The Grit entered the game searching for their first win in the season series against El Paso,
going 0-6-0-0 in the team’s previous meetings in Greeley. Starting goaltender Pete Sterling
made his second start since being acquired from New Hampshire and looked sharp between
Colorado (8-25-3-2) held the Rhinos scoreless over the first period of play, thanks to another
stingy penalty kill from the Grit. With 13:26 left in the first period, winger Wilder Jacober was
whistled for a holding penalty. The penalty killing unit blocked three shots on the ensuing kill and
Sterling, who finished with 22 saves on 25 shots, made a pair of key saves to keep the game
tied at 0-0.
The final ninety seconds of the first period belonged to Colorado, generating the best
opportunity of the night. From the edge of the right-wing faceoff circle, Chris Graves lobbed a
wrist shot on goal at LoVullo; the shot caromed off LoVullo and bounced off the post. Wilder
Jacober had a chance to backhand the rebound home, but pushed it wide to bring the first
period to a close.
To start the second period, the story was the same as the Grit pushed El Paso back on their
heels. Less than a minute into the period, Landon West found space in the high slot and
whipped a wrist shot that LoVullo kicked away. With 17:27 to go, a strong cycle in the offensive
zone freed up Noah Grolnic to drive to the front of the net. Grolnic had two attempts to stuff the
puck past LoVullo, who finished with a 16-save shutout.
The Grit were left to woe their missed chances when Rhino forward Medrick Bolduc found
space in the low slot and punched a wrist shot underneath Sterling’s left pad to give El Paso a
1-0 lead with 13:59 left in the second period. Just over two minutes later, a breakout pass
sprung Cade DeWolf who barreled down the left wing and used the backhand to roof the puck
over the glove side and spot the Rhinos a 2-0 lead with 11:44 in the second period.
The fireworks in the second period didn’t end there. Only 35 seconds remained when Brayden
Fryfogle dropped the gloves and squared off with El Paso defenseman Alexandre Pellerin in the
neutral zone. The crowd of 1,931 cheered the effort and were similarly enthused when El Paso
took a 2-0 lead to the second intermission.
An even third period saw Colorado have to kill another penalty midway through the frame,
finishing 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. Chances were few and far between for either side until
Christian Carter found Brayden Fryfogle in the high slot. With 4:30 remaining in the period,
Carter sidestepped a check on the left wing boards and fed Brayden Fryfogle. Fresh out of the
box, Fryfogle’s heavy wrist shot glanced off LoVullo’s glove and into the corner. AJ Reed took
advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone and added the final tally with 2:28 to play, sealing El
Paso’s 3-0 win.
Author: Brendan Price