other three division leaders, facing the Northwest Division-leading Idaho IceCats Dec. 19, the Mountain Division-leading Ogden Mustangs Dec. 20 and the Western Division-leading Long Beach Bombers Dec. 20, in key showdowns that will give head coach Cory Herman a good look at how his team stacks up against the rest of the league.