The Dragons had a 0-2-1 record going into Friday night’s game versus the Brooks Bandits. A lack luster performance saw the Dragons pick up another loss at home. On Sunday however they began to breathe that familiar fire, and picked up their first win in exhibition play
“Last night (Sunday) was a really important game for us, for a few reasons. First of all we were at a tough rink; a small barn in an always competitive arena, and a physical game,” said head coach Dan Price. “Our guys did a really good job of staying together and working as a team.”
“We really established the pace and physicality of that game. It wasn’t a situation of pushing back against Brooks, I thought we did the pushing.”
After a 5-3 loss on Friday Drumheller came home Sunday with a 5-2 win. Price said by controlling the tempo of the game, the Dragons were able to draw Brooks into retaliatory penalties.
“Our special teams were great. Our powerplay was effective, our penalty kill, when we needed it, was stingy, and we had great goaltending too,” said Price.
Beyond the results on the ice, what set their performance apart, according to Price was working as a cohesive unit.
“It was a very positive experience for our players to feel what it is really like to play as a team in a hostile environment,” said Price.
“You try to spend as much time off the ice learning about each other. People call it a bonding or gelling, but really, it is just about caring for each other and knowing who the people are beside you that you are playing with. And I think the guys showed signs of this.”
There is no secret the Dragons are a young team this year with a core of returning players. Price explains it is not a matter of reinventing the wheel, but building on what is here to evolve a new culture.
“We have a core number of guys that have been here in the past that might have a different mentality they want to bring, while the coaches have a different mentality they want to bring to the table. It is different this year in the sense that we are all creating this together. Even though there are some great traditions and some great work one in the past to build a foundation here, …it is a chance to take a step forward. We are not taking a different path we are evolving.”
The Dragons concluded their exhibition play Tuesday night (results not available at press time) against the Canmore Eagles.
The season begins this Friday against the Camrose Kodiaks at home. Game time is at 7:30 p.m., but be sure to hit the Q91 tailgate party starting at 4 p.m. at the parking lot at Drumheller Memorial Arena.