The Drumheller Dragons have been playing good hockey in the new year, but haven’t been able to pull above .500. So far the Dragons are 1-2 in 2009. The team came out swinging with a 3-2 win over the Camrose Kodiaks on the road, but a 2-1 loss at home to the Brooks Bandits and then a 5-2 loss in Okotoks is adding up to a drought in points. “We’ve played nine periods, and I think we’ve played seven that are outstanding, and two that were so-so. For the most part we are happy with how we’ve been playing,” said head coach Rob Hegberg. On January 3, the Dragons outshot the Kodiaks 40-33 in their winning effort. Jeff Young opened the scoring on a powerplay, but the Kodiaks evened the score at one, 13 minutes into the second period. Seconds later Cam Lamoureux put the Dragons back on top. Again Camrose tied up the game, but Kyle Fehr scored the winner with 1:40 left in the game.
Three days later the Dragons were at home on January 6 to take on Brooks. The Bandit’s led the whole game with an early goal. Patrick Bartoshyk scored with 12 minutes left, but 2-1 was as close as they could get. On Friday, January 9 the Dragons were in Okotoks to take on the number one team in the Rogers Wireless South. The Okotoks Oilers scored early, but team captain Trent Colberg made it even by the end of the first period. Colin Bergman evened the score at two each, eight minutes into the second period. Both teams had 32 shots on net, but in the end the Okotoks Oilers took the win. “We lost 5-2 in Okotoks but I thought we played a really good hockey game. They kind of snaked us, we out chanced them probably about 2-1 but just couldn’t capitalize,” said Hegberg. “Our powerplay created a lot of momentum, but we had a tough time scoring.” He says there are times the team needs to have more fire coming out of the dressing room. “We have to find that internal motivation in the dressing room, I think we have lacked that in certain cases throughout the year,” said Hegberg. “Now that we are passed the (trading) deadline guys don’t have to be on edge. We need to find a way to get together and get the job done as a group. If we are going to base our success on individual performances as we have in the past, we’re going to be in trouble.” The AJHL trade deadline was January 10, and the Dragons made only one move, albeit a substantial one. Trevor Smyth, who has worn the Dragons uniform since 2006 has been shipped to Fort McMurray. “It wasn’t our decision. He decided he didn’t want to be a part of this hockey team anymore,” said Hegberg. “We tried to accommodate him and get the best deal we could, and we feel Tyler Matthews is going to be a good fit. Matthews comes to the Dragons from the Okotoks Oilers, via Fort McMurray. The 19-year-old defensemen has 17 points with four goals. He will finish the season with the Dragons, but has a scholarship for Niagara University next season. “He’s an offensive guy, and he is going to get a lot of ice time here and play in key situations,” said Hegberg. “He moves the puck well and is a really good skater.” Hegberg repeats the old adage; “we’ll take it one game at a time.” “Our goal right now is to make sure we are playing our best hockey come February. We want to look at gaining home ice advantage in the first round and go from there,” said Hegberg. The Dragons are back on home ice on January 20 against the Okotoks Oilers.