Oklahoma City Blazers Hockey

Blazers 5 Rhinos 2

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Blazers Down Rhino’s in El Paso The Oklahoma City Blazers managed to do what no team has done in over a year on Friday night, beat the El paso Rhino’s in their own building. Oklahoma City exploded on the Rhino’s for 4 first period goals and would end up winning the contest by a score of 5-2. OKC was ready and focused from the drop of the puck and it would only take 14 seconds for the Blazers to get on the board after the line of Petr Kobes, Kole Hudson, and Dominik Vlk would blitz the Rhino’s defense and set up a nice play with Vlk having and easy tap in. Exactly an minute later, with Blazers on the penalty kill, Hudson and Matt Levene stole a puck in the neutral zone, quickly two on one’d the Rhino’s defender and Levene scored his 20th of the season. Hudson, would add another at the 9:49 mark and then on the power play with under 2 minutes left in the period, Levene would blast in his second of the night. The Blazers would head into the first intermission with a 4-0 lead that had the Rhino’s and their sellout crowd of 1,832 shocked. The second period started out with the Rhino’s trying to bully the Blazers and less than 2 minutes in El Paso threw the puck on Blazers star goaltender Jakub Krecji and proceeded to crash into him hard. Krejci would lay motionless for several minutes before being helped to his feet and to the dressing room. Krejci would not return. Austin Kirby would come in to back the Blazers for the remaining 38:32 of the hockey game. The Rhinos, kept coming with late hits and elbows. At the 9:17 mark El Paso forward Martin Hanl would receive a charging major when he ran Blazers defense man Lubos Vacek. Vacek would leave the game and Hanl would receive a major and be ejected. Short handed or not, the Rhino’s attackers pressed on and were able to score a short hander with under 10 minutes to play with Lucas Znosko getting the goal. The Rhino’s carried some momentum and were able to cash in on another opportunity in the slot, this time it was Bryton Tomko with the tally, cutting the Blazers lead in half with 4 minutes remaining in the second. Oklahoma City would begin the 3rd with a 4-2 lead and that is when Austin Kirby and Blazers team defense would smother the Rhino’s and their attack. El Paso came with everything they had but a stingy Blazers hockey club limited the Rhino’s to few quality opportunities. With the goalie pulled and an extra attacker on the ice for the home team, Matt Levene put the final bullet in the Rhino’s potting an empty netter for his 22nd goal of the year. “We played like I knew we could play tonight,” said head coach Tyler Fleck. “It took an entire team to win this game. The guys were focused and ready from the beginning and it paid off. They came at us with everything they had trying to change the momentum. Late hits, elbows, punches, the ref just looked the other way. I understand now why they are so good at home.” Blazer will likely be without top d-man Lubos Vacek, forward Pavel Oxiouta and goaltender Jakub Krejci after they were ran El Paso players. “Those guys are key guy’s, Vacek got ran, Oxiouta was blindsided by Langhammer and has a bad concussion. Pavel and Lubos both had to go to the hospital, there was no call on the Oxiouta hit, it was a gutless play. Krejci got ran. You don’t have to be genius to figure out what their game plan is,” stated Fleck. “We will be ready.” The Blazers and Rhino’s play game 2 of the 3 game set tonight at 7:30PM MST.