The Dragons hosted the Camrose Kodiaks in the team’s home opener on Friday, September 11, and were downed 4-0. On Sunday evening, September 13, the Dragons hosted Fort McMurray and lost 4-3 in overtime.
The scoreboard didn’t indicate how close Friday’s game was, according to Price.
“Camrose played very well, but I think 4-0 wasn’t indicative of the game,” said Price. “I thought they had more chances, but I though our chances were better quality.”
While the team only generated 24 shots, two of them hit the post. There were also two breakaways and cross-crease empty net the team wasn’t able to capitalize on.
“If the puck would have gone in for us, the game would have had a different feel,” he said. “Our guys played well enough to win.”
Sunday’s game was much closer. The Oil Barons scored first, but Colten Hayes came back less than a minute later, evening the score, assisted by Justin Morello. Fort McMurray went ahead 3-1 minute into the third period, until two powerplay goals from the Dragons; the first from Todd Callaghan and then from Colin Bergman, which forced overtime. A penalty in the first period of overtime hurt the Dragons as the Oil Barons ended the game.
The Dragon outshot the Oil Barons 39-37.
“Last night (Sunday) again, there were times we carried the play and had open nets, posts and breakaways, some outstanding scoring chances. I was really happy about that,” said Price. “I was also happy our guys got better as the game went on.”
He adds the Dragons continue to run a short bench due to injuries.
“I was running nine forwards for two days straight,” he said.
He said for the team to capitalize on the many chances they are generating, the players need to be prepared to finish.
“It is an expectation the puck is going to come and that you are going to score when you get it. We talk about this to our players a lot,” he said. “We want to have a mindset that the puck is going to come to us, and every player need to expect that. That means having the right posture, having their stick on the ice, having the right mental frame, so when the puck does come, your body is already in the right frame of shooting and scoring.”
“It’s fundamental stuff, but again it is a new level of play for a number of players and a new expectation for our players.”
Tonight the Dragons host the Brooks Bandits, before returning the favour this Friday. On Saturday, September 19, they are back home to play the Canmore Eagles.