Friday: Austin Ice Bats 1 @ El Paso Rhinos 2- New year, new series! Rhinos & Ice Bats play for the first game of the new year as El Paso hosts here in Rhino Country. Ice Bats would be the first to put themselves on the board with the first goal of the day at 9:25 into the period. Tyler Moore was credited and the Ice Bats would head into the second period up 1-0 over the Rhinos. The Ice Bats would continue to mount a strong defense in the second period, denying Rhinos of any points for the next 20 minutes. Fortunately the Rhinos’ would finally break through the Ice Bats’ defense as Liam Sbrocca ties the game at 1-1 at the 10:33 mark. Zachary Ware would snatch the lead and take a Rhino victory with one more goal a few minutes later. Final score: 2-1 with Rhinos coming out on top.
Saturday: Austin Ice Bats 4 @ El Paso Rhinos 1- Both teams take back to the ice for Game #2 of this series as the Austin Ice Bats seek revenge for last night’s defeat. The Rhinos come out swinging as Noah Easterson brings us our first goal of the night at just 1:12 into the game. After taking the early game 1-0 Rhinos switch to hard defense as the Ice Bats begin their siege. At 12:30 into the period Sebastian Hale ties the game at 1-1 with the Ice Bats’ first score of the night. That wouldn’t be all for Hale as he went on to score yet another goal in the remaining few minutes of the period to give the Ice Bats a 2-1 lead headed into the second period. With the Ice Bats taking the tempo it is now up to the Rhinos to bring back the score. Unfortunately no scoring by either team would be made during the second period. Yet again Sebastian Hale would score for the Ice Bats to earn himself a hat trick, but this wouldn’t be all as he went on to score another goal to close out the period. Hale bagged himself 4 goals this game, being the only Ice Bat player to score, but that was enough to net the Ice Bats a 4-1 victory over the Rhinos.
Sunday: Austin Ice Bats 0 @ El Paso Rhinos 3 – Rhinos & Ice Bats fight it out one last time to see which team will come out on top of the series with one game each. The first period is anything but dull with both teams clashing fiercely. A few penalties were handed out throughout the period, but both defenses held firmly. Tristen Elmhurst took the Ice Bats by storm by stealing a goal 26 seconds into the second period to put the Rhinos up 1-0. This momentum would continue as halfway through the period Payne Pent gives us our second goal of the night. As we head into the third period Rhinos are up 2-0. As tensions rise, the ice bats put up a desperate fight to come back, but it would be the Rhinos’ Zachary Ware putting the closing shot on this game to give the Rhinos a 3-0 victory.