Aberdeen Lynx head coach Owen Reynolds reckons his team “never really got out of first gear” despite opening their season with a 9-2 hammering of Dundee Tigers.
The Lynx are treating the Scottish National League (SNL) East Conference, which runs until November, as preparation for the SNL proper, according to the boss. But he was still delighted to see Iain Malcolm show a scoring touch.
No 15 Malcolm netted four times in a man-of-the-match showing.
Reynolds said: “It was definitely a good way to get the season under way and the boys looked good in their orange strips in support of our charity, Charlie House, with the jerseys being auctioned off at the end of the Stuart Robertson Cup.
“While winning any trophy is good, we’ll be using this competition more as preparation for the league.
“Dundee Comets are looking even stronger this year, Murrayfield Racers have assembled an impressive squad and Kirkcaldy Kestrels should never be underestimated, so there are some interesting games on the horizon.
“Taking nothing away from Dundee Tigers, who travelled with a thin bench, we never really got out of first gear and still registered nine goals.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement there and we’ve still got some talented players to return to the squad.”
The East Conference, new for this season, features the Lynx and Tigers, as well as the Comets, Kestrels and Racers.
After a shortened pre-season, Reynolds was also pleased his team got a further opportunity to gel on Saturday night.
He said: “It was good to see Iain Malcolm, who was clinical in front of the net, continue his scoring form from last season.
“He wasn’t regularly on the ice with Jordan Leyden and Mark Laing was offshore, so hopefully there’s more to come as the three of them are traditionally dangerous together.
“Jonny Jack looks to be growing in confidence and even chipped in with a goal, and it was more valuable ice time for (new import) Jack Flynn as he looks to adapt to Scottish ice hockey.”
With the Kestrels on the horizon this weekend, again at the Linx Ice Arena, Reynolds thinks there will be no over-confidence.
He said: “We’ve still got a fair amount of work to do on our chemistry and fitness and the games are only going to get tougher.
“I don’t think anyone will be getting carried away with Saturday’s result. Kirkcaldy Kestrels will be no pushover this weekend.
“There hasn’t been much between us in recent years and they’ve got some young, talented players who’ll be keen to prove what they’re capable of.
“We’ll certainly need to raise our game and I don’t anticipate such a one-sided affair like we witnessed in the season opener.”
On Saturday, Malcolm struck twice in the three-goal first period, with Callum McEachran scoring the second.
In period two, Christian Johnson failed to extend the Lynx lead with a penalty shot, before Callum Turnbull’s goal for the Tigers was cancelled out when Fraser MacEachran made it 4-1 to the Lynx.
The third period was goal-filled, with Malcolm grabbing his third to make it 5-1, before the Tigers’ Pavel Pliskov scored their second.
Malcolm then scored again, before Aaron Thomson and Jordan Leyden got in on the act.
Jonny Jack got the goal to complete the 9-2 rout.