STEINBACH -- Scott Arniel chose to take temptation right out of the equation.
That's why the Manitoba head coach went with a young, virtually unknown lineup as the Moose prospects opened exhibition play with a 7-1 victory over the Manitoba Bisons in front of 1,000 at the T.G. Smith Centennial Arena in Steinbach last night.
"I know how (Alexandre) Bolduc plays, I know how Mike Keane plays," Arniel said prior to the contest. "The true test for me in these games is watching everybody play. As a coach, there are times where if you get in a tight game you have a tendency to just go with the guys you know. This keeps me away from that. I'm going to let these guys make or break this opportunity with the Moose."
Matt Robinson, Bracken Kearns, Dirk Southern and Dylan Yeo each scored first period goals on netminder Krister Toews, who paid for the Bisons flat start to the game. The fourth-year goaltender gave up five goals on nine shots in the first, most quality chances from in close.
Kearns had a pair in the game. Peder Skinner, Marc-Andre Bernier and defenceman Dylan Yeo also scored for the Moose, who hold a 3-1 advantage in exhibition games against the Herd.
Yeo picked up three points and was easily the best player on the ice for both teams. The pros out-shot the students 29-22.
The Moose will begin trimming the roster today.
Colin Lafreniere scored the lone goal for the university side, beating Andy Franck in the first period.
The Moose next see exhibition action tomorrow, when they travel to Fort Francis, Ont. to face the Toronto Marlies (7 p.m.). The clubs will hook up in Dryden Saturday (7 p.m.).
GOOD IMPRESSION: The Bisons were also hoping to getting noticed by the pro team brass last night, as some will continue down the hockey path once school is over either this year or next. Bisons captain Rob Smith, who already has a Moose training camp under his belt (he participated last year), is looking to do just that.
"I had a fantastic experience," the fourth-year defenceman said the other day. "It is a lot quicker, but I found it really amazing how quickly you adapt. If you're a pretty good player and you're playing with faster guys -- and you don't adapt right away -- you're going to look incredibly out of place. I still have a passion for the game, so I would love to play professionally, whether that's in the AHL or overseas but I have to have a good year here first before I can focus on that."