Blazers Fall in Shootout to El Paso, 5-4

by Eric Rodgers

Sunday afternoon, the Oklahoma City Blazers and El Paso Rhinos closed out their weekend series with both teams earning a game apiece so far in the weekend. OKC stayed with Bobby Cloutier in net, while the Rhinos stuck with Nils Velm for the third straight game.

For the third time this weekend, the Rhinos jumped out to a 1-0 lead, as JC Dubecky game the Rhinos the early lead. OKC hopped back quickly however, tying the game from Blake Swearingen's point shot, and then taking the lead with 5 seconds left in the 1st period from Jordan Sgro.

OKC jumped to their largest lead of the weekend as Nathan Inniss kicked off the 2nd period with a goal, but two goals in 52 seconds by the Rhinos tied the game back up at 3-3 after forty minutes of play.

At the 5:23 mark of the 3rd period, the Rhinos jumped back out to the lead, and held off the Blazers for the next ten minutes before Vitali Mikhailov picked up the huge game-tying goal to send the game into overtime.

OKC held off a Rhinos power play as the OT period began, and neither team was able to score in overtime, forcing a shootout.

Nils Velm held off all four OKC shooters, while Bobby Cloutier let by two, giving the Rhinos the 5-4 win, and the points advantage on the weekend.

After six meetings this season, the Blazers hold a 3-2-0-1 record over El Paso with three games remaining this season between the two teams.

Oklahoma City returns to the ice next weekend, January 18th, for Military Appreciation Weekend against the Dallas Snipers! The Blazers will be wearing specialty jerseys on Friday and Saturday, with the jerseys auctioned postgame on Saturday!