Ice Dogs Bring Minnesota Moose to Heel : Hockey: Their home debut in front of 9,753 at Sports Arena results in a 6-1 victory and 2-0 record.


John Van Boxmeer was growing impatient.

The coach of the Ice Dogs, Los Angeles' newest professional hockey team, built his team to attack, attack, attack.

But in typical L.A. fashion, things on the ice were laid back, laid back, laid back.

But by the time the Zamboni smoothed the ice for the last time during Ice Dogs' home opener at the Sports Arena, Van Boxmeer was smiling about a 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Moose and a 2-0 record.

"I'm impatient by nature," he said. "The first ten minutes--maybe we were a little tense because it was the first game and home opener and all that. But then we took the game to them."

Whether it was home-opener nerves or eye irritation from the smoke left over from the pregame fireworks, it did take time for the Ice Dogs to get loose on the Moose.

But when they did, it was fast and frenetic.

Hubie McDonough, the top returning scorer from the San Diego Gull days, scored the first of his two goals to start the run.

He took a terrific back-hand pass that came across the crease from Dwayne Norris to put the Ice Dogs up, 1-0, at 13 minutes 8 seconds.

Three minutes later, Clark Donatelli was able to break free down the middle, slant to his right, and flick a shot into the upper right corner just past Moose goaltender Dave Gagnon's left shoulder.

John Byce added a power-play goal just a minute and a half later and the pups were up.

The Ice Dogs ended up having 43 shots on goal to the Moose's 24. Moose goalie Dave Gagnon had 23 saves.

"[Gagnon] was the only guy who did well," said Moose Coach Frank Serratore. "Without him, it could have been 12. Give them credit."

Patrik Augusta, whose second-period goal put the Ice Dogs up 4-0, said the plan was simple after Gagnon made some great first-period saves.

"We couldn't score in the first ten minutes, so there was no time for fancy plays--the ice was getting worse," he said. "So we had to shoot more. If you get that many chances, you have to score. I mean, no goalie in the world can stop that many [shots]."

The announced crowd of 9,753 loved it.

"I want them to attack," Van Boxmeer said. "If we make a mistake, let's do it in the offensive end, then they'll have to skate 200 feet to make us pay for it."

While all the action was going on at the offensive end, Dave Littman, the Ice Dog goalie, was getting a little bored.

"Sometimes it's hard to play a whole game when you're not in on as many plays," he said with a smile.

The Moose had two players reach the Ice Dogs' net, but not with the puck until 6:38 in the third period on a power play.

"We went through training camp thinking we were a pretty good team," Littman said. "But the way we dominated the first two games, I don't think anyone thought we would do that. Including me.

So, are the Ice Dogs that good, or are Minnesota and San Francisco just bad?

"Well, they beat us in every phase. I also think it was a bad combination: we were bad and they were great," Serratore said.

Certainly, it was a great start.

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