El Paso Blanks Phoenix, 7-0
Tyler Basham scored twice and goalie Alex Palumbo saved all 10 Phoenix Knights shots as the El Paso Rhinos ran away with Sunday's rubber match of the three-game series, 7-0.
Basham started the scoring at 5:59 of the first period, lifting in a shot that deflected off a Knight's defender past goaltender Troy Anderson.
Taylor Barger ripped a great wrist-shot top shelf for a power play goal at 10:58, followed by John Morales at 17:11.
Basham scored the next goal at 4:21 of the second period, pushing in Austin Hoff's behind-the-back pass-out from behind the net from the edge of the crease. Basham then returned the favor to Tommy Malkmus at 7:22.
Kendal Craig scored the first goal of his Rhinos career at 6:19 of the third frame, following through on Andrew Bradford's point-blank shot that was stopped by Anderson.
El Paso native and team captain Mike Rivera rounded out the scoring on the power play at 16:18.
The Rhinos (33-8-0-2, 68 points) have wrapped up home ice advantage throughout the WSHL's Mountain Conference going into the final weekend of the regular season with three games against the New Mexico Renegades in Rio Rancho, NM. All three games can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso and 600ESPNElPaso.com.
The Knights drop to 19-23-2-2, but with their 6-4 win over El Paso Saturday night Phoenix gains some breathing room over the Renegades in the Mountain Conference standings. The Knights have 42 points to New Mexico's 39 for the fourth and final playoff spot in the conference.
The El Paso Rhinos will be home for the first round of the Thorne Cup Playoffs in two weeks, hosting either Phoenix or New Mexico in a best-of-three series. For playoff tickets and information, contact the Rhinos' front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825), or go to www.elpasorhinos.com.