The University of Calgary Dinos men's hockey team combined for 12 goals in two exhibition games last weekend, while their opponents managed only four.
Hockey fans got their first glimpse of the 2008-09 incarnation of the Dinos when the team beat the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 6-3 at Father David Bauer Arena.
The game was plagued with penalties from the start and the play lacked flow-- evidence that both teams were still looking for their groove after the summer off.
"We took way too many penalties, I thought the referees were a bit sensitive, but it's the beginning of the year," said Dinos head coach Scott Atkinson. "We took four or five lazy shifts and gave up three goals, so I wasn't happy with that. I thought we should have won that game six or eight to nothing."
The Dinos scored early in the first period and kept the lead for the entire game, but because of several undisciplined penalties, the Pronghorns were able to stay close behind, never letting their deficit grow to more than three goals.
"We're learning-- when we have penalties that are associated with just talking and yapping, that's no good, so we'll get that straightened out," said Atkinson.
Although the game was penalty ridden, the Dinos looked poised and confident in their ability to handle the puck during the penalty kill-- a trait the Pronghorns lacked.
"We're well organized for this time of year," said Atkinson. "I think our puck movement was decent, but we can be a lot better than that."
Towards the end of the game, the Dinos started to find their legs and although they rolled over the Pronghorns, their passion started to show-- best demonstrated by forward Torrie Wheat, who attempted to block a shot with six minutes left in the third period and a 5-3 lead.
Frustration boiled over for the Pronghorns during the dying minutes of the game as the teams exchanged face rubs and pushed and shoved their way to the penalty box.
"That's their game plan; they're trying to take us off our game, they're trying to salvage some respect," said Atkinson of the rough play.
Outshooting the Pronghorns 37-14, the Dinos walked away with a win, but in the end, that is not what matters to Atkinson in a pre-season game.
"We're not preparing for different opponents, we're preparing for ourselves. We're not thinking about what they do wrong, we're trying to control what happens out there and control what we do."
The Dinos used the momentum of the win to pummel the Mount Royal College Cougars 6-1 Saturday.
With the final roster still undecided, the Dinos take on the Pronghorns in two away games this weekend. The first exhibition game is in Lethbridge this Friday at 7 p.m. then a game on neutral ice in Okotoks on Saturday at 7 p.m.