The path to the 2018 Thorne Cup was a short one, but a tough one for the home-standing El Paso Rhinos.
After steamrolling through the regular season, the Rhinos hit a couple of bumps along the way – thanks to the Long Beach Bombers and the OKC Blazers, but came through in the do-or-die games to make the semis, and then the finals.
Sunday afternoon’s game was a back and forth affair, with the Rhinos finally firing the goal that put them on top with only 1:30 showing on the clock.
Our very own Steven Cottingham was there and brings you all the championship action in this ‘Story in Many Pics.”
After rampaging through the regular season, the El Paso Rhinos are rested and ready for the first round of the WSHL Playoffs this weekend against the Dallas Snipers.
The home playoff games against Dallas are set for March 23-25, with the second round scheduled for March 30-April 1. All playoff series are best two of three series, so Sunday games will only be played if necessary.
The Rhinos finished the regular season with a record of 49-1-1, the Western States Hockey League’s best regular-season record to date. For the Midwest Division Semi-Finals, the Rhinos will take on the Dallas Snipers, who are currently ranked fourth in the division. El Paso played Dallas three times during the regular season, sweeping them each time.
Every game has been won decisively and the team has scored over 80 goals on their fellow Texas team. Rhino netminders have also combined for five shutouts in nine games against the Snipers.
If the Rhinos win the match-up, they will advance to the Midwest Division Finals where they will take on the winner of the Springfield-Oklahoma City series.
Friday and Saturday games will start at 7 pm and Sunday games, if necessary, will start at 4:30 pm. Single game playoff tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.
On Saturday, the Rhinos will auction off their game-worn black jerseys after the game. Additionally, through the Jerseys Off Our Backs promotion, every fan will have the chance to win a game-worn jersey which will be given to the winner during the third period.
Western Tech and Metro PCS will also present intermission contests and offer great prizes during the Friday and Saturday games.
The Rhinos will host also host the 2018 Thorne Cup Championship between April 11 and April 15, with five teams from around the country traveling to the Sun City for the Western States Hockey League’s annual tournament.
Round robin play will begin on April 11 and continue through April 13. The semi-finals will be played on Saturday, April 14, and the tournament will conclude with the championship game on Sunday, April 15.
As the host team, the Rhinos are guaranteed three games that will be played on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7 pm. Tickets are on sale now here.
Thorne Cup tickets will be available for pick up on April 8 at the Rhino Fan Party from 12 to 2 pm at the rink.
For the third time in the team’s 12-year history, the El Paso Rhinos will host the annual Western States Hockey League season finale tournament, featuring six of the best teams in the nation, at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center (4100 East Paisano.)
The first round gets underway April 11, with the semifinals April 14 and the championship April 15.
“We are excited to have teams from around the country experience the hospitality of the Sun City,” said El Paso Rhinos coach Cory Herman. “We’re also thankful to have the support of El Paso behind us as we make a run for the Thorne Cup here in Rhino Country.”
The Rhinos have two Thorne Cup titles – 2008 and 2014.
The last time El Paso hosted the Thorne Cup tournament, the team won the championship with a stellar 44-2 record. Currently, the Rhinos are in the midst of a phenomenal season with a 46-1-1 record, so far, in their quest to win the title once again on home ice.
The Rhinos have only three games left in the regular season – 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, March 2-3, and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 4, against the Wichita Jr. Thunder at the Events Center – before competing in the Thorne Cup playoffs.
The WSHL is an Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned Tier II Junior A ice hockey league, which features 23 teams split into four divisions: Mid-Western, Western, Northwestern and Mountain.
El Paso plays in the Mid-Western Division, along with the Oklahoma City Blazers, Dallas Snipers, Springfield Express and Thunder.
Tickets, which will cost $7, $10, $15, $20, $30 and $35, plus fees, will be available at the Coliseum Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online.
For the third time in their twelve-year history, the El Paso Rhinos have been selected to host the Thorne Cup Championship.
Succeeding Ogden, the 2017 location, the Sun City will welcome five teams from around the country for the Western States Hockey League’s annual end-of-season tournament.
Tentatively, round robin play will begin on April 10 and continue through April 12. The semi-finals will be played on Friday, April 13, and the tournament will conclude with the championship game on Saturday, April 14. As the host team, the Rhinos are guaranteed three games.
The Rhinos’ head coach, Cory Herman, explains how the franchise is looking forward to the tournament. “We are excited to have teams from around the country experience the hospitality of the Sun City. We’re also thankful to have the support of El Paso behind us as we make a run for the Thorne Cup here in Rhino Country.”
The last time El Paso hosted the Thorne Cup, the Rhinos topped the Idaho Steelheads to win the championship on home ice. With a record of 28-1 this season, the Rhinos will look to repeat 2014’s outcome and hoist the 2018 Thorne Cup in Rhino Country. Another Thorne Cup would give the Rhinos three League titles in addition to their 2014 National Championship.
Tickets for all Thorne Cup games will go on sale to the public on March 1. More information about the schedule and the attending teams will be released near the end of the regular season.