The good news is that they scored 10 goals. The bad news is that they conceded 11. The Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s they are not, and as such, the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs had to settle for a 5-5 tie and a 6-5 loss to the Okanagan Rockets in the first weekend of B.C. Major Midget Hockey League play.
"I liked how we competed against a team that I knew was going to be strong and fast," said Chiefs coach Doneau Menard. "It was a bit of an eye opener for us, and for us to only come out with one point was disappointing, but it was a one-goal difference in those games."
On the plus side, Coquitlam wunderkind Mathew Barzal collected a cool eight points - two goals and six assists - in what was his first taste of major midget hockey.
Suffice it to say, the jump up in age and calibre of play didn't have much of an effect on the 15-yearold.
"It felt good to get those first games out of the way," he said Wednesday. "I had some bounces go my way which resulted in some goals. I dished some out, and my wingers were burying."
Not to be outdone, Barzal's linemates - Tim Chow and Colton Kehler - also put up respectable numbers. In Chow's case, the 17-year-old PoCo native potted a hat trick and an assist in Sunday's 6-5 loss, while Kehler collected a pair of points over the two games.
"The fact that we scored 10 goals was good," Menard said. "I thought that one of our concerns would have been goal scoring. I don't know that the verdict is complete on that, but it was nice to see that it was different guys who were putting the puck in the net."
This year's edition of the Chiefs will be hardpressed to replicate the firewagon brand of all-offence, all-the-time hockey last year's club employed. Some of the more notable losses from last year include Jace Hennig, Adam Rockwood and Jamie Waddington, who combined for 124 points one year ago.
Because of that void, the team will have to play a more well-rounded defensive game, one that preaches the process over point totals. That's easier said than done, however, for a group of new faces.
"Our style is going to be a little bit different this year," Menard. "We did score some goals over the weekend, but I don't think we're going to have quite the high-powered offence that we had last year."
One of the new faces that will be tasked with those defensive responsibilities is 15-year-old Port Moody native Lucas Johansen, who is entering his first year in the major midget ranks.
The younger brother of NHLer Ryan Johansen, Lucas recorded an assist and four penalty minutes in his first weekend in major midget.
"It was definitely faster and the players were a lot bigger," said Johansen, who spent last year playing bantam hockey in Port Moody. "You can't really do the same things you did in bantam where you some times rush the puck a bit more. Now you have to move quicker, and you have to play more of a team system to win."
Last season the Chiefs marched to a 23-13-4 record, good for third place in the 11-team loop. The focus this year is to hang around the top five during regular season play, and make some noise come the postseason.
"We've got a good offensive squad, our [defencemen] are pretty steady on the backend and our goalies are really good," Barzal said. "Our goal right now is to get into the playoffs and be a contender."