The Drumheller Dragons are looking to regain some traction after a slip in the standings over the past week.
Since their overtime loss to the Whitecourt Wolverines on November 9, the Dragons have yet to get a win and have consequently fallen two spots in the AJHL Southern Division standings.
“Every team has an opportunity to win this year. Record-wise, I don’t think there are any runaway teams,” said Brian Curran, head coach and general manager of the Dragons. “The door is wide open for anybody. The funny thing is if you lose a couple games like we did, you go from third to fifth place.”
Colton Vannucci, left, crushes a Brooks Bandit on Friday, November 15. The Dragons are reeling after losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Bandits and 4-2 two nights earlier to the Drayton Valley Thunder. They look to regain some momentum on Saturday against the Sherwood Park Crusaders at home at 7 p.m.
On Wednesday, November 13, the Dragons were struck by a 4-2 loss to the Drayton Valley Thunder.
The Dragons were fighting from behind the entire game. The Thunder got off to a 1-0 lead early in the first period, which was increase to 2-0 in the opening minute of the second.
Colton Vannucci put the Dragons on the board, but a series of penalties and high tensions gave the Thunder a string of powerplays, which they used to score twice more.
Trent Ouellette would bring the game to 4-2 on a powerplay early in the third, but the Dragons couldn’t catch up and in the end lost.
Two nights later, the Dragons hosted the Brooks Bandits. The game was close and was decided in a shootout. The Bandits came out on top 4-3.
The Bandits got the first goal of the game late in the first on a powerplay and gained a 2-0 lead early in the second.
Christopher Rauckman took advantage of a Bandits slashing penalty and brought the game within one goal. However, tempers flared between the two teams soon after Bandits took exception to some hooking by Dakota Zaharichuk, resulting in the Dragons being down a man. The Bandits capitalize and took a 3-1 lead.
Things were looking grim, but the Dragons came out ready for a battle.
“We played great in the third period. In the first two periods we worked hard, but not as a team. In the third, we worked hard together and won battles, which is what we need,” said Curran.
Hunter Mills propelled the Dragons to a 3-3 tie with two goals.
“It was a hard working goal by every player on the ice. That’s what we need,” said Curran.
The game went through a scoreless overtime period and then was settled in a shootout. The Bandits scored on their first shot but the Dragons couldn’t get past Bandits goalie Michael Fredrick.
The Dragons were scheduled to face the Olds Grizzlys the following night, but the game was cancelled due to the weather.
“We weren’t going to take that chance. At the end of the day, the safety of our players, staff, and driver come first,” said Curran.
The Dragons had been racking up wins over the past month, but have recently hit a rough patch.
“I think our guys worked a lot harder, but we have to get better at home. We’ve had three games where we simply had to have better performances. We’ve addressed it and I think we’re on the road to correcting it,” said Curran. “Things are better now than at the start of the season, but I still have lofty expectations of our team.”
The Dragons next face the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Drumheller Memorial Arena. They faced the Grizzlys last night, but the results were not available as of press time.