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Andrew Bradford scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, as El Paso came from behind to defeat the Cheyenne Stampede, 4-3, Friday night at the Events Center.
Bradford put the Rhinos on the board at 15:34 of the first period, pouncing on a rebound left by Stampede goaltender Sam Mallory at the crease.
But, though Cheyenne didn't manage a shot on net in nearly 25 minutes, the Stampede managed to make two of the six their six second period shots count.
Kevin Rosset scored at 10:37 of the second, pouncing on a loose puck near El Paso goalie Alex Paulumbo's net. Then just 18 seconds later, the Rhinos served up a turnover deep in their own zone to Russell Armbruster, who blasted the puck in to tie the game.
By the second intermission, El Paso had dominated play but trailed going into the final 20 minutes, 2-1.
The Rhinos buckled down in the final frame to score two goals in the first 4:09, starting on the power play as defenseman Chris Wilhite pinched in, got Mallory to follow a move and scored 1:54 into the third.
Bradford's game-winner was among the oddest goals of the season, as the forward skated out from behind Mallory and flicked his shot toward net from beyond the end line. But the puck bounced above Mallory's head, and as the goalie looked above, it bounced off his right leg and in at 4:09.
Tyler Brady added a hard-work insurance goal, re-directing Chad Cesarz's slap shot as he was being checked into the net by the Stampede defense at 9:31.
The two teams will place twice more, Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. MST and Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. The games will be broadcast live on 600 ESPN El Paso and via 600ESPNElPaso.com, in addition to the video webcasting available at www.elpasorhinos.com.
For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos' front office at the website, or by calling 915/479.PUCK (7825).
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