Drumheller Dragons | DrumhellerMail - Page #35
Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Dragons end first half of season with shootout loss

    It wasn’t quite how the Drumheller Dragons wanted to end the first half of their season.
    On Thursday, December 20, The Dragons hosted the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in what turned into a tense game for players and fans alike.
    The Dragons, though pouring shot after shot on the Oil Barons net, couldn’t find the back of the net. The Dragons skated into the holiday break with  a 1-0 shootout loss.
    For most of the game both teams were locked in a scoreless stalemate. Neither were many power play opportunities for either team in a relatively penalty free game.
    After three periods of play, the teams went to a five minute over time period with a score of 0-0. The Dragons managed to send four shots at the Oil Barons net, but came up empty.
    It was a goalies game and both were playing extremely well.
    The game was eventually settled in a shootout.
    The Oil Barons were up first and sent out Doug Jones, who had been a Dragon from 2009 to September of this year.
    In what seemed to have been ripped from a Hollywood script, Jones scored the game winning goal against his former team. The three Dragons shooters that followed couldn’t penetrate the solid Oil Barons goaltending.
    However, the Dragons head into the break with considerable momentum. Since November 11, the Dragons have won 12 of 17 games and have won three of their last five.
    They are also poised to earn a spot in the playoffs this season. They are currently in fourth place in the AJHL southern division with 41 points and are only four points behind the second place Camrose Kodiaks.
    The Dragons will return to action on January 2, when they head to Fort McMurray for a rematch against the Oil Barons. They will then return to Drumheller for their first home game on January 9 against the Okotoks Oilers.

Dragon named Canalta Player of the Week

    A veteran in the ranks of the Drumheller Dragons is being recognized as one of the top players in the AJHL.
    Forward Ryan Bloom, a 19 year old Calgary native, was named the Canalta Player of the Week for the week of December 10 to 16.
    “I’d say there are three guys that deserved to be looked at for that Player of the Week. Ryan, Bryton Mills, and Brennan Baxandall,” said Brian Curran, head coach and general manager of the Dragons. “I’m really happy one of our boys got it.”
    During that week, Bloom accumulated one goal and six assists for a total of seven points.
    Bloom is currently leading the Dragons in goals, assists, and points and has proven himself to be consistently contributing to the Dragons’ efforts.
    Curran attributed that success to Bloom’s confidence and determination and his line mates.
    “If you look at his line, which is him, Bryton Mills, and Colton Vanucci, they’ve really played well together. It’s a very successful line,” said Curran. “Even when teams focus on them, they battle through. That’s just how Ryan plays.”
    Amongst the league leaders, Bloom is in 12th place for points.
    Over the 2012-2013 season, Bloom has averaged one point per game and has contributed 11 points in December alone.
    With 24 games left in the regular season, Bloom is on track to surpass his 2011-2012 totals of 17 goals, 28 assists, and 45 points.
    This is Bloom's third season with the Dragons.

Power play gives Dragons the edge in win over Grizzlys

    The momentum continues to build for the Drumheller Dragons.
    On Tuesday, the boys in orange headed to the den of the Olds Grizzlys and came away with a decisive 6-2 victory.
    The Dragons power play was on fire and the deciding factor of the game.
    “We took advantage of our opportunities, we got some lucky bounces, and had some guys pay the price in front of the net. It wasn’t anything that was really fancy. We got traffic in front of the net. It’s tough for goalies to stop pucks they can’t see,” said Brian Curran, head coach and general manager of the Dragons.
    No sooner had the game started when Grizzly Dylan Hubbs started a fight with Dragon Colton Vannucci. Hubb was called for fighting as well as instigating, giving the Dragons a power play a mere 16 seconds into the game.
    Bryton Mills took advantage for the Dragons, scoring only seconds later.
    The Grizzlys tied the game up just over two minutes later, but when the second period started, the Dragons dominated thanks to the Grizzlys fondness for the penalty box.
    From 7:56 into the second period to 11:21, the Grizzlys were slapped with a string of penalties. The Dragons capitalized on all three chances, with two more goals from Mills and one from Mitchell Gartner.
    The Dragons only goal not scored while on the power play came at 13:38 into the second by Cavin Leth.
    Before the game was through, the Grizzlys scored once more and Joey Raats gave the Dragons their sixth goal of the night.
    Many of the Dragons boosted their point totals for the season. Mills, got his first hat trick of the season and was named the star of the game for the Dragons. Mitchell Gartner put up a goal and two assists. Brennan Baxandall and Ryan Bloom both earned three assists during the game.
    The Dragons power play had been consistently strong over the past two months, but seemed to run out of steam last week when they lost three in a row.
    “I want us to work on our consistency. There were three games there where we didn’t score any power play goals. The opportunities were there,” said Curran. “But, I would say for the last seven weeks, our power play has been really consistent and that’s what you need.”
    The Dragons also have settled on who will be their two goalies. Two weeks ago, the decision was made to let Christopher Wray go and have Braden Stone and Adam Beukeboom in net.
    “He’s [Wray] a phenomenal kid. It was a very tough decision,” said Curran. “They [Stone and Beukeboom] have done great so far and we hope they continue to play consistent and strong.”
    The win gives the team a 17-14-2 record for 36 points, which leaves the Dragons in fourth place of the AJHL southern division.
    The Dragons remain of the road this weekend and will be taking on the AJHL’s top team, the Brooks Bandits, tonight. The Bandits have only been dealt one loss this season and are currently in the midst of an 11 game winning streak.
    On Saturday, the Dragons will then head to Okotoks to face the Oilers, who are four points ahead of the Dragons.
    “I really want to see us play our best game for all 60 minutes and show them what we’re capable of,” said Curran.

Bryton Mills (right) lead the charged against the Olds Grizzlys on Tuesday in the Dragons 6-2 win. Mills got his first hat trick of the season, which brings his point total this season to eight. The Dragons are currently in fourth place in the AJHL southern division and will be looking to add more wins this weekend on the road against the Brooks Bandits and Okotoks Oilers.


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