Exhibition game showcases tenacious Dragons | DrumhellerMail
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Exhibition game showcases tenacious Dragons

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The Dragons showed they could get to the net against Olds in exhibition play, but it took a little more to beat the Grizzly goalie. Exhibition play continues Friday against the Brooks Bandits.

While the 2009-2010 version of the Drumheller Dragons is still a ways from being released, there were some very encouraging signs for the coaching staff at the team’s first two exhibition games over the weekend.

The familiar orange, black and white were on the ice on Friday night at the Drumheller Memorial Arena to take on the Olds Grizzlys. On Saturday night, the Dragons were in Olds to return the favour. While Drumheller came out on the losing end, 5-2 and 6-2 respectively, head coach Dan Price saw some sparks that didn’t necessarily show up on the score board.   
    “I was impressed by the speed that players brought, the tenacity they brought and the skill level they brought,” said Price. “I think they moved the puck very well. I really felt like we put pressure on the defensemen, took it to the net, and were able to get there.”
    The team took it to the net with authority. The Grizzlys’ goaltending had to be spectacular as the Dragons racked up 78 shots in two games.
    “Our ability to control the puck in the offensive end, and get it to the net was just outstanding for a team that is still new to each other,” he said.
    Price explains the coaches need to work on structures in the defensive end and the neutral zone.
    “Most of what we worked on in practice this week was our transition and attack, so we haven’t spent as much time teaching the structure and positioning, of how we control the neutral zone and how we defend in our own zone. That will be one of the big focuses for this week,” he said.
    He said the exhibition games have served the team well by getting a number of the players the coaches need to see ice time in a hockey setting. Coach Price says they are still working on whittling down the line up, and expect to possibly see some attrition as WHL camps continue.
    “We want to get down to our rosters as soon as possible, but I didn’t want to put a date on it because we want to make sure that everyone is getting the appropriate amount of looks to be evaluated correctly,” he said. “Ideally, we would like to get through our exhibition season and be close to our final roster, but we aren’t going to send a player home early if we are not sure. We want to keep guys around until we are sure they are in the right place they need to play.”
    “The players we have here, they are all ready to play Junior A. Within the competitive depth chart that we have, we have to decide who stays, and with some of the younger players, what is the best position for them. Is it best for them to play Junior A this year or is it better to play Midget AAA for one more year where they can get more ice, be exposed to more roles and more responsibility and come back and play for us next year?” said Price.
    The Dragons were at home last night (Tuesday, September 1) to play the Camrose Kodiaks, results weren’t available at press time. This Friday they host the Brooks Bandits at home.

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